The difference between an average sitcom and a great sitcom is demonstrated when the characters on a great sitcom have you laughing without even trying. Modern Family is a great sitcom. We know this because “Treehouse” has you laughing from the moment Phil (Ty Burrell) mentions that he is building a treehouse. Fans of the show know that the treehouse will be a debacle but we can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Phil’s story isn’t even front and center in “Treehouse.” Cam (Eric Stonestreet) is the star of this episode. When he decides that he could have been a ladies man if he weren’t gay, he and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) make a wager in which Cam is challenged to get a woman’s phone number. Loser has to do laundry for a month.
Mitchell: “Seriously? You got her number? ”
Cam: “Sure did and all my shirts get ironed and the seams should appear straight, just like their owner.”
The woman is played by the brilliant Leslie Mann and she and Cam make a fabulous pair. Better still is Cam’s newfound confidence which has him convinced that the poor girl is waiting by her phone waiting for him to call. Of course, she’s aware that Cam is gay, all she really wanted was a gay best friend, but thankfully she’s a good sport about it, helping Cam convince Mitchell that she had fallen for him.
Gloria (Sophia Vergara) is frustrated with Jay’s (Ed O’Neill) unwillingness to take her places; especially after a visit from friends, Chazz Palminteri and Jennifer Tilly, who talk endlessly of their nights on the town including salsa dancing. Jay’s storyline played out pretty well as expected, with Jay eventually coming around and joining Gloria for a dance. That said, Manny (Rico Rodriguez) attempting to teach Jay to dance with the aid of a video of a farmer teaching a pig to dance was terrific.
Elsewhere, Haley (Sarah Hyland) is trying to write her college essay but finds herself lacking in the kind of life altering obstacles that impress college entrance committees. So, Claire (Julie Bowen) sets out to give her an obstacle to remember.
Haley: “Didn’t my third grade teacher say I had A.D.D?”
Claire: “No honey, she said you couldn’t A.D.D because she also knew you couldn’t S.P.E.L.L”
I really didn’t think Claire was going to leave Haley to walk home from wherever she dropped her off. I was convinced that she had some elaborate plan to give Haley a story to tell. The twist was beautiful, as was Haley and Claire’s argument when Haley finally made it home. It was really fun to see Claire pull one over on the kids for once.
- Was I the only one who needed Wikipedia to get Cam’s “Gift of the Vagi” joke? I’m not embarrassed that I had to look it up; finding out why the joke was so funny was worth it.
- Nice Modern Family debut for Kevin Hart. The popular comic debuted late in ‘Treehouse’ after spotting Phil in the tree continuing to work on the treehouse. I especially loved the toss-off line “Honey, the dude in the tree is cool.”
- There is some rich territory to explore in the fact that the Dunphy’s have lived next door to Hart and his wife for eight years without speaking to them. As a suburbanite, only vaguely aware, and mostly suspicious of my neighbors, I can relate to this story.
- How about the seamless use of guest stars on Modern Family. Chazz Palminteri, Jennifer Tilly and Kevin Hart each settled right in and got the vibe of the show right away and the show never missed a beat. Another mark of a great series.