Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Family Jules: Spring Smackdown


I know I sound like a broken record, but I just really, really love that Modern Family, Happy Endings and Cougar Town are all on the air right now. Considering the ever fickle nature of television scheduling, I don't think it's ridiculous to rejoice this fact as often as possible.

Reviews and the best lines from each of this week's episodes coming after the jump, and if any of you are like Jules Cobb... SPOILERS!

(Titles we liked better than) Cougar Town (Sunshine State, The Drinking Age, Cougar City, Mid-Life)
Season 3, Episode 2: "A Mind with a Heart of Its Own"
Jules asks Ellie and Laurie to be her co-maids of honor and Ellie is not happy to share the position, Bobby builds Grayson and Jules a zip line between their houses to show his support for their upcoming wedding, and Grayson asks Jules' father Chick for his blessing.

What so often separates this show from most comedies is its positive outlook on life and general sense of heart in its characters. This was especially evident in last week's proposal, but it was also integral to the success of this week's episode. Bobby and Andy on the zip line, Chick tricking Grayson into thinking he had to shoot the horse and the "co-moh" gags could've all been incredibly funny as is, but the fact that the show infuses each of the arcs with the genuine love and goodwill these characters have for each other is what brings it to the next level and keeps me coming back for more.

Of course, all of that shouldn't distract from the fact that the show is so very funny. I usually try to rotate which show is featured in the main image for these posts, but how could I not use Andy and Bobby's super sad two-man zip line?!

Want some more funny moments? Heeeere we go...
"And unless you know that I've watched it, please don't blab on about any good movies, TV shows or books... you can have books." - Jules, who does 'bath-shower-bath' every day.

"Keep moving, you little squirrel. You already climbed this tree!" - Laurie, who wants to hold Jules in the pool like a baby.

"Oh, just say 'co-moh.' It's a new abreev I came up with. Total t saver!" - Laurie, even though Jules has time for all the words.

"You smell like betrayal!" - Ellie, who keeps a bag in her truck in case Jules ever wants to run away with her.

"Why are we torturing Grayson again? I'm cool if there's no reason." - Travis to Chick, who wears both formal and informal overalls.
Modern Family
Season 3, Episode 16: "Virgin Territory"
Phil finds out that Haley is no longer a virgin, Cam fakes an injury in order to search for tupperware Claire hasn't returned, Mitchell reveals that Jay never got his famous hole-in-one 20 years ago, and Gloria tries to hang out with a resistant Claire. Meanwhile, Manny and Luke are not happy that Lily is the new "cute one" in the family.

It is not an easy task to juggle a core cast of eleven characters, and yet Modern Family often takes on the challenge of incorporating all of them into one episode. Sometimes they are unsuccessful and the episode feels too jumbled. This week, however, was not one of those occasions. Every single character—even little Lily—had a piece of the puzzle and they all fit together oh so nicely. None of the stories felt rushed or too lengthy, and there was a perfect balance of comedy and sentiment.

Phil Dunphy is a cool dad and, even if he thinks he blew his opportunity to be there for Haley after his meltdown, he definitely came through and had one of his nicest moments of the season. The doll store was a perfect setting to have the "my oldest daughter is growing up" realization, and it also allowed Alex and Lily to have some good moments, too. Alex is a not a girly girl at all, so when she starts to like dolls (or, in the case of "After the Fire," flirts with boys) it always gets me chuckling.

I've been hard on the show this season, but it's because I know they are capable of producing episodes like "Virgin Territory."
"There are blind models? That's so sad! They can't see how pretty they are." - Gloria, who knows her way around a gun (even if she doesn't use the proper stance).

"I knew for a fact Claire never returned my tupperware, I just needed a few minutes alone to find it. And when I did, I'd never have to hear them snicker again. 'Oh, silly Cam' or 'forgetful Cam'! Because revenge is a dish best served cold, and even better two days later out of a 24 ounce microwave friendly burped sealed Pack 'n Store." - Cam, who has already met the medical deductible for Beatrice the doll.

"...and she promised not to tell Dad until I left for college, which means he might've never found out!" - Haley, who's still a sweet little doll.

"I'm sorry. I can't unlearn how to treat a lady. But where does that leave me? Waiting 'til I'm 40 when she looks me up on Facebook after her failed first marriage?" - Manny, who hates Thelma & Louise.

"We've got a full tank of gas and she's right down the block!" - Luke, who has no idea what Thelma & Louise is, parodying Blues Brothers (which I also doubt he knows).
Happy Endings
Season 2, Episode 15: "The Butterfly Effect Effect"
It's been a long winter in Chicago and the gang desperately needs the annual Brad and Jane Spring Smackdown to usher in some warmer weather. Brad and Jane fake the fight to please everyone but eventually get in an actual argument, and Max spends the entire episode as a bear.

Brad and Jane might be my favorite couple on television right now and seeing them in their fights—both fake and real—was a-mah-zing. Add in Penny's flowy pants, Dave's Blade-inspired leather jacket, and pigeons flying around their frozen tundra apartment and I'm good to go. Also, where can I get #TeamBrad and #TeamJane shirts? They are supah cah-uuuuute.

I was afraid having Max act like a hibernating bear would get old after a few scenes, but I was thankfully wrong. From sticking his whole arm into a vat of honey to cuddling with his cubs (both signed by Mandy Patinkin), his Winnie the Pooh transformation was incredible. My only complaint: where's Grant?! He's supposed to be around all the time now, writers! We love him!

Speaking of love, I'm not sure exactly what has happened over the course of this season, but Alex is slowly but surely becoming the funniest character on the show. They have totally embraced her idiotic, childish personality and Elisha Cuthbert is so good at playing that up. Most improved character of the 2011-2012 television season? Absolutely.
"Watch out because it could be just like The Butterfly Effect. That one little movie led to Ashton Kutcher doing a lot of bad movies." - Alex, who marches to the beat of her own very slow drummer.

"It's like our Groundhog Day, if the groundhog was one part blonde overachiever with control issues and fondness for formal shorts, and one part Brad." - Penny, who purchased Bassett by Angela for Angela Basset pants for the Spring Smackdown (they facilitate conversation!).

"I haven't faked something that hard since I told your mother I celebrate Kwanzaa!" - Jane, who polishes her fax machine and isn't ready for paperless billing.

"What happened to working out your anger with Jane by recklessly spending your money on things like stretch hummers and steak and ringside seats to the Ice Capades? I thought I'd switch it up this year. You know I love a good Capade." - Dave, who doesn't want to "rage get-caught-up-on-Downton-Abbey" with Brad.
[Image Source: ABC]
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