Ed O'Neill Ed O'Neill

Jeers to Modern Family for hitting a late-season sophomore slump.

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Last week's dog of an episode was marred by Lin-Manuel Miranda's howlingly awful guest shot as a canine trainer. Somebody should tell this Tony-winner he needs to tone down his shtick for TV; he was equally irksome on House last season. And this week's installment wasn't much better, as it overrelied on slapstick gags—and not particularly well-executed ones at that—and found its characters acting, well, out of character.

Yes, we know Jay (Ed O'Neill) worries about the age difference with his muy caliente wife, Gloria (Sofia Vergara), but not even Dr. House could convince this old crank to get Botox. ("You're a veteran!" Eric Stonestreet's Cam pointed out, in one of the episode's few laugh-worthy lines.) And Alex (Ariel Winter) is way too smart and proud to discard her carefully thought-out valedictory speech in favor of a string of pop-music clichés, even if she was trying to spare the feelings of her shallow older sister, Haley (Sarah Hyland). As Jesse Tyler Ferguson's Mitchell put it, "No my God!" Let's hope Modern Family rallies for next week's season finale, because these last two episodes felt like they were written by Nolan Gould's dimbulb Luke Dunphy.

Do you think Modern Family has been off its game lately?

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