Great Expectations (Modern Family)
|Modern Family episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Jason Winer|
|Written by||Joe Lawson|
|Original air date||November 18, 2009|
|Season 1 episodes|
|List of Modern Family episodes|
"Great Expectations" is the eighth episode of the ABC series Modern Family. It premiered on ABC in the United States on November 18, 2009. The episode was written by Joe Lawson and directed by Jason Winer.
Claire (Julie Bowen) has a history of giving bad gifts while Phil (Ty Burrell) has a history of giving her great gifts she really appreciates. So, in an attempt to make up for it, she decides to give Phil a surprising anniversary present, which is a private performance by Izzy LaFontaine (Edward Norton), one of their favorite musicians. However, this unexpected gift turns out to be a mistake, as Phil was neither a big fan of Spandau Ballet nor was their song "True" - their song was Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's "If You Leave".
Jay (Ed O'Neill) and Gloria (Sofía Vergara) are having all the grandkids (including Lily for the first time) over for a slumber party, a tradition he calls "Jay's Night." Haley (Sarah Hyland) feels like she is too old for family sleepovers and wants to go to a party with her boyfriend Dylan (Reid Ewing). Alex (Ariel Winter) says they should enjoy spending time with their grandfather because they do not know how much longer he will be around - which both confuses and scares Luke (Nolan Gould) into thinking that Jay is dying.
Haley is unable to convince her parents to let her attend the party (which is only three blocks away from Jay's house) and ends up at his sleepover. She makes several attempts to sneak out of the house but is thwarted by Jay. Jay finds Dylan in the backyard and invites him in, saying he will allow him to take Haley to the party for a few hours. However Dylan quickly succumbs to the family fun of "Jay's Night" and they are not going to the party.
Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) call their party-girl friend, Sal (Elizabeth Banks), for a night on the town but the results of the night are decidedly mixed when Sal starts making some comments about Lily that scare Cam and Mitchell. While trying to figure out why Sal does not want Lily, they realize she is jealous.
The show ends with everyone at Jay's house watching a movie, including a hungover Sal, Dylan eating "Sloppy Jays" (really just Sloppy Joes changed to Jay's name), and Jay asleep in a chair with Luke checking him for a pulse.
The episode was written by Joe Lawson and directed by Jason Winer, his seventh time that season. The episode was dedicated to David Lloyd, father of co-creator Christopher Lloyd who died 8 days before the airdate. At the end it featured an "In Memory" screen dedicating the episode to David's life and quoting the famous line from "Chuckles Bites the Dust",which David wrote: "A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants."
"Great Expectations" received positive reviews.
Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave a B grade to the episode. "There's one thing that "Great Expectations" gets exactly right. Anniversary presents given by spouses to each other suffer from an inevitable asymmetry."
Robert Canning from IGN rated the episode with 9/10 saying that the it was another genial snapshot of this clan's life, with laughs coming from the real and the ridiculous. "I do believe I've said this before, but I love the laid-back ease of Modern Family. Nothing ever feels forced, even when it's a hilarious, off-the-wall story involving the bassist from the 80s band Spandau Ballet. Not even halfway through the premiere season, the series has already hit a very comfortable third season groove. [...] "Great Expectations" proved that Modern Family, for all its surface level standard sitcom trappings, can basically tell any style of story it wants to. And hooray for that! Girls' night out, sleepover at Grampa's, '80s synth-pop anniversary gifts—you'll never know what to expect, but it's a darn safe bet that it'll be funny."
The TV Chick wrote that they liked the episode. "I like that this episode, while full of extremely funny moments, also gets to the heart of things. The show is a comedy, but at the core, it is about a family (as crazy, dysfunctional and atypical as it may be)."
Eric Hochberger of TV Fanatic found the episode mediocre and said: "We've said it before, but a mediocre episode of Modern Family was still easily better than any other comedy being offered, so we'll take it."
- "Modern Family: Great Expectations: Writers, Directors, and Crew". TV.com. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- Robert Seidman (2009-11-19). "TV Ratings, Wednesday broadcast & cable finals: Glee, America’s Next Top Model tick up". Retrieved 2010-03-11.
- Bowman, Donna (November 18, 2009). "Great Expectations". The A.V. Club.
- Canning, Robert (November 19, 2009). "Modern Family: "Great Expectations" Review". IGN.
- "ADVANCE REVIEW: Modern Family "Great Expectations"". The TV Chick. November 18, 2009.
- Hochberger, Eric (November 19, 2009). "Modern Family: "Great Expectations"". TV Fanatic.
- "Great Expectations" at TV.com
- "Great Expectations" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Great Expectations" at ABC.com