Modern Family: Virgin Territory

KIP MOONEY: With so many plates juggling this episode, you’d think a few would fall down just like Cam did. But everything was handled so beautifully, I’m still in a little bit of awe.

Do I wish Phil would have used some person history to relate to Haley? Yes. Do I wish everything had a little more breathing room? Sure. But this episode had such an abundance of riches, I can’t complain.

Let’s start with the silly: Manny and Luke team up to take down Lily, who gets all of the attention as the new Cute One. Luke’s character is easily the most detached from reality, and I love seeing the gleam in his eye when he decides to make this his mission. Phase one started by luring her into the kitchen with a plate of cookies, which is hooked up a Rube Goldberg device, rigged to spill a carton of milk. Unfortunately, Cam falls victim to the trap, slips on the milk and lies wincing on the floor.

Manny and Luke quickly scatter, reveling in their new roles as bad boys. Meanwhile, Cam was playing up his injury so he could get everyone out of Claire’s house so he could hunt for the Tupperware container she claims to have returned but Cam knows is hiding somewhere in the kitchen. That eventually leads to his actual injury as he climbs up on a counter to find it at the top of a cabinet shelf. Eric Stonestreet excels at this type of physical comedy, and he had a real showcase for his gift in this episode.

The episode was all about big reveals. While Gloria makes a hearty effort to join Claire for yoga, she goes a little overboard as Claire keeps making excuses why she can’t hang out. Tell me you wouldn’t be frightened if Gloria popped out from behind your car, shouting “¡Hola!” at the top her lungs. Turns out Claire hasn’t taken a yoga class in her life. She’s been taking classes at an indoor shooting range. Gloria of course is an ace shot, which doesn’t bode well for their friendship, given how competitive the Pritchetts are, but I liked that all the secrecy in service of something that wasn’t that big a deal.

Speaking of secrets, the show started with Claire and Mitch clearing the air over indiscretions made as teens. Claire ruined the convertible by leaving the top down. Mitch takes it as a cue to reveal Jay’s hole-in-one wasn’t legit. He had kicked the ball into the hole. Racked with guilt that he’s been living a lie at the clubhouse, Jay heads down there to clear the air. But he realizes his crew are all legendary B.S.-ers so he doesn’t fess up, only to have Mitch pronounce loudly that Jay’s hole-in-one never happened.

This leads to a nice little moment about how that day meant a lot to each of them, only for them both to clarify why a different day should hold much more significance.

But the nicest moment, and one that genuinely had me a little sniffly, was two back-to-back interview shots with Phil and Haley. Earlier in the car, Alex let laughed when she thought Phil said “Haley’s a virgin.” Phil takes this news hard, which shows just how naïve he can be. It’s not that he’s disappointed, but yet another sure sign “his baby is growing up.” Yet he can’t bring himself to say anything about it. He hugs her and reassuringly says, “Whatever you want to do. I trust you.” Haley was only asking where they should go to lunch, but there was so much underneath the surface.

During his interview scene on the couch, Phil explains what he would have said if he had only had the courage, and thinks his status as “cool dad” is forever lost. Not that he’s concerned with his image, but that he’s afraid Haley will no longer see him as a parent in whom she can confide. We cut to Haley’s interview, where she tearfully admits she does have a cool dad. My own dad responded, “Whoa.” I was speechless.

One final thing I loved: As much as this show probably appeals to families of all backgrounds, I particularly liked the reminder that each household is pretty obscenely wealthy. This week, the arm of Lily’s doll (price tag: $200) is torn, so Phil takes her to the store which has an on-call doctor for these repairs. The doc, lab coat and all, excused himself to “give a little girl some bad news.” Surreal, but it worked.

Manny: “She’s a dream wrapped in a wish poured into jeggings.”

Gloria: “In my village, a doll was an apple on a fork!”

Phil: “We’ll settle this in court—the food court, with the Honorable Judge Cinnabon presiding.”

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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