‘Modern Family: Dude Ranch/When Good Kids Go Bad’ (Season Premiere) Review

There’s nothing like family, Modern Family that is. The show just won a handful of Emmys and certainly seems to deserve them in its third season premiere. We got two episodes of brilliance tonight. The first followed the family on a vacation to a dude ranch while the second was a more typical, by which I mean classic, episode of the show.

Dude Ranch was a different way to start things off this season. Most of it worked, but this was far from the best that this show has to offer.

Tim Blake Nelson guest starred as the cowboy teaching the family how to ride horses, shoot rifles, and other things people do on dude ranches. He had a few good lines and it was funny to see him hit on Gloria and have Jay up in arms over him. I did enjoy seeing Phil and Jay ride up to stop him on a horse as if it was a Western.

Two other plots in this episode clashed to make for some chuckle inducing moments that had way more potential than they realized. Mitch and Cam want to adopt a baby boy but Mitch doesn’t think he is manly enough to father a boy so he tries to do more “guy things”. Meanwhile Luke has a firecracker and spent most of the first half of the episode trying to decide what to do with it. Then Mitch and Luke came together to blow up a mailbox. While the result made me smile, it could have been much funnier without being over the top as I suspect the writers feared.

By far the best storyline of the episode was Dylan proposing to Hayley. Before that moment he had been stealing the episode from all six of the recent Emmy winners and nominees. Perhaps the funniest bit was him declaring to Claire that if Hayley and Phil were out of the picture he would love to sleep beside her and raise Alex and Luke. I was in stitches.

Dude Ranch had a lot of funny moments but I must admit that I liked the other family vacation episode in Hawaii from season one better. It won’t be regarded as a classic or anything but it proved the show is still very strong as it heads into its third season. (8/10)

The second half of the premiere, When Good Kids Go Bad, fared much better. This half hour was Modern Family at its best and an episode I may just have to re-watch tomorrow.

This one started with some hilarious antics showing Phil in a supermarket and possibly causing Claire to fall into a tower of cans. They couldn’t decide whose fault it was leading Phil and the kids to make fun of Claire for always needing to be right. Julie Bowen continues to excel at making Claire an eccentric yet believable mother. Same goes for Ty Burrell who is just as lovable as ever as the father who has yet to grow up.They both deserve to bask in the glory of their Emmys.

Another plot involved Manny stealing a locket from a girl in school. It was great watching Jay and Gloria pick Manny apart for the truth.

But perhaps the most hyped aspect of the new season is the new baby Lily, and she doesn’t disappoint. Lily is not quite as excited as Mitch or Cam for the new baby to be in the house (she kept saying “kill the new baby”). So many things about this plot were hilarious that I cannot list them all.

The ending was of course perfect as the whole family came together and everyone’s problems came into one as we saw where Lily really got her  mean-streak from, who was right about the supermarket incident, and Manny fess-up for what he did. It all came together so perfectly that I cannot award this episode anything less than a perfect score. It had laugh and it had heart, the two things that make Modern Family the best comedy on TV. (10/10)

photo credit: http://www.spoilertv.co.uk/images/Modern%20Family/Season%203/Promotional%20Episode%20Photos/Episode%203.01%20-%20Dude%20Ranch/Modern_Family_Season_3_Episode_1_Dude_Ranch_9-3485.jpg.php

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