TV Club: When everyone chips in, Modern Family finds its sweet spot

In last week’s Modern Family review, I mentioned that Phil’s vulnerability often makes for an episode filled with touching sentiments and real emotions. Unlike so many storylines that descend into caricature these days, Phil’s continuous struggle to define himself, better himself, and live up to his own expectations is a consistent strength for the show, even in its eighth season. The main reason Phil’s storylines always seem to work, outside of the fact that Ty Burrell continues to fully commit to the character, is that his emotional struggle is really the only one that still resonates. Every other character seems to be settled, having found a place for themselves, whereas Phil is just the type of person who’s eternally restless, always looking inward and thinking about ways to be a better father, husband, and person.

In “Do It Yourself,” that kind of inward-looking examination manifests …

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