Modern Family “Egg Drop” Review

Although neither the “Egg Drop” experiment nor the idea of excessive parental input into school projects are new story lines in television, Modern Family managed to take both of these standard narratives and make us laugh at them for the same old reasons while tossing in a handful of new reasons to laugh.

Luke and Manny conned their marks flawlessly and if it wasn’t for Manny’s guilt complex, they probably would have walked away with perfect projects. They had to prove that they would fail well before introducing the idea of competition into Jay and Claire’s heads. To do that, Luke thoughtlessly put his life on the line in front of Claire as the “container” while Manny delved into the existential symbolism behind the experiment. To both Claire and Jay it seemed that failure would have been fine if that’s what those kids earned on their own. All it took was a little finesse from Manny and Luke to have Claire and Jay working against one another for their benefit.

In the course of the competition, Claire stooped to bribing Alex for her genius design from a few years ago. Alex was protective of her intellectual property and only gave Claire the “hint” to grab a mirror and look at the crazy woman staring back at her. I love Alex as the smug, smart girl with a sharp, dry wit, but I sometimes worry that her character has become too cynical, too early. Even though she’s hilarious when she’s bitter and snarky, I’m starting to miss seeing her as a happy, geeky 14 year old.

Because Claire had become so involved in Luke’s project, she was unable to help Phil out with his real estate seminar. Phil enlisted Gloria as Claire’s replacement and, along with Haley, they prepared for his big performance. Everything seemed to be going according to plan, with Phil’s absurd “keys,” Oprah style hidden prize tickets and confetti cannons, until Haley and Gloria decided to run out to the salon during the down time before the seminar.

Gloria’s “bad luck” with cars struck again and the two of them were stranded at the salon leaving Phil to manage his seminar alone. Gloria’s awful driving habits happens to be one of my absolute favorite running gags in Modern Family and her screaming about someone installing a sign after she had parked in a tow zone had me laughing out loud.

Meanwhile, Phil had been running around like a maniac trying to do the job of three people at his seminar. What was terrible for Phil was golden for the rest of us because as the situation got worse, Phil’s physical humor kept getting better and better. I was laughing the entire time Phil was running his seminar, but I completely lost it at that last moment when he was knocked off his feet by those delayed confetti cannons.

Mitch and Cam’s story seemed to simply be a reminder that they were still adopting a baby since Modern Family hasn’t seriously addressed that plot line in the last couple of episodes. Having a dim witted and opinionated character as a potential birth mother provided plenty of humorous moments for both Mitch and Cam.

I wasn’t expecting Mitch to get as into the singing as he did, but seeing him let loose is always fun. Cam’s face when the birth mother commented that she thought he was “a little pitchy” was priceless. Cam’s counterattack was a poorly chosen song that ruined their opportunity with this birth mother, but I had to love him for being so pleased with himself just for proving that he really could sing.

When Modern Family embraces standard family sitcom themes, they seem to only do so when they’ve got a brand new spin to show us. For example, we were played by Luke and Manny’s scheme almost as much as Claire and Jay were. Their deception made this somewhat standard story line different from the versions we’ve seen before and even though everything wrapped up into a nice happy ending, getting from the standard point A to a happy point B wasn’t the same straight line we’ve seen from school-project sitcom story lines before.