Wednesday Comedy Roundup: Modern Family 4.15, Whitney 2.9 & Workaholics 3.15

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Modern Family Season 4, Episode 15: “Heart Broken”
Written by Dan O’Shannon, Abraham Higginbotham and Bianca Douglas
Directed by Steven Levitan
Airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC

Modern Family ditched its typical format this week and showed us how the three principal couples spent their Valentine’s Day and for once Claire and Phil’s story wasn’t the most hilarious.

Once again we saw the brilliant return of Phil’s alter ego, Clive Bixby. Their yearly tradition of going to a hotel and pretending not to know each other wasn’t as funny as previous episodes as Claire suffers a minor heart issue. This time round, it felt quite incoherent with the children not knowing Claire and Phil were home before throwing a party. However, it’s lovely to see how worried they are about their mother.

The show rarely explores why Jay and Gloria’s marriage works but this week we’re exposed to this and even details of how their sexual relationship is. Gloria is fantastic and it was hilarious as well as endearing to see exactly what she likes about Jay, in brilliantly framed shots. The interruptions were slightly predictable, but still enjoyable to watch. Manny had a brief B-story with a mystery Valentines, between interruptions Jay and Gloria both contact their kids to see if they are okay too, which is a nice touch.

It was Cam and Mitch’s Valentine’s story that really stole the show though. After throwing a ‘Lonely Hearts Party’, the couple wake up with a bunch of odd things around them including their neighbour’s Christmas decorations, their cat’s hair dyed pink and their new roommate, Hayley’s ex (again?) Dylan (Reid Ewing). Dylan isn’t in the show much, but when he is it really is great, particularly when he sings one of his always-hilarious songs.

After the first Valentine’s story, Heart Broken continued the tradition of brilliantly done Valentine’s Day episodes. This episode was also another example of the even more heart warming theme Modern Family is sporting at the moment.

Whitney Season 2, Episode 9: “Snapped”
Written by Liz Astrof
Directed by Andy Ackerman
Airs on Wednesdays at 8/7C on NBC

Much like last week’s episode, not much happens in terms of adding to the plots but this week is definitely an improvement entertainment wise. We see the return of Alex’s abrasive brother Brian (Ken Marino), but this time with his partner Michelle (Leslie Grossman).

As always Alex is Brian’s object of ridicule and Whitney cannot stand it. When she “tears him a new one”, it really feels like a step back when Alex asks her to do the opposite of what her instincts tell her to do. Having said that, it is entertaining to see such a strong personality as Whitney do something completely out of character.

Again like last week, the B-story in this episode is much stronger and more entertaining. Zoe Lister-Jones really deserves an award for her role as Lily in Whitney. She is excellent and more entertaining each week, particularly in this episode. Lily plans a secret date to Costco for Roxanne and Mark in hope of bringing them closer together. The mere fact she chose Costco, a huge super market is one of the many reasons why we love her. This would be a new location for the situation comedy and interestingly enough they do not actually reach this destination (bravo Whitney). Failing that, in an outburst Lily states what the audience is all feeling.

Mark claims he’s “got this”, and it needs to be stated how nice it is that he’s so open with his feelings towards Roxanne. The end of the episode shows Roxanne rush to his side after a stumble blurting out “are you ok hun?” interesting development!

Workaholics Season 3, Episode 15: “Webcam Girl”
Written by John Carcieri
Directed by Christian Hoffman
Airs on Wednesdays at 10/9C on Comedy Central

Following the Valentine’s Day theme, the guys end up going online and searching for a Valentine’s sweetheart. The episode begins with them in a bar introducing each other to what clearly is a hen party, in what could possibly be the best Workaholics intro ever. It’s outrageous and pinpoints the exact reasons they are alone, (and not only on Valentine’s Day) but it’s what they do best and why we love watching the show.

Failing that, Anders suggests they find a ‘real chick’ online and begin conversing with a camgirl, JustAnna (Tyler Kain). This episode is ripe with brilliant Workaholics terminology Blake, Adam and Anders use such as ‘no cranking down’. Then comes the sweetest sequence Workaholics has ever produced. Spending the day online, we see the guys serenade JustAnna singing Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” (excellent) as well as other activities like painting nails. It’s not often we see a genuine softer side of the Workaholics lot, presuming this girl is real is about as tender as this show can get. Its done well because it’s still very entertaining.

The trio is always working together, until the very first change to screw each other to get an advantage. In this respect they are a bit like the Always Sunny gang. As we see them fight for JustAnna’s attention, this week’s example of that is the most hilarious we’ve seen.

Tracing Anders’ credit card statement, they find the ‘sex prison’ where JustAnna works which is pretty much a webcam girl version of TelAmeriCorp. They immediately feel the need to set everyone free by breaking the connection and knocking stuff over. This of course backfires for them and the girls chase them.

When they turn down JustAnna’s companionship on Valentine’s Day the episode ends right where it started and normality is restored. Of course the encounter has taught them nothing and they still do not know how to talk to girls properly. “Webcam Girl” was a really unexpected and well-done Valentine’s Day episode and achieved everything we thought it was incapable of. It offered a sweeter side but was still ripe with the crude familiarity we know and love.


Tara Costello

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