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Episode 9 - Mother Tucker

6 March 2012

Mitchell tries to catch Cameron's mother out (Credit ABC)

I really didn't like this. It wasn't a terrible episode in itself but it accentuated everything about the show that I don't like.

The easiest way to sum up my feeling is that Modern Family prioritises jokes over stories. The first time we meet Cam's mom, the whole plot focuses on how amusing it is to embarrass Mitchell. At no point does Cam or his mom learn a real lesson about boundaries, the jokes just keep on coming. Ditto Dylan and Hayley's breakup. It didn't need a lot of depth to be interesting but the details of their break up were flimsy and always came second to the hilarity of Phil wearing a girls' top. Finally Phil has appendicitis but that doesn't stand in the way of Gloria's tough-Colombian routine being taken to silly lengths.

Season two of the show hasn't actually had many stories. You know real stories. Over on The Middle, another Wednesday night sit com, their thanksgiving episode managed to actually present four different fully complete stories. The show is far less funny than Modern Family is capable of being but it is a lot more satisfying to watch. The reason being not that stories are always better than jokes but that stories that actually mean something make for a healthier show.

Cam's mom shouldn't have been a plot point to get us to an embarrassing scene with Mitchell. We can have that any old episode. Cam's mom should be used to tell a story about her son and his partner. Dylan has been in enough episodes to warrant a better story than this one too. There was no real detail about their relationship and why it broke apart. The plot was instead built around that old old old fashioned sit com plot - the unfortunate misunderstanding. This may have just been a particularly bad week for the show but it underlined a trend which I think makes it far less rewarding than it should be.



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