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Gold Stars: Modern Family “Slow Down Your Neighbors” 

Photo Credit: ABC/Adam Larkey

The hiatus is thankfully over for ABC’s Modern Family. “Slow Down Your Neighbors” was ridiculously funny, even as Claire went over-the-top in her war against the crazy unsafe driver terrorizing their neighborhood. Jami Gertz seemed to channel some of those uppity roles she used to play in 80s movies and on Square Pegs, didn’t she? While the entire half-hour was hilarious, we’re doling out Gold Stars to the top 3 reasons why the episode was thoroughly must-see.

1. Nolan Gould (Luke Dunphy)

First of all, Nolan Gould is, hands down, the funniest kid on TV. He has the most impeccable comedic timing. He was on a roll in “Slow Down Your Neighbors.” As Luke, he was able to act in scenes with Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell and Sofia Vergara. Have Luke/Gloria scenes ever happened before? If they haven’t, they need to again. I love when this show gives us moments between characters that don’t normally appear together. Who would have thought Luke would ever teach Gloria how to ride a bike? And in such a militaristic way. That was pretty awesome. I also just love Gould’s chemistry with Bowen and Burrell. He brings something different to the table when he’s in individual scenes with them as well as when they’re all together. He’s definitely developed into my favorite Modern Family kid. He might possibly be near the top of my favorite Modern Family characters, period. Now, on to my absolute favorite character on the show…

2. Ty Burrell (Phil Dunphy)

In “Slow Down Your Neighbors,” he had some of the greatest lines; and Ty Burrell continuously gave the perfect look that fit every situation. Burrell’s a master at that. Claire in vigilante mode definitely brought out the funny in Phil. He found himself in the middle of two strong, out-of-control women and he was just doing his best to: a) Not get on his wife’s bad side; and b) Not lose his client (Jami Gertz). Plus, I just love the way Phil interacts with his kids; and he’s constantly reeling off the pop culture references. In one scene, he dropped Sweet Valley High and Star Wars into the conversation. That makes him beyond adorkable (adorable + dorky = adorkable), in my book.

3. James Marsden (Barry)

It was good to see James Marsden on the small screen for a change. He played Barry, the homeless guy, who squatted in Mitchell and Cameron’s princess castle they built for Lily. Barry was an object of lust for the guys (and fine, for me too). They were going to kick him out of the hot tub until they got a look at the hot specimen that was stretching right before them. And while he seemed eccentric and New Age-y, he didn’t seem like he was the lunatic he turned out to be. My favorite part came when Barry and Cameron were having their little powwow inside the dollhouse. In order to distract Cameron from calling the cops, he gave him his best coyote face. Barry came off so crazy and so…cute in that same moment. I also loved the Barry-Mitchell scenes where Barry seemed very lucid. Again, he was anything but in touch with what was really going on. I’m really happy Marsden decided to grace us with his presence on primetime TV. He’s been all about the movies lately after doing TV stints on the short-lived series Second Noah as well as Ally McBeal. Here’s to hoping he’ll return to TV land more often in the future.

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