Hi everyone! Your usual Modern Family recapper extraordinaire Christina is on vacation this week, so I get to take this opportunity to check in with the Dunphy/Pritchett/Delgado/Tucker clan on her behalf.
A lot was happening this week and most of stories were unconnected, so if you’re a fan of the ‘whole family together’ episodes you were out of luck. And while those group episodes are always stronger for me, this one did have some great (and some groan-worthy) moments, so let’s go through it story by story.
First of all, Walt is dead. And I promise you that I was not smiling like a coked up mental patient while I typed that. What was the deal with Claire’s death smile?? This was my least favorite thing in the ep, and this was an ep that featured Manny in a very prominent and Manny-ish role, so that’s saying something. It was so unnecessary, especially in such a crowded episode, and it was not funny enough (or at all) to justify its existence. It would have been fine to just focus on Luke’s hilarious lack of emotion about his friend’s passing; we did not need Creepy Claire added to the mix. But I did love the discussion with Phil about how to tell Luke about Walt, and Phil’s ‘break it to him slowly’ plan, especially when he got to the experimental drug phase followed by Walt’s body rejecting the medicine, followed by a coma.
Walt’s death caused Phil to take inventory of his life, which drove him to the conclusion that he had not spent enough time with his middle child, Alex. So he decided to take her on an adventure day to bond over seeing Walt’s dying wish fulfilled by throwing his old dog tags into the ocean. When that plan was cut short by a ballsy seagull, he opted for plan two: milkshake road trip! Alex has been noticeably bitchier and more sarcastic this season and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I really wanted to punch her in the mouth when she was gleefully gloating about the ‘world’s greatest milkshake’ machine being broken. She’s old enough and intelligent enough to empathize with her dad in that moment rather than be a giant douchenozzle. Ugh, Alex. UGH.
Phil saved the day again though when he fixated on a new potential bonding experience: delivering their waitress’s baby (after forcing her into labor by yelling and pounding on things, and even making her crawl around under the table trying to fix an imaginary wobble). It was pretty great, and it ended with Alex throwing up while Phil tossed napkins at her while trying to control his own gag reflex, so all’s well that ends well. But seriously, Alex needs to stop being such an asshole. She’s in danger of becoming a meaner, more self-important Manny and nobody wants that.
Speaking of Manny, if Haley did not have the foresight to see that having him serve as chaperone for her pool party would be infinitely worse than having an actual adult, she deserved everything that she got. Everyone knows that Manny ‘Fussypot’ Delgado is like a cross between an 80’s sitcom nerd and a 75-year-old retired theater producer who fancies himself the lothario of his Miami senior’s condo. If I had been at that party, I would have lured him into the bathroom by leaving the light on, along with a gift basket of scented candles and personalized handkerchiefs on the counter and then locked his ass in there until the party was over.
Even Gloria was freaked out by his general Manny-ness when she came home and he proceeded to tattle about everything, especially those evil light leaver-oners. And him lecturing that couple about not being ready to have sex was both creepy and condescending, and he safely remains the worst.
Lastly, Gloria and Jay were at Mitch and Cam’s to have dinner with Cam’s dad, an old-school farmer who was visiting from Kansas. I thought that this was a really interesting storyline because it’s just not something we’ve seen much of on tv before – the day to day dynamics of a gay couple and how those dynamics are perceived by their parents (especially their fathers). This came the closest to something that felt ‘real’ to me in the episode. I liked the reveal of the reason behind Jay’s ‘angry faces’ that Cam’s dad had been complaining about, and especially that they were more related to being protective of his son than anything else.
As much as Jay likes to take shots at Mitchell, he has the attitude that most of us have – I can make fun of my family, but you keep your mouth shut. And he perceived Merle’s comments, attitudes and gifts as Merle’s way of saying that Mitchell was the woman of the relationship. Now, if these were any other characters on the show having this argument, I would have been offended that the relationship needed to be defined that way at all, and that being ‘the woman’ was seen as tantamount to being the passive, weak half of a couple. But because these are the two most senior members of the family, and both old-school guys’ guys, I thought that the entire concept and later conversation between the two was really well-done (and even ended on a progressive note, considering where they were each coming from). Kudos!
Some of my favorite lines from the episode:
- Now give me the growl that means ‘okay’.
- Phil, I told you that I would do everything possible to make sure that your skeleton ends up in a science class at a women’s college.
- ‘I’ve fallen behind a bit with Alex and it’s completely my fault.’ [Cut to Alex acting all Alex-y in the car] ‘80% my fault.’
- He said I could take one thing after he died. I wish he said two things, cause I would have taken that phone with the big buttons.
- You can’t expect me to see a sign that says ‘World’s Greatest Milkshake, 50 Miles’ and not drive to it.
- You mean cities, where there are gangs, as opposed to farms, where there are ducks?
- I already yawned a little in my mouth.
- We have two sons, and they’re gay for each other.
- You’re 13! You’re not supposed to be vacuuming the party, you’re supposed to be enjoying the party!
Okay, that does it for me. What did you think of the episode? Does your Manny hate run as deeply as mine? Are you starting to get a little sick of Alex’s know-it-all-ness? Did Jay and Merle’s line about their sons remind you of Heathers and ‘I love my dead, gay son’? (It totally reminded me of that). Most importantly, how far would you drive for the world’s greatest milkshake? Hit the comments!