Thursday, October 1, 2009

Everybody loves a winner...

Last night's episode of Glee was a pretty fractured one for a show which has been easy to follow up until this point. With lead girl Rachel foregoing Glee Club for the school's production of Cabaret, she was isolated from the rest of the cast, and Jane Lynch was hardly in the episode at all. Mr. Schuester's pregnancy dramz took a backseat to Quinn's, and all of the new tertiary characters confused the flow of the story.

But if all of the hubbub was due to the show's writers scotch-taping the episode back together after realizing they'd snagged Kristin Chenoweth as a guest star, then who the hell cares! Kristin Chenoweth! For the Broadway musical obsessed "gleeks" watching the show, I'm sure this was all anyone could care about. Kristin Chenoweth! With Idina Menzel-lookalike Lea Michele! Well, we didn't get to hear any Wicked (an NBCU property - with Glee plugging Fox-owned MySpace every five minutes, it's hard to forget about the bidness behind it all), but we got Cabaret, and country music, and Heart, and most importantly - Queen! Oh joy of joys!

When Kristin and Lea had their intercut duet of "Maybe This Time," I couldn't help but tear up. Listening to such powerfully talented women do what so few people can, and just sing with all their might, gets me every time. I was applauding uncontrollably by the end of the song, and laughed when Kurt wiped his eyes after her performance, because the show was lampooning my exact reaction. The ensemble's closing performance of "Somebody to Love" was absolutely wonderful also, and the music without a doubt took center stage in the episode.

Hopefully the storylines get back on track next week. For now I am going to listen to musicals on my iPod, and laugh thinking about Kurt, drunk at school, calling Jayma Mays' Emma "Bambi" because of her big big eyes.

Vittorio De Sica would be proud (not really)

Last night's new episode of Modern Family delivered as much comedy and sweetness as last week's pilot, and while I do think that the show does have more room to live up to its full potential, I was genuinely touched by last night's episode, "The Bicycle Thief."

The episode opened by asking the question, "What is fatherhood all about?" Fatherhood is a subject which greatly interests me, and I love to be surprised by movies, music, and TV shows that portray active, loving fatherhood in an admirable light. This may be why I loved Away We Go so much. None of the show's fathers really had a good answer for the "interviewer," but spent the next 22 minutes trying to help their kids in some way.

Cameron & Mitchell, struggling with their first day at a toddler playtime with their new daughter Lily, were going back and forth on how much to play up or down their gayness. Mitchell is afraid that Cameron's flamboyant tendencies will incite judgment from the other parents at the play group, so Cameron feels very stifled when trying to play straight. His "straight guy dance" was so funny in its uncomfortable restraint. When another gay couple arrives, 1000% more flamboyant than Cameron, he decides to go all out. Funniest line of the night: "I could have killed with that crowd in there, but you had to clip my wings! Which you used to be the wind beneath..."

Phil Dunphy decides to buy his son a new bike because he's been riding his sister's handed-down one, and a pink bike covered in black electrical tape does not a boy's bike make. Even Grandpa Jay teases Luke for looking like Little Bo Peep. Phil and his wife Claire are apprehensive about giving Luke a bike because they're not sure he'll take care of it, so when Phil sees the bike left unlocked on the sidewalk, he decides to steal it to teach his son a lesson. Following some uninteresting hijinks involving a sexy new neighbor, the bike he's stolen goes missing. He decides to blame his son for letting his bike get stolen until he realizes that it wasn't stolen at all. "I've taught some random kid a very important lesson," Phil says once he realizes he stole a random kid's bike.

The most affecting storyline of the episode was easily the relationship between Jay and his stepson Manny. Not only did we get to see a little bit of playful banter between Jay and his new wife, confirming that they did marry each other for love, but we got to witness Jay's struggles as a man with adult children, learning how to relate to his preteen stepson. It was familiar, and sad, when Manny defended his deadbeat father as being better than his stepdad. But when Jay lied to protect Manny's feelings after his father bailed on visiting him, it was so touching to watch. "The fact of the matter is, 90% of being a father is just showing up."

I have definitely been enjoying this show, and I got my parents to watch it too (hard to get them to watch a new sitcom), and I am looking forward to next week's episode already.

Modern Family airs Wednesday nights at 9pm on ABC. You can watch the latest episodes online at