Modern Family continues to be one of the highlights of the TV week as it nears the midpoint of its second season. It never really has a bad week, just some that are more hilarious than others. And we can see the writing staff beginning to take advantage of its better knowledge of the actors, giving them room to grow (Ty Burrell’s Phil is a little less of a buffoon these days).
This week’s episode (ABC, Wednesday 9 p.m.) marks that very special day in a young boy’s life for Luke and Manny: their first school dance. Manny lives in a permanent romance novel anyway, so this might be the first time the chaperones at this dance have ever seen a kid in a tux. Also, Mitchell and Cameron learn that sweet Lily isn’t fitting in with the other toddlers at the playground. You know these are stressful times when even the babies are lashing out.
Also this week:
Monday: Men of a Certain Age (TNT, 10 p.m.): One of last year’s more promising new shows returns with changes and arguable growth for all its characters: Joe (Ray Romano) is getting serious about his golf game, Owen (Andre Braugher) has new responsibilities at the dealership, and Terry (Scott Bakula) now works for Owen.
Tuesday: In Treatment (HBO, 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.): I still really like this show, which ends another too-brief season, but man, with each passing year Paul (Gabriel Byrne) seems no more stable than his patients. Tonight, Paul gets young Jesse to deal honestly with his father, and then lashes out yet again at his own ultra-calm therapist (Amy Ryan).
Thursday: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX, 10 p.m.): While I’m sure the real life pregnancy of Kaitlin Olson was the proverbial blessed event, this series isn’t going to dispense with the bad taste just because Dee is having a baby. As the identity of the father is still unknown to the guys, they invite all her old boyfriends (and more casual hookups) to a house party in an effort to flush out the culprit.
Friday: The Good Guys (Fox, 9 p.m.): It’s the season finale (and likely the final finale) for this lightweight but amiable series. The guys investigate a dine-and-dash, and in less mundane news, Jack’s former partner (Chris Klein) comes into the picture when another cop is suspected of having murdered an informant.
Saturday: Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11:30 p.m.): Paul Rudd is a reliably funny guy who has done well in the hosting role before, though he could be a suicidal undertaker and still bring more laughs than Robert DeNiro did. How can anyone be that bad with reading cue cards and live TV in general? Paul McCartney is the musical guest.
Sunday: Dexter: (Showtime, 9 p.m.): I’ve never been as big a supporter of this show as some, but the last three-fourths of this season has been the best run Dexter has ever had. It’s easy to predict that guest stars Julia Stiles and Jonny Lee Miller aren’t getting out of Season Five alive, but my suspicion is that the last person the fragile Lumen (Stiles) kills will be herself. And will Deb finally put 2 and 2 and 2 and 2 together where her brother is concerned?