KIP MOONEY: That wasn’t so hard, was it? Only two stories, given an equal amount of time? No rushing, no one getting short shrift. See, it can be done!
That’s right. This week’s Modern Family did what I thought would be impossible: reigning in its plot threads to give them some breathing room. That made this another standout episode, after last week’s season high.
The main story finds Phil trying to sell the house Cam and Claire—or as he calls them, “Clameron, which is what people will be doing for this house”—have been restoring to flip. He initially turns down an offer from his rival Gil Thorpe. This is the first time we’ve actually seen the man up close, and he’s played brilliantly by Rob Riggle, who’s absolutely perfect at playing these sorts of uncomfortably aggressive douchebags. But it turns out that offer was the best Phil would get, as the house sits on the market for two months. (That shows that the characters live in a much different world from ours, since many homes can stay on the market for more than a year.)
When Luke mentions he has a friend who’s interested in buying, Haley stalks him through social media, and the two couples try to make the house look like his man-cave. The fact that no one says anything about Luke having a 30-year-old friend is just the kind of nonchalant aside that’s typical for him.
But the guy freaks when the family starts letting too many specific details slip, like Cam saying the doggie door would be perfect for his pooch Otis, or Haley saying that he should move in soon, just in time for his birthday. Luckily, Gil Thorpe shows up for a counter-offer and Phil gets to turn the tables on him.
I almost loved the flip side of the story even more. Javier, Manny’s often absentee father, shows up with his new girlfriend Trish (Paget Brewster, always nice to see you). Unlike his previous array of ladies, this one’s an art expert at Christie’s, and her penchant for the fine arts makes her a perfect to be Manny’s stepmother. Gloria can’t stand this, but when Javier proposes, Trish is the one who turns him down. Gloria and Trish have a heart-to-heart in which the latter reveals she only said No because she feels like she’d have to compete with Gloria for Javier and Manny’s affections. Knowing she’s still on top, Gloria embraces Trish, saying, “Welcome to the family!” I’d be happy with all three guest stars hanging around more myself.
Cam, looking up while toasting the construction crew: “Paco, I wish you could be here right now.”
Haley: “Is he dead?”
Cam: “He’s on the roof fixing a shingle that he should have gotten right the first time.”
Phil: “Prepare to Phil the agony of Dunpheat! Both names!”
Gil: “You just got Thorpedoed!”