Season Analysis: There is some stark Flanderization going on with Modern Family, but Phil is still awesome, and Luke is actually one character who has only gotten better since Season 1.

Modern-family-tyburrell_fred willard

“Goodnight Gracie”
Modern Family always goes in for the emotional gut with the final talking head of each episode, and it kind of always falls flat with me.  That is not to say I am heartless (movies and TV shows have made me cry plenty of times) but that MF is not quite pulling off what it thinks it is.  You can’t have everyone constantly be petty to each other and expect shoehorning in an emotional revelation to work just as constantly.  So it was gratifying that all the emotional beats of “Goodnight Gracie” worked without any qualifications.  Two goofy guys – Ty Burrell and Fred Willard – got to play earnest while mourning the death of a mother and wife, while also managing to remain goofy in a way that did not distract.  To expound: Phil’s late mother left him with the odd final request of setting his father up with a neighbor.  The moment when Phil fully explained to this woman why he had shown up at her doorstep made me wish that the people on this show were always this honest with each other.  Not that I didn’t feel that way already, this moment just confirmed my belief.