At some point, early in the evening's festivities, Emmy Award host, Jane Lynch, told the audience, "Welcome back to the 'Modern Family' Awards." That was certainly an apt remark because, up to that point, "Modern Family" had snagged four of the awards in the comedy category, which was the first one to be examined. Julie Bowen and Ty Burell won for Best Supporting Actress and Actor, in some cases, beating out their fellow cast members. Not only was the "Modern Family" team the most victorious, it was the most nominated among television comedies. Then, at the end of the show, "Modern Family" won the all-important award for Best Comedy, Period.
Just three days later, "Modern Family" was on the spot to live up to all that ballyhoo, and it did, with two excellent episodes to start off Season 3. The first one, titled "Dude Ranch," was, as you may come to suspect, about the family's vacation to a dude ranch.
The next episode, "When Good Kids Go Bad," saw the family back home in Los Angeles with a few new issues to deal with and one that got carried over from the season opener and which will almost certainly carry on for a good, long while: Mitchell and Cameron's plans to adopt another child. This time, they have decided they want a son, which will bring in a whole new set of problems, as we see right away in the season-opener.
Keeping in mind that both episodes represented excellent television, the first one was probably a shade better than the second, although the second episode treated us to a pleasant surprise. More to follow later.
Two things that made the earlier episode especially funny were the Dunphys' idea to bring Haley's boyfriend, Dylan along and their guide/instructor throughout the experience, Cowboy Hank.
Right away, Hank gives all the family members nicknames. Some of them are obvious, such as Jay being "Old Timer." A few are a little more imaginative, like Gloria as "Cactus Flower" and her stepson as "Buffalo Phil." The very best one, though, comes up in a scene where Hank is trying to teach the family how to herd cattle. At one point, he tells Phil to drive a stray cow over to Bossy. Phil looks at the cattle and asks, "Which one's Bossy?" Hank replies, "That's my nickname for your wife."
Dylan, far from just being along for the ride, has a great deal to do with this episode, including an interrupted proposal to Haley. Later a development arises that may spell the end of his character in the series. Don't worry, no clueless teens were harmed in the production of the show. That said, Dylan's best moment is between him and Claire.
After Claire and Phil have had a talk about the boy's coming along on the trip, which Claire was very much against, she goes to Dylan's cabin to try to ease the feeling of hostility between them. As it turns out, her efforts to make nice with Dylan turn out to be a little too nice, at least to the not-so-bright boy's perception. He gets the impression Haley's mom is hitting on him. His attempt to let her down easy is nothing short of hilarious.
A funny and nice thread in the episode is that bookish, socially awkward Alex finally gets her first kiss. Oh, right, and then her second and her third. She seems to resent the intrusion less and less with each one. The boy who stole those kisses may be nothing more than an interlude, but he seems to have awakened something in Haley's little sister that had become second nature to Haley.
While the season opener dealt with Cam and Mitchell's excitement over adding to their family, the next one dealt with how they were going to break the news to the rest of their modern family, particularly their daughter, Lily. Here is where the pleasant surprise comes in. The twins playing baby Lilly, Ella and Jaden Hiller, have been replaced with a thoroughly charming toddler named Aubrey Anderson-Emmons. Let us hope that the twins earned enough in their two seasons to set up a nice college fund, but we now have a young lady in the role who seems to be amazingly talented for her age. Baby Lily never spoke in the first two seasons, but little girl Lily has a lot to say and is not afraid to say it.
Come to think of it, you could say the same for the rest of the cast.
"Modern Family," Season 3, Episode 1: "Dude Ranch"
"Modern Family," Season 3, Episode 2: "When Good Kids Go Bad"
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