Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Modern Family “Queer Eyes, Full Hearts” recap and review

Kayla Kenney, Writing Intern

After five years, the award-winning sitcom continues to keep their tale of three, intertwined, modern families both fresh and funny.

Cam & Mitch: Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) stumbles upon a reporter that he absolutely loves. However, the reporter absolutely loves that Cam (Eric Stonestreet) is an openly-gay, high school, football coach. Cam becomes self-absorbed in a pancake breakfast that the reporter takes an interest in. Meanwhile, Mitch, the lawyer, tries to win a case that actually means something.

Gloria & Jay: Gloria (Sofía Vergara) hires a Spanish tutor for Manny (Rico Rodriguez). He'd rather take French. Jay (Ed O’Neill) becomes jealous of the young tutor, who Gloria develops an immediate connection with. In an attempt to get rid of the tutor, Jay signs the permission slip that’ll switch Manny to French class. Gloria’s upset. She was excited to finally have someone to talk to in her native tongue. In the end, Jay decides to keep the tutor for himself.

The Dunphys: Claire (Julie Bowen) takes an interest in what Haley (Sarah Hyland) is doing with her life. She sees that Haley’s formed a friendship with Jay and Gloria’s babysitter, Andy (Adam DeVine). Haley tells her mother that she’s sleeping with him just to get Claire to leave her alone. In reality, the two are helping each other prepare for job interviews. Both succeed. Andy becomes an assistant to Phil (Ty Burrell) in the world of real estate. Haley gets a job in the fashion industry, after a frustrating interview. Meanwhile, Phil’s attempts to warn Claire of how Alex (Ariel Winter) is over-exerting herself fails. Alex’s zombie-like state of intense studying plays out as a small background story.

“Queer Eyes, Full Hearts” is all stereotypes and clichés. However, the episode twists the common and creates something comical.

Possibly the biggest stereotype here comes into play with Cam and Mitch. The football coach husband and his doting housewife. The reporter sees it this way. Cam’s actually more of the housewife. He puts on a show for the reporter and acts like a jerk, football coach husband. Mitch accidentally falls into looking like a foolish housewife. He wears a hairnet at the pancake breakfast. He ends up doing a majority of the cooking. Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) runs up to him complaining about her doll. He ends up holding the doll in one hand, a dirty spatula in the other, and donning the hairnet the whole time. The look is absolutely ridiculous. To top it all off, he nags Cam while appearing this way. He portrays the ultimate stereotype of a housewife. What’s particularly funny isn't just Mitch’s appearance, though. They're’re a married gay couple portraying the stereotypes of a married heterosexual couple. Beyond the funny surface, there’s a message here--gay couples are quite similar to straight couples.

Another stereotype in this episode is the hot, young, Spanish tutor. We've seen it before in Desperate Housewives: the hot, young, Hispanic gardener who has an affair with the married woman. Apparently, Jay’s aware of this stereotype. He takes Gloria and the tutor’s talking to each other out of context. He thinks something’s happening. Gloria enjoys her time with this guy too much. She would never betray Jay, though. She’s uncommonly loyal to him. A particularly funny part happens in the kitchen. Gloria and the tutor speak in Spanish about food. Jay thinks they're laughing about his old age. Misinterpretations are common here. Jay’s an old man. He’s self-conscious about his age because Gloria is so young and beautiful. He’s stubborn to admit it, though. Gloria comes off as stupid because she’s foreign. Her character’s famous for it. This episode reveals her longing to show how smart she can be in her own language. Modern Family took the overdone idea of a possible affair with a hot, young, Hispanic and twisted into serious commentary about fear and desire.

There’s a certain stereotype surrounding the fashion industry that this episode explores: the industry is made up of harsh snobs. Haley walks into the office for her interview. The receptionist says the man she’s supposed to meet with is in a mood. Haley says “kay!” and walks out. At the very end of the episode, a comical scene of her crying in her car before she returns to the office is revealed. She goes back in and confronts the man, and gets the job. In reality, this probably wouldn't happen. The industry does need tough people who can hold their own. Michael Urie gives a perfect portrayal of what most people think a man in charge of fashion would be like, with a little comical edge tacked on. Haley’s crying scene is meant to be funny. It flops, though, because Hyland’s acting is so poor.

When it comes to Alex, her character alone is a stereotype. She’s a bookish, smart, nerdy girl. Lately, the show puts too much emphasis on this. Her zombie-like state’s supposed to be humorous. A girl so invested in her studies that she’s not sleeping isn’t very funny. She constantly carries textbooks around to read. She walks into walls while doing so. High school students aren't that overworked. The show’s trying too hard to make her a comical character. Sure, she’s funny at times. However, her character’s credibility is going down the drain as the writers try harder and harder to keep her funny.

“Queer Eyes, Full Hearts” addresses stereotypes, and turns them into something comical. Much of the episode is funny, believable, and meaningful. Other aspects of the show are funny, but not credible. Overall, humor wins and the messages were received.
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