Modern Family Review: “The Late Show” (Season 5, Episode 5)


Many years from now, if one is flipping through old television reruns (that is, if we haven’t all converted to a Netflix-run universe) and stumbles upon this episode, they would probably think it was from one of the show’s earlier seasons. However, in this case, it is not a compliment about the episode’s quality. Instead of living up to the series’ premiere years, writer Abraham Higginbottom infantilizes the children a few years and routinely brings up issues with the bickering adults that were brought up much earlier in the show’s run. Although this is a new episode of Modern Family, it feels a lot like a rerun – and a mediocre one, as well.

Although it is still called Modern Family, a more appropriate named for the family sitcom for the past few seasons would be “First World Problems: The Show.” Television critics have made a fuss about the Modern Family‘s sexism (Gloria and, until recently, Claire did not have jobs) and how the upper middle-class families have not felt the strain of a sour economy yet keep complaining over silly, harmless things. In The Late Show, these criticisms are further perpetuated by revisiting a conflict that keeps showing up in Modern Family episodes: dressing well and looking good.

All of the subplots in the episode focus on the need to dress well for their company. See, the three adult couples are all heading out to a fancy restaurant, at Jay’s request. He has been trying to make a reservation at the place for months, craving one of their beef entrées, aged 35 days from a cow that was fed only red wine and alfalfa. The only thing separating his stomach from the meat is Gloria’s tardiness. He is anxious to get to the restaurant and not pass up the reservation, but Haley (who comes over to babysit Joe) does not think Gloria’s earrings match the dress. It does not help that Sofia Vergara spicy, shrill shtick is really starting to wear out, which is probably why Jay is quickly becoming the most tolerable character on Modern Family.

Meanwhile, Cam and Mitchell are not getting ready at a fast pace either: both end up dressing in the same outfit. At first, neither refuses to change. Cam, predictably, pretends to be accommodating but manipulates his future husband so that Mitch has to change into a different suit. Mitch retaliates by shaking up a Coke that explodes in Cam’s face. Not cool, guys.