If the previous week's episode had me rolling my eyes for its entire duration, tonight's proved that Modern Family can be genuine and affecting when it wants to be. It can also then undermine that earnestness by tossing more guest stars in the same episode than is normal or necessary.
Not that it isn't always nice to see Jane Krakowski and Jesse Eisenberg (though, debatable). But their star clout should have been saved for a day when there was less interesting stuff happening in the other story-lines. I wanted to make the journey and cackle at the Type-A mom (as played by JKrak) trying to upstage Gloria. And nothing is more enjoyable on the show than Mitchell being put in his place -- but with everything going on with little Alex, how could I even begin to appreciate them?
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Alex is going through a seriously tough time. It's something anyone who's been through high school can identify with. She's a junior, prepping for the SATs, feeling stressed, and completely misunderstood by her family. The fact that Alex is an (at times annoying) genius is a frequent gag on the show, but tonight a freak-out involving cake (who hasn't been there) showed just how isolating it is to be Alex.
She sends herself to therapy before her parents can even check in with her! Once there she battled her therapist before eventually admitting that it isn't easy being her -- and that she feels alone and isolated. It was heavy fare for a sitcom, and I wanted more! The episode's button -- Claire, coming from Parents' Day shocked at the volume of work her daughter has to do, expresses this to Alex, who loses it in her mom's arms. I must admit I got teary -- LOOK AWAY! NOTHING TO SEE HERE!
This story-line was so stellar that it made the secondary, essentially "gag" and "set" lines frustrating. I was impatient to get back to Alex. I didn't want to see Manny and Luke hit on twins, I didn't care about Phil and Jay bonding -- how many stories about Phil seeking Jay's approval do we need? Where is it going? Give me more of Claire and Alex. It was also funny ("she's like a self-cleaning oven") and totally identifiable.
Would you like to see more moments like this one on the show?
Image via ABC