Modern Family: Week 4 in Review

KIP MOONEY: I don’t know if I’d go on the record as saying this was one of Modern Family’s best episodes. I will go on the record as saying this had the most laughs per minute for me since “Good Cop, Bad Dog” back in season 2.

Much of tonight’s episode comprised of a lot of visual humor and reactions, which is hard to explain how great they were in words. This was an episode you’ve just got to watch (and hopefully re-watch).

I can’t think of a more delightful moment on TV this year than Phil talking to Claire on the phone while joining in on a cheerleaders’ practice. (Which reminds of last season when he threw away his hoodie after he saw a girl wearing it, all while chatting with Dylan on his Blackberry. Man, that guy’s got skills.)

Phil is much more enthused about revisiting his alma mater than Haley is about potentially going there—which I think is going to become a major plot point later this year, with her impending graduation and horrendous grades. Phil’s high-fiving strangers, encouraging people to sled down the Big Hill on lunch trays and goading Haley into ordering 40 hot wings. He’s just having a great time in a way that never comes across as pathetic. Phil simply enjoys life more than any other character on this show.

When Haley breaks away to go to a party, you see just a glimmer of sadness on his face, before he encourages her to make some new friends. He then tracks her (via GPS on her phone) to the notorious Pi Chi frat, makes a scene, only to realize too late that she’s actually partying responsibly.

The resolution is a little too TV (meaning Haley forgives Phil in the span of about two minutes), but it’s still very heartfelt. Plus, Ty Burrell is already making his case for consecutive Emmy wins.

Speaking of a little too TV, Jay & Gloria think Manny’s, well, indulging his teenage hormones, is a scene straight out of Three’s Company and perhaps a little too far-fetched. Turns out the mystery box he didn’t want his mom to know the contents of doesn’t only held a device to stretch his body in a foolhardy attempt to grow taller. This ends with a nice moment with Jay promising Manny he’ll be his workout buddy. This should lead to some great top-spouting bursts of anger next week, based on Manny and Jay’s golf game last season.

Other characters were getting up to some funny business, as Claire used her one night off (Alex and Luke are both at sleepovers) as a chance to drink wine, wear something sexy and harmlessly flirt with gay (or gay-seeming) guys. She thinks her ticket to this is hanging out with Mitch and Cam, but they turn out to act about 30 years older than their real age. (What? A free pot pie isn’t your idea of a good time?)

The trio end up at a fashion event, where Claire latches on to a personal trainer and our boys head home at 9:30—“It’s 9:30?!” Mitch gasps—and drive the wrong Prius home thanks to a valet mix-up.

Turns out the couple who actually own the car are a lot more exciting than our party-poopers, taking trips to Cancun and buying tickets to see Jay-Z, without worrying about things like having to walk stairs in the arena or the fact that Hove probably won’t even take the stage till 10.

It was a moment I could relate to all too well, giving up all those potential fun times for a few extra hours of sleep despite being able to party well into the night just a few short years ago.

The ensemble broke up for this episode and it didn’t have as much poignancy as the series’ highlights, but I laughed a lot, and that counts for plenty in my book.

BEST LINES:

Cam: “Our pot pies could be anywhere by now!”

Phil: “So I embarrassed you a little…”
Haley: “That sweatshirt embarrasses me a little.”
Cop: “Yup, that’s your daughter.”

Jay: “I’m just saying: The guy’s a judge. He could put a shirt on.”
– commenting on the Colombian soap opera Gloria got him into

About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney is a recent graduate of UNT's Mayborn School of Journalism and big-time opponent of going to grad school. Working as a freelance writer in the DFW area, he's always ready to go in-depth with his opinions on film, television, music, religion and the sorry state of politics in America. He continues to work independently, as each of his non-college jobs has resulted in the company experiencing serious financial troubles once he leaves, including Blockbuster and the trashy restaurant D's Country Kitchen. (The lesson here is hire him, but don't let him leave.) His literary heroes include Roger Ebert, Donald Miller and Matt Taibbi. Kip has written for The Dallas Morning News and Pegasus News and served as editor-in-chief for the North Texas Daily, but he is perhaps best known as the inspiration for Christian Lander's well-known blog Stuff White People Like.
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