Inside Television with Alan Sepinwall

'Modern Family' - 'The Kiss': PDA's are A-OK

The writers find a funny and sweet way to address fan concerns about Mitchell and Cam

<p>The families came together on last night's &quot;Modern Family.&quot;</p>

The families came together on last night's "Modern Family."

Credit: ABC

A review of last night's "Modern Family" coming up just as soon as I almost get a turkey...

Last night appears to have been Respond to Viewer Complaints Night on the ABC sitcoms. "Cougar Town" did a subplot playing off the fact that we almost never see Andy and Ellie's baby, while "Modern Family" built most of its episode around the questions Levitan and Lloyd got about why we never saw Mitchell and Cam kiss in season one.

The "Cougar Town" story was a bit ghoulish, but I thought "Modern Family" nailed it, down to the way the actual kiss between the partners was a casual background moment after we built up to the big confrontation between Claire, Jay and Mitchell over Jay's own lack of physical affection for his loved ones. Given how much everyone noticed the lack of touching/kissing between the two, the show had to do more than just show them smooching; it had to address why it didn't happen last year, and I thought the ultimate explanation and resolution was very sweet and well-played by all involved. (I particularly liked Jay's moment with Manny at bedtime after the party was over.)

And that sweet moment came at the climax of an episode with lots of good comedy bits: Mitchell's silent frustration whenever Cam wasn't looking, Cam's pratfall when Mitchell ducked out of the way of his kiss, Phil enjoying his technological superiority over Jay a little too much, Gloria(*) forcing Jay to perform fake Colombian rituals and Hayley's "I highly doubt it!" while walking away from not-so-good girl Claire.

(*) Also, a somewhat meta laugh: a week after Twitter was filled with animated GIFs of Gloria stirring salt into her drink, we get another scene of her mixing things in the kitchen. Is this going to be an every-week thing? Not that I'm complaining; just wondering.

I'd say "The Kiss" was a little too busy overall (I enjoyed the Phil subplot but could have lived without it), but that's always the challenge when you have such a big cast where virtually everyone is capable of getting a big laugh at any moment. And you know that I prefer the episodes where the families come together, and the intersecting conflicts at the party demonstrated why. The show just feels much funnier, and more emotionally rich, when it's not the three groups off by themselves.

What did everybody else think?

Alan-sepinwall-sm
Alan Sepinwall
Sr. Editor, What's Alan Watching
Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "The Revolution Was Televised," about the last 15 years of TV drama, is for sale at Amazon. He can be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com
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