If there is one thing we can say about “Modern Family,” it is that it’s reliable. While it may not be the funniest show on television, it’s consistent, thanks to the clever writing and one of the strongest ensemble casts on TV right now. Last night’s episode was no different. Plus, a special guest star showed up to make the episode even more enjoyable. Read our review to find out how we felt. . .

The Players:

  • Director: Jason Winer
  • Writer: Steven Levitan
  • Cast: Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Chaz Palminteri, Leslie Mann

Episode Title: “Treehouse”

Convinced that their server is flirting with him, Cam bets Mitchell that he can not only convince a woman that he is heterosexual, but hit on her successfully and get her number. Phil tries to build a treehouse for Luke, but it becomes clear that he may be really working on it for himself. Haley’s laments her sheltered life when she realizes that she has nothing to write about for her college essay. Gloria tries to convince Jay to go dancing with her and their friends, but he is afraid of looking like a fool.

The Good:

  • Leslie Mann: The cast of “Modern Family” gives viewers little to complain about, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate a funny guest star. Earlier this season, David Cross made a couple of welcome appearances, and in this week’s episode, Leslie Mann shows up as a woman who seems to be unable to resist Cam’s natural charm. While we wish she had been given even more to do in this episode, as she has always done in any film she’s ever appeared in, she makes the most out of her brief screen time.
  • Jay on drugs: In an attempt to do something for Gloria, Jay accepts a mysterious pill from Mitchell which promises to rid him of his inhibitions and allow him to let loose on the dance floor. Seeing Jay behave under the influence of controlled substances is funny. Finding out what exactly the pill was is hilarious.
  • Phil’s new friend: Anyone who has lived in the suburbs recognized the moment when Phil first meets a neighbor he has lived next to for about a decade. However, it is his inability to contain his boyish glee over having a “badass black friend” that really makes the joke stand out.

The So-So:

  • Manny: Manny is kind of neglected in this episode. If her were completely absent, it would perhaps be forgivable, but instead, he is included in such a limited role that the joke which the episode strives for doesn’t exactly resonate. It’s kind of funny that he wishes he could go out salsa dancing with Jay and Gloria, and it’s pretty amusing to watch him instruct Jay in the art, but overall, it was a Manny gag which feel pretty flat.

The Bad:

  • Haley’s paper: Too much time is devoted to a subplot with an only mildly amusing payoff. The joke itself is funny enough, but the time spent building up to it, and the brief scene following up on it afterwards, seems like a waste of space in a show already bound by the time restrictions of a sitcom.

Overall:

As is usually the case with “Modern Family,” the good outweighs the bad. (Anyway, when “the bad” is basically a funny joke that the writer and director spent too much time building up to, it’s not as if we can really complain.) The regulars deliver the kind of performances that we’ve come to expect from them, and Leslie Mann is another memorable guest star.

Rating: 8/10

“Modern Family” airs every Wednesday night on ABC!

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