Modern Family Season 4 Review “My Hero”

Modern Family Season 4 Episode 22 My Hero (13)

A lot could have gone wrong with “My Hero.” Modern Family isn’t always the most graceful show when it comes to extravagantly goofy premises, and so gathering the whole family at a roller rink for almost the entire episode meant a very real possibility of relying too heavily on bad jokes and nothing else. But, on the strength of some cute family dilemmas, and especially Eric Stonestreet’s Cam, who’s the center of attention and lands every single joke, including the dumb ones.

And there are a lot of dumb ones. Let’s be clear: you aren’t putting these characters into a roller rink without a whole bunch of them constantly falling over. Cam gets a pratfall or too, but the real center of the slapstick comedy is the subplot between Phil and Gloria, which is parceled out in just the right amount throughout the episode. But the skates also allow for some more interesting physical work – I really, really loved the way Claire effortlessly rolled back and forth, smoothly operating the concession stand, while delivering a passionate monologue about her father.

These smaller stories, including Luke and Manny’s school assignment that gave the episode its title and a flirting lesson from Hailey to Alex, mostly just bounce around in the background while Cam has an extended breakdown over the way everyone in the Dunphy family loves Mitch’s ex, Teddy. We’re introduced to him in the opening of the episode, and as soon as Cam says he isn’t going to get jealous, everyone knows where the episode is heading. But the way it gets there is so much fun that you really can’t fault it. There were two moments that really stuck out for me. The first was when, after someone says Teddy seems terrific, Cam just skated by in the background, coming out of nowhere, and said “Doesn’t he though?” The second was just a perfectly written line: “I worked my fingers to the bone to get these jumpy protestants to love me.”

All in all, “My Hero” just serves to prove one of my personal theories about Modern Family. The show is, simply, always better when the whole family is together at once, like they are for the entirety of this episode. Split the greater Dunphy clan up, and you’ll never get something as bouncy and light on its feet as this episode.