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Episode 8 - Manny Get Your Gun

6 March 2012

Credit ABC

This was a lot of fun if predictable fare. Having all the characters rushing to Manny's birthday gave the episode a good quick fire pace. It meant none of the plots seemed forced and the interactions had an intensity to them because of the situation.

The Jay-Gloria-Manny story worked well because Manny's revelation about his childhood unfolded in the background while his parents bickered over the frivolous loss of keys. It was a believable scenario for Manny to encounter and I enjoyed the way his attempts to cling to his childhood all left him unsatisfied. Despite feeling that he missed out on something he is happy being old for his age. The scene where Manny mixed sodas and Jay hid the keys was such an old fashioned sit com misunderstanding but it worked perfectly in maintaining the rhythm of Manny's depression going unnoticed. I also liked Manny trying to make the old "Seymour Butts" prank call and it being turned on him till he was forced to hang up saying "I don't have time for this foolishness." Finally the funniest line of the episode was Jay seeing a skate board at the bottom of the pool and Manny somberly commenting "the second thing that slipped right out from under me today."

The Cam-Mitchell arguments were familiar stuff over spontaneity versus prudence. But the interactions with the old adulterous couple were fun, especially when Donald dropped the phone and it smashed to the ground.

Meanwhile the Dunphy interactions mined the also familiar fun parent versus responsible parent area to good effect. I liked the way Luke's choice to go with Phil (thinking they had actually split up) became slowly apparent to Claire. Though I don't suppose him thinking they might actually divorce should be toyed with. Phil carried the comedy well with his inadvertent white supremacist stuff and his breakdown into tears was convincing.

Overall it feels like we've spent a lot of this season with the three families interacting with one another. Which is logical of course but the dynamics are becoming a little too familiar. It's time to mix it up a bit.



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