Modern Family—Season 2

modern family season 2 poster episode guide
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Slick and smartly timed jokes

Good but not as smart as some comparable shows

modern family season 2 episode 4 starngers on a treadmill phil scarb ty burrell

Sit back for another season of Modern Family

A family that fights together, stays together.  Phil (Ty Burrell), Claire (Julie Bowen), Luke (Nolan Gould), Alex (Ariel Winter), and Haley (Sarah Hyland) deal with everyone getting older and Phil and Claire’s unique personalities.  Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) find being first time parents can sometimes be challenging.  Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofía Vergara) face some cultural and age differences as Manny (Rico Rodriguez) deals with being a fifty-year old trapped in the body of a boy.

Modern Family—Season 2 aired from September 22, 2010 to May 25, 2011 and is a family comedy series.  Airing on Wednesdays on ABC, the second season continued to have strong ratings and won Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Burrell), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy (Bowen), Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (“Caught in the Act”), and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (“Halloween”) with nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Ferguson, O’Neill, Stonestreet), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Vergara), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a half-hour Comedy or Drama Series (“Halloween”), Outstanding Picture Editing for a Comedy Series (“Halloween”, “Slow Down Your Neighbors”), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Nathan Lane), Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (“Slow Down Your Neighbors, “See You Next Fall”), Outstanding Casting for a  Comedy Series, and Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series (“Halloween”).

modern family season 2 episode 6 halloween mitchell spider-man jesse tyler ferguson

The world needs heroes

When Modern Family started, I watched it a lot.  It was one of the last show I really remember watching with mother (The Office was starting to wane as Modern Family took off), so I have fond memories of the first couple seasons.  Rewatching Modern Family—Season 2 reminded me of what I liked about the series but also reminded me my regrets about it.

The series is much cleverer than some lazier shows at the time (I’m looking at shows like Two and a Half Men and Two Broke Girls).  The jokes are snappy and reward regular viewers like Phil always vowing to “get Gloria” when she’s endanger…but reversing it for a subtle joke in “The One That Got Away”.  It is the type of joke that not only reward regular viewers but has you watching the show more than once to catch character nuances and quips.

modern family season 2 episode 11 slow down your neighbors james marsden eric stonestreet

Barry’s got a right to a princess castle

In the same sense, Modern Family thinks it is too clever.  When compared to something like the tight writing of Arrested Development’s first few seasons, Modern Family pales in comparison…but it has high opinions of itself (along with Emmys to help boost those).  It feels like a dumbed down version of a show like that or even something like 30 Rock who was also too smart for its own good.  It is a universally pleasant show where everyone hugs at the end…it always takes the path of least resistance in the end (which is also the most obvious path).

The cast is good.  The core adult figures all play off each other well, but outstanding characters like Ty Burrell’s Phil and Eric Stonestreet’s Cam threaten to outbalance the mix.  Much like a Homer Simpson, it could easily become too much Phil or Cam if the characters aren’t reined in and limited.  The series has some of the typical struggles of child actors as well with all the kids learning their trade on camera which can’t be an easy thing to do.  Some of the characters like Rico Rodriguez’s Manny are written in a way that awkwardness plays well with his acting, but Nolan Gould’s Phil in the making is a challenge for the young actor.

modern family season 2 episode 18 boys night phillip baker hall nolan gould

Kid…you’re weird

The series is shot and edited in a way that exceeds the standard three camera shoot.  Following in the footsteps of The Office, the planning and plotting of the series feels like it has really adjusted to the type of TV show it is and keeps the jokes coming.  The families work to layer common themes and the shooting often helps create links between the different character stories throughout the season and the series.

Modern Family—Season 2 is probably Modern Family in its prime.  It doesn’t have the freshman slump that many series has, but instead has the actors really finding their groove.  Often too saccharine and sweet, the series does what it is supposed to do…be a family TV show (something that is often lacking in today’s series) and it does provide some good messages of inclusion and open minded though in the process.

Modern Family—Season 2 Complete Episode Guide:

modern family season 2 episode 1 the old wagon julie bowen ty burrell ariel winter sarah hyland nolan gould

“The Old Wagon”

2.1       The Old Wagon Airdate:  09/22/10

Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil (Ty Burrell) debate selling the old family wagon and remember the memories with Alex (Ariel Winter), Haley (Sarah Hyland), and Luke (Nolan Gould).  Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) try to keep Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) away from the building of Lily’s princess castle due to Mitchell’s dangerous construction past.  Gloria (Sofía Vergara) finds herself competing with Manny’s lab partner over Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and worries Manny is growing up too fast.

modern family season 2 episode 2 the kiss jay kisses mitchell jesse tyler ferguson ed oneill

“The Kiss”

2.2       The Kiss Airdate:  09/29/10

Alex’s plans for her first kiss backfire when Haley encourages her to speed up their relationship.  Phil finds Jay contacting him for help with a printer as Gloria gets revenge on Jay for mocking her culture’s view of the departed.  Cam resents Mitchell’s lack of public displays of affection, and Gloria blames it on Jay.

modern family season 2 episode 3 earthquake pepper nathan lane eric stonestreet


2.3       Earthquake Airdate:  10/06/10

An earthquake hits California causing havoc with the families.  Gloria sees it as a sign that Jay is supposed to go to church, and Manny questions why he needs to go.  Phil tries to avoid getting in trouble with Claire about anchoring a dangerous cabinet while Claire is trapped in the bathroom with a plumber.  Cam and Mitchell try to use the earthquake to get out of the party of their friend Pepper (Nathan Lane).

modern family season 2 episode 4 strangers on a treadmill julie bowen jesse tyler ferguson

“Strangers on a Treadmill”

2.4       Strangers on a Treadmill Airdate:  10/13/10

Phil is up to host a real estate event and Claire worries that his jokes will bomb.  With an agreement with Mitchell to tell Cam to stop wearing biker shorts, Mitchell and Claire make an agreement to swap problems…if they both decide to follow through.  Gloria challenges Jay to go to an employee’s daughter’s quinceañera to prove he knows his workers.  Haley tries to coach Alex on how to be popular.

modern family season 2 episode 5 unplugged phil claire alex julie bowen ty burrell ariel winter


2.5       Unplugged Airdate:  10/20/10

Phil and Claire challenge the family to be offline for a week…and Haley might just prove she has more resources than expected when a car is the prize.  Manny and Jay suspect Gloria might have done something wrong to the neighbor’s barking dog when it disappears.  Mitchell and Cam try to get Lily into preschool and learn that they are coveted as a gay couple.

modern family season 2 episode 6 halloween claire phil julie bowen ty burrell


2.6       Halloween Airdate:  10/27/10

It is Halloween and Claire is trying to pull off the best haunted house in the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, Cam is tormented by a childhood Halloween trauma, Mitchell had a bad day at work, Phil is worried about divorcing neighbors, and Jay and Gloria are arguing about her accident.

modern family season 2 episode 7 chirp savezilla commercial lily


2.7       Chirp Airdate:  11/03/10

A chirping smoke detector is drying Phil crazy as Claire fights the flu.  Manny finds himself at odds with Jay when he fires a friend and refuses to help him remember the date Gloria is planning for.  Cam and Mitchell butt heads over Lily being in a commercial.

modern family season 2 episode 8 manny get your gun rico rodriguez

“Manny Get Your Gun”

2.8       Manny Get Your Gun Airdate:  11/17/10

It’s Manny’s birthday and there is a race to get to the restaurant.  Phil and Claire debate the best way to get to the restaurant leading in a race.  Cam’s insistence that Mitchell have more fun could end in a flash.  Gloria has misplaced the keys, and Jay wants to teach her a lesson as Manny questions if he’s wasted his childhood.

modern family season 2 episode 9 mother trucker jesse tyler ferguson celia weston

“Mother Trucker”

2.9       Mother Tucker Airdate:  11/24/10

Cam’s mother (Celia Weston) is in town, and Mitchell isn’t a fan of her hands on approach.  Haley is breaking up with Dylan (Reid Ewing) much to Phil’s dismay but Claire’s delight…and Phil isn’t ready to give Dylan up.  Jay is having stomach issues, but Gloria insists that American’s are wimps when it comes to pain.

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“Dance Dance Revelation”

2.10     Dance Dance Revelation Airdate:  12/08/10

Manny and Luke are having their first dance and while Gloria and Claire battle for control of the dance arrangements at school, Phil and Jay are taking the boys to the mall…which leads to Jay trying to teach Phil a lesson about giving in.  Cam and Mitchell realize they might have a problem with Lily when they realizes she’s a biter.

modern family season 2 episode 11 slow down your neighbors julie bowen

“Slow Down Your Neighbors”

2.11     Slow Down Your Neighbors Airdate:  01/05/11

Claire is out to stop a neighborhood speeder, but Phil is in trouble when he learns the lead-foot is his new client Laura (Jami Gertz).  Cam and Mitchell meet their new neighbor Barry (James Marsden) and find out that Barry might be living closer than they thought.  Jay is out to teach Manny how to ride a bike but discovers Gloria could be the bigger challenge…something that Luke might solve.

modern family season 2 episode 12 our children ourselves jesse tyler ferguson eric stonestreet mary lynn rajskub

“Our Children, Ourselves”

2.12     Our Children, Ourselves Airdate:  01/12/11

Alex reveals she thinks she does as well as she can with Claire and Phil as her parents leading Claire and Phil to try to impress her rival classmate’s parents at an art house film.  Gloria invites a couple they meant on a vacation over leading to an awkward dinner where Jay reveals a friendship won’t work out…leading Gloria to get creative.  Mitchell and Cam run into Mitchell’s old girlfriend Tracy (Mary Lynn Rajskub) but when Mitchell sees her with a kid, he thinks Tracy might not have told him everything about the night they hooked up at their reunion.

modern family season 2 episode 13 caught in the act ariel winter sarah hyland nolan gould

“Caught in the Act”

2.13     Caught in the Act Airdate:  01/19/11

It is Phil and Claire’s anniversary, and the kids’ breakfast in bed turns into a mess when they catch them in the act.  Cam and Mitchell learn Lily’s classmate’s mother is Amelia (Rachael Harris) who owns the hot new restaurant in the neighborhood and set-up a playdate in the hopes of scoring reservations.  Gloria accidentally sends Claire a scathing email and forces Jay to take her to Claire and Phil’s to try to do damage control.

modern family season 2 episode 14 bixbys back ty burrell2.14     Bixby’s Back Airdate:  02/09/11

Valentine’s Day has rolled around again and Claire decides to revive “Clive Bixby and Julianna” when she worries that they are getting too old.  Manny uses Haley’s break-up as a means to try to get in closer with Haley.  Cam gets jealous of Mitchell’s assistant Broderick (Jeremy Rowley) who he believes has a crush on Mitchell but learns that Broderick has other ideas.  Jay’s attempt to surprise Gloria backfires.

modern family season 2 episode 15 princess party julie bowen matt dillon shelley long

“Princess Party”

2.15     Princess Party Airdate:  02/16/11

DeDe (Shelley Long) is in town for Lily’s birthday, but Claire finds DeDe has brought her ex-boyfriend Robby (Matt Dillon) along for the fun.  Gloria worries about running into DeDe and takes some liquid courage…and Xanax.  Mitchell argues with Cam over his desire to be Fizbo at Lily’s party, but Fizbo could be the least of their problems.

modern family season 2 episode 16 regrets only sofia vergara ty burrell

“Regrets Only”

2.16     Regrets Only Airdate:  02/23/11

Phil can’t figure out what led to a fight with Claire.  Jay’s purchase of a karaoke machine for Gloria might have been a mistake.  Mitchell realizes he might have screwed up Cam’s big fundraiser when he realizes he forgot to send out the invitations.  Alex thinks Haley has been lying about her job at a restaurant and tries to catch her in the lie.

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“Two Monkeys and a Panda”

2.17     Two Monkeys and a Panda Airdate:  03/02/11

As Cam tries to normalize Lily to her adoption, he makes a shocking discovery on her birth certificate.  An accident with Haley’s sweater sends Claire on a mission to stop a crisis.  Jay is thinking about death, and Gloria isn’t having it.

modern family season 2 episode 18 boys night ed oneill nathan lane

“Boys’ Night”

2.18     Boys’ Night Airdate:  03/23/11

Luke has a new best friend…but it is the scary neighbor Walt Kleezak (Philip Baker Hall) who lives next door.  Haley babysits Lily but reveals she has ulterior motives to avoid her grounding.  Jay’s attempt to avoid going to a concert with Gloria and Manny results in him spending time with Cam and Mitchell’s circle of gay friends at a local bar.

modern family season 2 episode 19 the musical man we love the f word

“The Musical Man”

2.19     The Musical Man Airdate:  04/13/11

Jay’s brother Donnie (Jonathan Banks) has stopped by for a visit, but Jay learns that his brother has something he hasn’t told him.  Phil’s attempt to advertise on his van doesn’t turn out as he plans.  Haley has a surprise when it comes to her SAT scores, but questions about her future has Claire worrying that she wasted hers.  Cam has taken over Manny and Luke’s musical…but his plans to revolutionize the high school musical has problems.

modern family season 2 episode 20 someone to watch over lily gloria sofia vergara

“Someone to Watch Over Lily”

2.20     Someone to Watch over Lily Airdate:  04/20/11

Cam and Mitchell worry about what would happen to Lily if something happened to them and test the family for potential guardians.  Haley spends time with Alex, and Alex demonstrates her rebel side.  Manny tries to get out of a camping trip despite Jay’s encouragement.

modern family season 2 episode 21 motehrs day sofia vergara julie bowen

“Mother’s Day”

2.21     Mother’s Day Airdate:  05/04/11

It is Mother’s Day but a hike in the hills for Claire and Gloria gets messy when the kids misbehave.  Phil and Jay work to cook Jay’s mother’s spaghetti leading to a surprising result.  Cam realizes that everyone sees him as the mother in Mitchell-Lily-Cam dynamic.

modern family season 2 episode 22 good cop bad dog lin manuel miranda

“Good Cop Bad Dog”

2.22     Good Cop Bad Dog Airdate:  05/12/11

Claire decides it is time for her to be the fun parent and takes Luke and Manny go-karting while Phil is in charge of making sure Alex and Haley clean up their bathroom.  Cam is sick, and it could doom Mitchell’s plans for the Lady Gaga concert.  Gloria’s good nature has Jay watching a presentation for a “Good Dog, Bad Dog” training prototype by a grocery store employee Guillermo (Lin-Manuel Miranda)…which could mean a new addition to the family.

modern family season 2 episode 23 see you next fall alex ariel winter

“See You Next Fall”

2.23     See You Next Fall Airdate:  05/18/11

Alex is the 8th grade class valedictorian and plans to light up her fellow classmates in her speech…against Haley’s warnings.  Jay’s finds a secret Botox injection from his doctor has an undesired side effect while Cam questions Mitchell’s personality flaws after laughing at his fall.  When Phil, Claire, Cam, Mitchell, Jay, and Gloria get trapped in Jay’s house by a faulty gate, they could miss Alex’s big moment.

modern family season 2 episode 24 the one that got away jay birthday ed oneill

“The One That Got Away”

2.24     The One That Got Away Airdate:  05/25/11

It’s Jay’s birthday and he plans to spend it fishing on a lake…but fate has other plans.  Jay discovers that despite the years passing his family still can ruin his peace.

Related Links:

Modern Family—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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