Modern Family: The Wow Factor Season 4 Episode 18 Review

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A busy episode left each of its stories a bit unfulfilled, even if they had some hysterical moments.

The Wow Factor is a perfect representation of what Modern Family has become, forced situational comedy with just enough laughs to keep powering through. With a number of different stories going on this week, none of them really got fleshed out and was given the chance to deliver some great comedy.

The title refers to Claire and Cam’s attempts to flip a house. Cam wants to build an extraordinary fountain in the backyard while Claire thinks it will cost too much money. The only funny moment here was the ending, where goldfish are sucked into a fan and thrown out of the fountain. The brutal, yet darkly hilarious goldfish massacre also introduced the ending montage and summary monologue. That seemed odd and almost unintentional. It was almost too dark of a moment to pair with the warm-family-feelings speech. I actually found myself laughing at the show, not with it. It felt like a Modern Family parody. But at least it was funny.

Meanwhile, Lily is having trouble with a bully at school and Mitch, with a little help from Luke, intervenes. Lily continues to steal every moment she gets, but Mitch struggles to remain interesting when this hard-working, successful person is bullying another kid on a playground. But Lily saying things like “but Daddy, sports” is hilarious.

Jay and Gloria spending time with Joe and Manny respectively fell totally flat. Jay is far too competent to take a baby to see Skyfall. This whole thing just fell flat.

Phil had the only workably cute story this week as he tried to teach Haley and Alex how to fix some things around the house. He breaks the hot water heater and Skypes with his father (Fred Willard) until he realizes he wants his daughters to call him for help. It was a predictable ending, but at least it had some genuine emotion put into it.

So The Wow Factor was nothing too special. It’s always great to see Fred Willard as Phil’s father, and we got some classic Lily quotes and dead goldfish flying into Cam’s face. But the whole thing didn’t come together nearly well enough and some things were stretched to the point of what I am assuming is unintentional self parody. That’s a bad sign. Grade: C

By Matt Dougherty

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