Modern Family. Oh! Haley’s AVERSION. I thought you said… nevermind.


There’s an interesting thing that happens when you watch a show when you know you have to be all analytical about it. You start to become hyperaware of patterns and themes and formulas (or maybe you’re all aware of it too, and I’m just a slow, unobservant leisure watcher). They don’t necessarily make a show bad, but it can sometimes make things tedious. But, sometimes you’ll come across a show that’s able to recognize the formula, tweak it and still manage to pull at our heartstrings. You guys, I love it when Modern Family has those sentimental little moments. There were two in last night’s episode, and honestly, one worked better than the other, but maybe I’m just biased. One involved Phil and the girls (y’all KNOW how much I love Phil with the girls, especially Haley), and the other involved Mitchell and Jay.

Before we get to that, let’s quickly cover the other less weighty subjects. First of all, the episode started off with the entire family together for brunch at the Dunphy’s, which is a nice change to things. First of all, it finally becomes clear to me just what Luke’s whole “but can we agree that she’s a disastrous human being” about Lily was about last week. He’s jealous because he used to be the cute one! Oh, why didn’t I see it before?! So he and Manny decide to rig a booby trap to get her in trouble so I guess the parents finally will see what a disastrous human she is, only it backfires andCam falls victim to it instead. He slips on the puddle of milk they’d hoped to blame on the tot and lays prostrate on the sofa to recover.

But it’s a sham! He really just wants to look through the house for a piece of Tupperware that he let Claire borrow and that she swears up and down that she returned. Now that I type that out, this story line sounds really boring, but hello, it’s freakingCam, so you know it was hilarious. Long story short,Camtears the house apart and finally finds the bottom high in a cabinet and has to climb the drawers to get it. They end up breaking and Claire runs into the kitchen to find him on his back again, with the contents of the drawer strewn about. By way of explanation, he simply looks at her, gestures with the Tupperware and says “Um, this had a lid.” Oh,Cam. *sighs contentedly*

But back to the boys. Besides trying to take down Lily, they’re also concerned with a girl who lives down the street that Manny likes. Luke, because he is a diabolical genius, suggests they takeCam’s car and drive by the girl’s house so she can see how cool Manny is. It works… until they reach the dead-end, don’t know how to turn around and have to back that shit up. As much as I complain about Manny, he was actually really funny in this episode, and I think I figured out why. He was with Luke. And because Luke is such a secret genius (i.e., he’s a kid and he brings Manny back down to the kid level), Manny once again becomes tolerable. Manny should only be used in two capacities: 1) physical comedy like I mentioned last week, and 2) with the kids. His relationship with Gloria is cute, but he just turns into an old man when he’s in that house. I much prefer him this way. I mean, just the pure look of terror and panic on his face as he had to back up past the girl again. Amazing.

Rico Rodriguez is so great, he’s just used so poorly sometimes.

Next is Claire and Gloria. Claire is escaping off to yoga class, but makes up an excuse when Gloria tries to go with her. But it turns out she was just hiding where she was REALLY going, which was a gun range. Which is awesome. I have always wanted to go to one of those. A couple years ago, some of my female family members took lessons at a range and now my mom can own a gun if she wants. Like, that’s awesome. And she showed me her target once; she’s a pretty good shot! I’m so jealous I didn’t get to go. Anyway, they have a nice bonding moment, but yep, that was the extent of that story line.

Next up we have Mitchell and Jay. It was during their story line that I realized this whole formula thing. These two are often pitted against each other, and it’s always in the same way: Mitchell thinks that Jay doesn’t love him, but in the end Jay ends up saying or doing something that makes Mitchell completely reconsider and they all love each other and awww. This happens A. LOT. Mitchell reveals that when he was younger and on the golf course with his dad, he got bored and kicked his ball in the hole, making Jay think that he had gotten a hole-in-one. Jay, whose whole life has now been a sham apparently goes down the club and meets with his friends (one of whom is ERNIE HUDSON Y’ALL! Side note: IMDB tells me they are making a Ghostbusters III. UM WHAT). Jay realizes that they’re all liars too, so why give up his own? But then Mitchell runs in and spills the beans even though he was just trying to defend him.

This leads to their heart-to-heart that they always end up having. Mitchell says that the day Jay got the “hole-in-one” was about more than that; it was about their bonding. Jay, typically, says it was about the hole-in-one. Then he blows Mitchell away by telling him that he remembers the real story of the day he gave Mitchell his first beer, and it was totally adorable and sweet and loving, I may have said “AWWW” out loud. And then Mitchell starts to say just what I was thinking, that just when he thought Jay didn’t care, or something— but Jay cuts him off. He remembered the name of the weatherman they were talking about at the beginning of the episode (Stormy Stevens, if anyone is interested). Oh, Jay. Heart you.

But now for my absolute favorite, favorite, favorite story line of the night: Phil with his daughters. Phil is taking them and Lily to the mall to fix Lily’s doll that Cambroke in his fall (it’s one of those expensive dolls with an elaborate back story – like American Girl dolls). Alex and Haley have a spat in the car about stages in their life, culminating in Alex telling Haley hilariously that, “The only stage you’ll ever jump to has a pole on it!” Phil decides they have to take it to court – the FOOD court. God, I love Phil so, so much. Then he says they won’t be deterred just because of Haley’s aversion to the food court – but of course Alex thought he said something completely different. The look on Phil’s face, you guys. That awkward moment when you realize your teenage daughter has been having sex.

At the mall Phil gets kind of weird about it, and he and Haley have a truly fantastic conversation in metaphors about dolls, and how Lily’s doll (i.e., Haley) used to be such a sweet little doll, but now she’s broken. When Phil said that, my heart died a little, you guys. Oh, it hurt me. Haley insists that the doll is STILL a sweet doll. She’s just changed a little; dolls grow up. The doll doctor (yeah, a doll doctor) says that’s not the case AND SHUT UP DOLL DOCTOR THEY ARE HAVING A MOMENT WHAT DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE A DOCTOR TO DOLLS. In Phil’s talking head, he says he’s the “cool dad” and because of that he has the perfect response: all he can do is hope she’s being safe and that he trusts her. But what he really said was nothing. He tells Haley to go get a table at the food court. Counter or booth? She should just pick whatever feels right to her; he trusts her. And then he hugs her. And then. Oh, god, you guys, and then Haley has a talking head where she, almost tearfully, declares that she does have a cool dad. And then I cry, probably harder than I should have.

I’ve talked about how Phil and Haley’s relationship reminds me a lot of my own relationship with my dad. And this conversation, you guys. When I was 15 and got my first boyfriend, I was scared to tell him because I knew it changed things. Growing up, my dad was my very best friend, and somewhere in my teens, the dynamic changed and my mom became my best friend (not that I didn’t have friends my own age. I’m just saying I’ve always had a special relationship with both of my parents). I was afraid to tell him because when I was about 3 or 4, and I clearly remember this, I made a pact with my dad that I wouldn’t date anyone until I was 30. When you’re three and you don’t really get the appeal of boys, that’s an easy pact to make, and I thought I’d have no problem keeping it. But things change. And I remember that look he got when I told him about the bf. And, god, it was the look on Phil’s face. I love these two so much, and I will love them until the end of time.

But let’s not forget Phil’s bonding moment with his other daughter! Alex, who had always been anti-doll finds a doll in the store and immediately falls in love with it. Of course it looks exactly like her, which was such a genius little detail. She goes up to Phil and says she knows she’s too old for dolls, but asks if she can have it. Phil, seeing the innocence left in her hugs her tight and says, “Yes! You can have as many dolls as you want!” Alex is all, “It’s $200.” “One is fine.” HA! Oh, god, Phil. I heart you so fucking much it hurts me.

Modern Family is a comedy, but sometimes they have these episodes that hit my heart right in the very best place and it makes me cry and feel all the feelings. It was a great episode. It was funny, silly, and heartfelt, which is the best formula for a sitcom, really. So. I want to hear ALL of your opinions on it too. Did you find it as cute as I did? Do you think Manny is more tolerable with Luke? Am I off my rocker and Manny is great all the time? Tell me everything in the comments. Comments are blogger food and if we’re not fed, we get angry. As Stephanie’s Happy Endings recap will probably tell you, it’s illegal to poke the bear, y’all. Just saying.

But before I go, I’ll leave you with these…

Random Thoughts/Quotes

  • During the brunch, Phil starts to go into this confession: “They didn’t used to label babies as carefully in hospitals so for two days—” Everyone is looking at him all horrified, but Jay cuts him off. NO! WHAT? WHAT ABOUT THE HOSPITAL? WHAT WAS HE GOING TO SAY?! DAMMIT, WRITERS!
  • Lily: “Great, daddy, you ruined brunch.” Anyone else impressed that she’s able to say “brunch”?
  • “My mom hates messes.” “I’m familiar with Claire.” Ha!
  • “There are blind models? That’s so sad. They cannot see how pretty they are!”
  • “You know what a doll is in my village? An apple on a fork!”
  • “Revenge is a dish best served cold. And even better, two days later out of a 24oz microwave-friendly, burp-sealed Pack ‘n’ Store.”
  • The doll store’s music really creeped me out.
  • Phil about Beatrice the Doll in the exam room: “We can just wait until she’s married—Until she’s ready. Which apparently everyone is these days.” OH SHIT NO HE DIDN’T HAHAHA
  • When Luke and Manny are going to steal the car and Manny asks Luke if he’s crazy… OMFG LUKE’S CRAZY FACE! “You tell me.” Nolan Gould, you are a god.
  • “I live with 4 teenagers; you live with 2 adults.”
  • At the shooting range, Gloria says it’s so sad that Claire comes here so often but Gloria has better aim. I was waiting for them to make a joke aboutColombia, but they didn’t so I guess that makes me the racist? Whatever, y’all know you were thinking it too.
  • Does anyone else watch the new show on Comedy Central, Key & Peele?  Ty Burrell was on this week as a Nazi. OMFG. You guys need to watch it. First of all, that show is genius. Second of all, need I tell you again how much I love Ty Burrell?

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  • Em

    You remembered to include all my favorite parts. :)  Luke’s face was awesome.  I loved the Haley/Dad storyline.  It was so painful in parts and so sweet in others.  I feel like there must have been a female writer for this ep, but I’m too lazy to look it up.
    Gloria has mentioned (and shown us) before that she is a good shot because of her upbringing in Columbia.  I guess they didn’t say anything this time because they’ve already done it before.

  • cinjudes

    I enjoyed this episode more than I have this show in a while and I think it’s because I genuinely enjoyed all the storylines. For all our agreements on most all things, Christina – we have found that this show and the characters in it find us at different spectrums sometimes. But this week, I too can’t resist Phil with the girls (honestly interaction with the kids is the only time I don’t want to slap him). Where we differ is that I love Manny all the time and Alex might be my favorite Dunphy. But you know all of this.

    I’m really commenting to give you a big hug because I know how affected you get by the strong father daughter moments. Personally, I wouldn’t know a real father daughter moment if it stomped me in the face – so I’m immune. But the fact that you DO have a pathway to look to with this, makes me think you definitely know what you are talking about. Not that I didn’t know you were brilliant, but you know.

    As for the shooting range… I live in the deep south. There are no less than 4 handguns in my house and if I wanted to shoot at something there is a backyard full of trees or any manner of junk I could shoot at. Yet, I haven’t shot a small firearm in probably 15 years. Why? One word: richocet. When you hear a bullet you aimed at a 150yr old oak tree trunk whiz back past your ear because you aimed too low and hit the wheelbarrow behind it instead… funtime with handguns kinda loses it’s appeal.

  • clrumbaugh

    Oh that’s right! Now that you mention it, I think they said it during the ep with the island pool float where she popped it. 

  • Lemonade

    Confession time: I’m a 24yr old without a driver’s license (in California of all places!), although I am working on it. So seeing the two 12yr olds out joy-riding was kind of depressing for me (even knowing that they weren’t actually driving). But it was a funny storyline, especially when they realized they didn’t know how to make a U-ie. 

    Phil & Haley really are great together, and I loved how they handled that storyline. Haley calling Phil a “cool dad” was such a sweet moment. *sniff* 

    I was a little surprised with the Haley thing though, only because I couldn’t figure out the timing of it, before Claire admitted she had known for three months. I was just thrown because I thought Dylan was supposed to be in Wyoming, so I kept thinking when did that happen?! haha. I liked that Phil referenced his close friendship with Dylan though, that’s one of my favorite running jokes on the show.

    And while you loved their use of Manny in this episode, I loved their use of Alex. She added just enough to that storyline without being annoying. Revealing Haley’s “not aversion” status, as well as her own aversion to dolls (see what I did there? *wink wink, nudge nudge*), could have come off as super obnoxious, but it didn’t. It felt believable and ended up being cute. So yay for using the characters the right way!

    I think the Jay/Mitchell formula was so obvious because they’ve been focusing on it so much lately. They just had that similar storyline with the Radio DJ two episodes ago.

    Max’s hibernation on Happy Endings was great, but the phrase “Poke the bear” still reminds me of angry!Phil jumping on the car in that one MF episode last season, saying “You poked the bear girls!” Here’s a gif:

    And lastly, how long does one spend going to med school to become a doll doctor? I’m not good with blood, so maybe that’d be a good career choice for me!

    Great recap as always Christina!

  • clrumbaugh

    Thanks! I love that gif! I totally forgot about that scene! And you’re right with your assessment of Alex. She was really great in this episode. I really loved how she served as the innocent foil to Haley’s “non aversion” status, and Phil really embraced that. It was just such a cute episode. 

  • john parcker

    im 22 years old do u intrested

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