Photo Credit: ABC/PETER "HOPPER" STONE
It's been fun sampling this fall's new shows and getting to know some new TV characters. But there's no denying the pleasure of falling back into a familiar series, whose rhythmns and characters you already know and love. Season 4 of Modern Family (Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC) didn't kick off with a big trip (like season 3's opener at a Wyoming dude ranch), but with the usual characters at home, dealing with issues in their usual, unique ways. Returning to your couch to check in on what the Dunphys and Pritchetts are up to is like eating mac and cheese in your pj's. Comfortable.
Of course that's the opposite of what the show's characters are feeling. Taking up where they left off last season, they're all dealing in their own neurotic ways with what life's tossed them. Gloria (Sofia Vergara) is so afraid of telling Jay (Ed O'Neill) about her pregnancy that she ends up telling half his family first. A perfect set-up for disaster!
We know their reactions before they happen, but it's no less fun to see Claire's (Julie Bowen) glee about Gloria's impending weight gain, and Manny's (Rico Rodriguez) adult-like concern as he questions his parents' ability to care for a new baby.
"Oh, come on!" snaps a jealous Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), learning Gloria's news. He's just spent this premiere episode working through his and Cameron's (Eric Stonestreet) grief about losing their own adoptive baby, so the reaction is understandable -- and funny.
Anyone who's seen this show, even once, would expect Jay to react badly to the pregnancy. Gloria is so sure of it that her fiery Latina side emerges as she delivers the news, daring him to shrink from his responsibilities. Instead, he's unexpectedly joyful. He delivers a heartfelt speech about starting his life over with the woman of his dreams. "I think I'm gonna cry," he says.
"I'm way ahead of you," says Phil (Ty Burrell). That line is totally predictable coming from Phil -- and yes, it's still funny.
Throughout the episode, the usual flies settle into the ointment: As always, Claire must deal with Hayley's (Sarah Hyland) loser boyfriend, who now wants to move in. And Cam and Mitchell continue to deal with the eccentricities of a preschooler. Why does Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) want to name her brother, and then her kitten, Larry? Both men are puzzled.
Modern Family's season 4 opener reminds us why this show once again won the Emmy for outstanding comedy. Who doesn’t like eating some familiar-but-still-good mac and cheese on the couch?
Missed the season premiere? Watch the entire episode here!