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Modern Family Review: Slow Down, Your Neighbors

by at . Comments

Modern Family kicked off 2011 with an unbelievable episode. Sadly, I don't mean that in a good way.

On "Slow Down Your Neighbors," multiple characters acted in ways that were more outlandish than laugh-out-loud funny.

A Teaching Moment

[Photo: ABC]

This show works so well because it typically takes basic situations and sprinkles in the unusual, hilarious tics of various individuals. But Claire driving around like a crazy person? Mitchell and Cam dealing with a drifter actually living in their daughter's dollhouse?

These premises were too over-the-top for my taste. One of them was also wildly inconsistent: In one of the more grounded episodes of the season ("Chirp"), didn't Phil lament that it had been a bad month for real estate? Now, we're expected to believe he's competing for Salesman of the Quarter?

Fortunately, Luke was around to save many scenes. Easily the MVP of the half hour, he shook his head over the indifference of the police; got excited over "laser falcons;" and introduced us to the world's best teacher.

There were other memorable Modern Family quotes, as well. The show is never a complete dud. A few of our favorites are listed here:

Phil: Oh yeah, everybody loves Michael Jordan, but nobody thinks of Scottie Pippin. The only reason I remember him is because he's named after my favorite musical. | permalink
Jay [to Gloria]: There's no reason you should stay upright, but it just works. | permalink
Phil: Luke, I am your father. That's what I said to you when you were coming out of your mom's lady parts. | permalink
Phil: She has to run everyday or she goes crazy, she's like a Border Collie.
Claire: Did you just compare me to a dog?!?
Phil: The smartest in the world! | permalink
Phil: I called the florist and order one dozen Mylar balloons. Good luck staying mad, honey! | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 3.4 / 5.0
  • 3.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (39 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Good show but the camera work makes me feel sick, it just seems to move around the whole time. This style is no longer cool. But funny show loved the subtleties!

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I enjoy this show, but I do think that this episode wasnt quite as funny as others have been in the past.
(ps. I think that its cool that you reply to the other comments on here. I have never seen any other critic on this site do that :D )

Matt-richenthal

@Redlily: Have you ever read other Modern Family reviews of mine? I'm yet to come across a TV critic whose more of a fan of this show than I am.

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This review is just completely wrong. You should really have someone else review Modern Family since most of your reviews are completely off base. This episode was AMAZING.

Addict666

I loved Luke in this episode

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This episode was hilarious. I don't really agree with you at all. And as for Phil, I thought the same thing, but having a bad month in real estate and being salesperson of the quarter is unrelated. Even in a bad month, there are sales going on and someone will be salesperson of the quarter either way. So Phil can be salesperson of the quarter, but it doesn't mean he brought home a boatload of money.

Matt-richenthal

@Emily: I appreciate your feedback, but the last thing I wanna do is bring DOWN my standards. There are enough immature, wacky, awful sitcoms on TV.
Modern isn't close to being one of them, but I'm sure the producers themselves want fans to expect it to live up to the standards it set last season.

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I think you have way too much expectations and standards for a sitcom. Yes, maybe this time they didn't keep up with their usual "modern" situations, but I think they sometimes do need an interesting plot line or something over the top to keep us entertained, or else it'll just get boring week after week with similar plot lines. If they want to keep bringing guest stars like James Marsden, of course they'll need to think outside the box to create a perfect story. I would have to agree with you that Cam and Mitchell's story with James was a little bit too much, but it did its job for making us laugh. I really think you should tone down your standards for this kind of show. It's only the second season for crying out loud.

Matt-richenthal

@katie: I see a difference in the character's possessing unique, slightly ridiculous traits, such as Manny's maturity, and placing these characters into over-the-top settings such as took place in this episode.
In the former scenario, the show is grounded in its characters, even if those people do possess unrealistic quirks. In the latter, it plays out like a conventional wacky sitcom and I expect more than that from the show. Overall, this wasn't my favorite episode. That's all I'm saying. Not every week will deliver an uproarious, perfectly-rated installment.

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its weird you don't like it because it's unbelievable. I mean, it's your favourite character manny? is there a single kid out there that acts like that? i doubt it. And I'm sorry, but 'steven hawking could ride that bike', 'I've been tested my whole life, they never found anything', 'who is he? do you know what a stranger is?'. That was all in the first 5 minutes! This ep was SO funny