Another pretty solid episode of Modern Family last night – as if we should expect anything less. Last night’s had one of those talking head moral-of-the-story endings, which I don’t always like, but it had Phil as the winner of the Dunphy storyline, so that’s a-okay with me (I would TV-marry him in a heartbeat). But it was the subtle jokes and off-hand one-liners that made this episode.Cam was my MVP of the episode, followed closely by Gloria. So much love for those two, it’s ridiculous.
In last night’s ep,Camdecides he’s going to go on a juice fast. Mitchell is not happy about this because, as he puts it, “A well-fed Cam is hardly a model of emotional stability. Now, deprive him of food and it’s a stage-by-stage, slow descent into madness.” Heh. In Stage One,Cam cleans out all the junk food from the house, which Mitchell brings over to the Dunphy’s. Unfortunately, Luke proceeds to eat the entire bag in a matter of days, but more on that later.
The situation goes downhill, and we’re treated to such a delightful montage of the downward spiral. This is really where Cam won so many of his MVP points. He goes through a “Soap Actress” stage, in which he dramatically cries over his sister’s lack of self-confidence, and (my favorite) the “Rush of Epiphanies” stage, which were hilariously disjointed and fairly reminiscent of someone on Ecstasy – “I don’t need food! Look at this. Architecture’s everywhere! Spaniards make amazing athletes!” There was also a stage where he ripped a cabinet door off its hinges and accuses Mitchell of trying to push him out of his life, then insults Mitch’s outfit. The histrionics of this man. I cannot get enough of them.
So, this is all bad because Mitchell has to go to a benefit party at his boss’s house, and he’s afraid that Cam is going to be too dramatic, now that he’s “gone all ‘Girl, Interrupted’.” But as his boss is telling a story about an injured sea lion, it’s Mitchell who has an emotional outburst due to lack of food. He runs to the ocean looking for the sea lion, and Cam and Mitchell, in the middle of the waves (and in front of all the confused party goers), realize that they were both doing the fast for each other, but they didn’t need to because they loved each other just the way they are, awww.
In Jay, Gloria and Manny’s story, Jay has developed a somewhat unusual relationship with the ADORABLE little bulldog, Stella, that they took in last season. That dog is so cute, I don’t know what to do with myself when it’s on screen. Jay has it in the bed with them, saying she probably crawled up there because she was scared. Gloria asks why he doesn’t let Manny “snuck in the bed” when he has nightmares, but Jay says it’s too early to talk about it. The camera angle switches and we see Manny lying on the floor at the foot of the bed. “Answer the questions, Jay.” Ha!
So Gloria is pretty bummed out about the dog situation because Jay’s putting the dog before her, like it’s more important. She’s especially upset when she discovers Stella’s been chewing her shoes. She doesn’t think Jay disciplines the dog enough, so she tries to frame the dog by trying to get her to chew on one of Jay’s shoes. And how does Gloria do this? By hanging Jay’s shoe out of her mouth to entice the dog. Naturally, she gets caught, and when she looks at the dog, the dog turns and looks right at the camera, and it was fucking perfect. Her wittle doggie face even looked like “Yeah, this is my life.” Amazing.
Over in Dunphy-land, Alex and Haley are going to be in the same sophomore math class (even though Alex is a Freshman and Haley is a Senior), and they’re not happy. But, with Claire’s clever use of Inception, she gets them to bargain with each other – Alex will help Haley cheat, if Alex is allowed to sit at the cool table for lunch. This isn’t quite what Claire had in mind, and they get caught anyway. Claire, meanwhile, has a few run-ins with the high school campus rent-a-cop who likes to give Claire a hard time about lingering in the drop-off zone. On the day Alex and Haley get caught cheating, the rent-a-cop gives Claire a ticket. Claire gets all in her face about her fake badge and SpongeBob tie and rips up the ticket… and gets herself handcuffed outside the school.
Back at their house, Phil is trying to realize his dream of being a tightrope walker. He and Luke set one up in the yard, and Phil even buys a pair of “Wire Walkers” (there are special shoes to walk on wires, apparently) from an estate sale. He’s not doing so well though. My personal favorite exclamation one of the times he falls was “Chicken in a basket!” Then, after Phil has to pick Luke up from school because he puked up all the junk food he’d eaten, they both admit that they failed in achieving their dreams (Luke’s apparently is to eat lots of junk food), but then they have one of their own epiphanies, or rather, Luke does: Maybe Phil keeps falling because he’s only 6 inches off the ground, so he knows he can fall. He’s got to reach higher. Decision made. Phil’s moving the rope up to 7 feet. Genius.
Claire and the girls come home while Phil is crossing the wire (wearing stirrup pants!), and I guess Claire has an epiphany too. She was telling the girls how to act, not showing them. But Phil was showing how to act, and how to rise above. And “isn’t that what we’re supposed to do for the people we love?” The whole family is proud of Phil. Cam and Mitchell make up, and they’re not mad at each other. And Jay sees the error of his ways and leaves the dog outside the room at bedtime. It’s all very touching. All-in-all, a very good episode, but it was made more by the lines than the moral.
- “When his diet crashes and burns into a giant pile of Nutella…”
- “So it’s my fault she chooses to chew my shoe?” “I didn’t say that. You barely said it.”
- “Not as embarrassed as I was when she said 8 was a prime number. 8, Mom.”
- “I’ll tell you what, Law & Order: Special Parking Unit…”
- “Juice fast?” “Pretty sure he said ‘Jew’.”
- “Away from me, temptress! And I never thought I would call you that in a negative way.”
- “Where I come from, men cherish woman. It goes wife, mistress, dog. Dog ALWAYS goes at the bottom.”
- “Everything I touch turns to detention.”
- “What was on my mind as I was walking across that wire? I kept thinking, if I can do this, then I have two ways of getting across my yard.”
So, I’m dying to know what you thought of the episode. How do you think it ranks among Modern Family eps? I know I left out some of the excellent funny quotes. Which were your favorites?