Crumbs: Reviews » Other Reviews » Modern Family » Season 2 » Caught in the Act
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.

Modern Family


  • S

  • 2

Episode 13 - Caught in the Act

6 March 2012

Credit ABC

The Dunphy story could have been better but had a lot of good stuff in it. The kids walking in on their parents having sex is a perfect comedy plot. I am sucker for Phil and his backchat:

Phil: "We were as they say, having sex."
Claire: "That's not a euphemism Phil, that's exactly what we were doing. Having sex, in front of our children."
Phil: "Well they weren't there when we started."
Claire: "No."
Phil: "...In fact you weren't even there when we started."

I think the conversation the kids had at the gas station could have been quite moving. Instead it was just sensible plotting as the children discuss their embarrassment but come to realize that what they saw is part of why their parents are happy. The idea that so many of their friends have to deal with divorced parents was solid writing. They then gave their parents the gift of a lock for their bedroom which was a nice touch after the breakfast in bed had been a substitute for not getting them a gift. Then the irony on top of the cake was really fun as the lock made a distinctive sound which now alerted them every time their parents disappeared to have sex.

The Jay and Gloria story was entirely unnecessary and simply fed on the shows irritating brand of 'hilarious misunderstandings.' Someone describing an innocuous act and someone else thinking they are talking about sex is the number one cliché of all sitcom clichés and it was horrible to watch Gloria going on and on.

As for Cameron and Mitchell, it's as if they are in their own show now. This is the eighth plot out of thirteen this season which has revolved around them either embarrassing themselves in front of a third person or that third person being an embarrassment themselves. In this case the plot was paper thin. Children spill juice all the time and there seemed no reason at all why they couldn't just blame it on Lily and be forgiven. Instead they horrendously chose to blame Amelia's son and we had to watch the consequences of this needless cowardly lie. Mitchell and Cameron are being damaged by this material. They badly need plots which allow them to branch out, both comically and as characters. They don't need to share every plot either, they should have independent lives sometimes.



Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.

Post your comment


  • That was my fault. Sorry Tomislav!

    Posted by Brando, 22/02/2011 8:21pm (8 years ago)

  • Sorry about that

    Posted by The TV Critic, 21/02/2011 6:02pm (8 years ago)

  • o.0 it's TOMISLAV

    don't be ignorants.

    i learned your language, you can at least write my name correctly.


    Posted by Tomislav, Croatia, 21/02/2011 4:30pm (8 years ago)

  • Hi Stanislav, everything Brando says I agree with. Especially that I am glad you took the time to write. As you are not writing in your first language, it is even more impressive :-)

    Brando's description of my scoring system is exactly how I designed it.

    I wanted a scale as large as 100 so that I could rank episodes very specifically. This is just how I think about TV, I have strong opinions on which episod is better than which and so I needed 100 numbers to express that.

    52 for this episode does indeed mean that it is just above average for all episodes of TV. So when I give an episode a 70 or an 80 that is very very high for me.

    You are right in thinking that I am harsh or very critical about TV shows. I do hold them to a very high standard compared to most people. And that is not because I enjoy being negative. It’s because I have seen some truly great TV and I want to make it clear what the difference is between the great and the simply ok.

    The language barrier may make some of my criticism hard to follow as I do discuss things in a way that is not meant for the general public. I write very much for dedicated fans and particularly those who like to think about how a show is put together. So I imagine the score out of one hundred might be giving you an overly negative impression of how I feel about each show.

    I hope you will continue to read when I am writing about a show you care about. It’s rare to find people who are passionate about more than one TV show at a time. Thanks again for writing.


    Phil Dunphy saying “In fact you weren’t even there when we started” implies that he wanted to have sex with Claire but she was reluctant at first. So he is complaining that she wasn’t interested in sex at first and she is annoyed because he is saying such a private thing in front of the camera.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 19/02/2011 9:57pm (8 years ago)

  • Hi Stanislav,

    I, of course, am not Robin (TheTVCritic) so I can't speak for him, but I will give you my own take on his rating system if you don't mind.

    From my understanding Robin's "grading" scale is not equivalent to a standard grading system used widely throughout schools. From a strictly mathematical standpoint using a numerical scale of 0 - 100, then an episode which receives a score of 50 would be considered an average episode of comedic or dramatic television. So while a school would see a 50 out of 100 as an "F," here it would be more like what a school would call a "C."

    Also, to my understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong Robin, or anyone else who may know), the scores used on here are supposed to work as a universal score of television. Which means you should be able to compare any episode of television which has received a score of 50 and feel as though they are pretty much the same quality.

    Again you have to also remember that it is just Robin's opinion. What works for one television viewer may not work for a different one. This is the exact reason we all have our favorite shows and why they aren't always the same as everyone else.

    To compare a score here to a score on imdb is slightly unfair, I would think, as the imdb number is a representation of a much larger sample than just one tv critic. If there were a feature to vote for each episode of television with your own score and it would be shown as an average with the other voters from this website, I can almost guarantee you it would never match the exact score which Robin had given it. This is what makes critique enjoyable and interesting...we all see things differently and experience shows differently. If this was one of your favorite episodes of Modern Family, then I think that is great! You were able to enjoy one of your favorite shows and that is a very good thing.

    Every single person brings subjectivity into what they enjoy and don't enjoy.

    As for a show never reaching 100, well my guess is if it operate on the theory that 0-100 scoring scale is a universal scale, then a 0 and a 100 would be absolute. 0 would mean, in effect, it was the worst episode of any television show ever to exist, and a 100 would be the best episode of any television show ever to exist. Again from a logical standpoint it would be impossible for the TV Critic here to rate something as a 0 or a 100, because he would then be asserting that he has seen every single episode of every single television show ever produced.

    A score of a 90 is truly an excellent score when looked at in this light. Though keep in mind the scores for The Wire are for entire seasons, as he is not reviewing them episode by episode. My guess is then, is that his individual episode rating for the 13th episode of Season 4 would actually be higher than fact probably in the mid to upper 90s. The 90 is just average of all Season 4 episodes, so you would probably have some in the 60s, 70s or 80s as well.

    Again, this is just my understanding of the scoring so I apologize if my take on things does not make sense. I just wanted to try and shed some light on what I think the scoring means so perhaps you can enjoy the reviews and scores again...knowing that a 52 for this episode of Modern Family isn't even saying it was a bad episode. Quite the contrary I would think it is saying it is universally a very slightly above average episode of television.

    Hope that helps! Keep enjoying what you enjoy, and if you disagree...let us know's really fun to get differing perspectives. I'm very interested in why you thought this episode of Modern Family was much better than its score.

    Ciao for now :)

    Posted by Brando, 18/02/2011 6:32pm (8 years ago)

  • just a little thing.

    i simply can't read you and your comments anymore. now i explain you why.

    first of all, i really liked your site. you have great selection of shows - The Simpsons, The Office and this one are among my favorite shows. i also like Lost, Friends, Scrubs, 30 rock and 24, missing one. now you can understand why i liked your site and get myself really into it. but here is why i started to hate it.

    YOUR RATES ARE TOO LOW! MAN! ok - if highest rated episode is like 80/100, AND MEDIUM is like 54/100, then you must give every episode at least 15 points more!

    im from Croatia, student on Geography college. here, in you have less than 60% in test, its a F. 60-70 is D, 70-80 - D, 80 - 90 B and ofc 90 - 100 is A. rare exceptions. anyway, if we can apply here, NONE of sitcoms would get more than F, and only Lost would C. omg?! why so low? no really, im trying to understand. if you have high standards usually in your life, thats cool. but you can't put standards where it's impossible to get over 70 for sitcom. again, rare exceptions. what is point of marking if higest mark is 70???

    for example, the office Stres Relief. even most strict critics rate it very good, and it has 9.1/10 on imdb. BUT NOOO, you rate it 70. probably best episode of some sitcom (imo), you rated as barely D? really?

    and best episode of any show, iyo, is The Wire Finale.
    now i must be honest, i never watched that show. seem good tho. but you rated it 90%, and had nothing to write as Bad. so why not 100? really?

    listen, my english is not so good so i can express everything i wanted to say. i even don't know why am i writing it. i simply won't read you. and you won't change. its hard for me to fully express point.

    but look at this episode. this episode of this great show was hillarious. so why then 52/100? really, what was so bad? what could make it 90? or 100?

    so my point, even i wrote it already, is this:


    i really, really how you'll chage it. you really have potential.


    ps. one really last thing. that quote from episode, it makes no sence.

    why did he said "kid weren't there when we started"?
    it makes no sense to say that. thats why that joke, imo, is very stupid. or maybe i am missing something?



    Posted by Tomislav, Croatia, 18/02/2011 1:41am (8 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments