Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Modern Family's showrunner shows up.

It's usually been a pretty good thing when Modern Family's showrunner Steven Levitan has managed to write an episode for the show. In most cases I've been pleasantly surprised and have felt that the storylines and the jokes have worked well.

Over the last few years Levitan hasn't written that much for the show, so I was happy to see last week that he had managed to write another episode. I had every reason to think that this would be a pretty good one too.

So I watched S7E08, 'Clean Out Your Junk Drawer' and I have a bit mixed feelings about it. There were things that I liked about the episode - and yet there were also things that at least in my opinion didn't work well enough.

In my opinion, probably the best thing about it was that there were only two storylines. For a change, there were less characters in the episode - which also meant that there was more time to develop the storylines.

The first storyline was about our three couples, Jay & Gloria, Phil & Claire and Cam & Mitchell. They were spending time together in a therapy session after Gloria had managed to win them one from a charity auction.

What I liked about this storyline is that it had time to breathe a bit. The scenes were considerably longer than what were used to seeing on the show. It was great that they didn't need to cut right away to the other storyline(s).

I also liked that the characters talked about their flaws, like what are the things that they didn't like about their spouses. This made me feel that they were trying to be a bit more real and more down to earth this time.

What I didn't appreciate that much is that therapy storyline didn't hit all the right notes all the time. At least the 'comedic' stuff where Jay went to the bathroom to listen to a football game didn't feel authentic. It just didn't work.

At the same time, even though some of the reactions definitely weren't for my tastes - like Mitchell's clear over-reaction to that funny pogo stick stuff, I think the storyline was still somewhat solid and provided good laughs.

The second storyline was about Alex and Haley talking about their relationship situations. Alex was talking about her boy_friend Reuben and Haley was talking about her 'secret' ongoing relationship with the babysitter Andy.

This storyline was about how the girls tried to deal with the fact that they were still clinging to their guys and couldn't let go. Alex kept going out with Reuben because he made her feel better about herself, while Haley still had feelings for the now engaged Andy.

What I did like about this storyline is that there haven't been that many Alex & Haley episodes on Modern Family, despite the fact that these storylines almost always seem to make sense and work rather well on the show.

I liked the chemistry between these two and I liked their reactions. I liked how they managed to talk to each other now that they are both young adults. It was so good that we didn't get those usual one-dimensional exchanges.

At the same time, what I didn't like that much was that Haley is still dating a guy who's engaged. Clearly that's cheating and even though Andy's fiancé is supposed to be some sort of a psycho, that's still wrong and doesn't set a good example for us.

All in all, I have to say that as a whole I was a bit disappointed when it came to the quality of this episode. Some of the things clearly worked, but I felt that the script for the episode was just a bit too unpolished.

In my opinion, considering that 'Clean Out Your Junk Drawer' was written by its showrunner, it probably should have been a bit better. It wasn't as bad as some of the other reviewers have said, but I honestly did expect more from it.

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