Hi all! Christina is in transit right now, so I’m taking over OCTV’s coverage of the Pritchett-Delgado-Dunphy-Tucker clan this week. I used to cover the show and still watch it every week, and my feelings about the show haven’t changed much since I used to write about it: I still love Luke, I still don’t love Manny, I still think Mitchell is often a dickhead (though it’s getting better), and Gloria is obviously still awesome. Also, I am now obsessed with French bulldogs, thanks to Stella and her fat little face.
The biggest difference this year is how distracting Claire’s extreme thinness has become, because holy fuck – Julie Bowen, please eat some food. I hate ragging on people for their physical features, I really do, because it’s cheap and it feels mean for the sake of being mean. But when you’re constantly distracted from a show you’re watching by the fact that someone looks like they might keel over before a scene is finished, it has to be mentioned, right?
The groupings were fun this week – Cam with Hailey and Alex, Jay and Phil, Manny and Luke, and finally, Gloria, Mitchell and Claire. As mentioned above, one thing that hasn’t changed since I used to recap the show is that I still just don’t really get the appeal of Manny. The actor is great with the material he’s given, but goddamn, the super-precocious lothario wannabe falls so flat for me. Luckily he was paired with Luke, so I had something to distract me when he was onscreen.
Claire is a character that sometimes works for me and sometimes doesn’t – she walks a line between hilariously high-strung and painfully shrill, but I like Claire best when she’s meangirling it up with Mitchell, so this storyline worked for me, even though Mitchell was unwilling to join in the snark-fest about Gloria’s malapropisms (snicker-snackers!). I also liked the focus on Mitch and Claire continuing their weird parental issues well into adulthood, because it’s so true that all of that weird stuff never really goes away after you ostensibly grow up. I have a younger brother, and even though we’re both adults (despite my protests to the contrary), we totally fall into the same patterns that Claire and Mitch do. I don’t snuggle with my dad mind you, and my brother has been buying his own big boy pants for many years now, but you get what I’m saying.
Jay and Phil had a typical Jay and Phil encounter, but with a twist. When Jay hurt his back and Phil offered to massage him, I figured we’d be in for a ‘Phil is an idiot who can’t do anything right’ gag. But then Phil turned out to be like a massage savant who actually knew what he was doing. He even had the burning sage and cropped yoga pants to prove it. Then there was another fake-out where Jay, in the throes of ecstasy, told Phil that he loved him and Phil, clearly flabbergasted, had to leave the room and compose himself. But, no! While Jay was having an attack of verbal diarrhea, Phil was busy checking his texts from two guys who left his real estate office to start their own business, and they wanted Phil to join them as a partner. While he missed his big breakthrough with his father in law on the massage table, there was an even better moment to be had when he went to Jay for advice about what to do and Jay told him that he was worth betting on, which is just a secret way for Jay to tell him he loved him anyway. Awww.
Meanwhile, Cam was tasked with taking Hailey and Alex with him to go pick up a truck belonging to Jay’s company to help them transport all of the donations for the neighbors whose house had burned down. Nobody had any confidence that Cam could accomplish this, which he took to mean that they had no confidence that a gay man could drive a big truck. Turns out, it was just that nobody thought that Cam specifically could handle it because he’s a huge drama queen who panics easily. And they were right, because he did. I totally felt for Cam you guys, because while I’m a very confident driver, my weak spot is when I’m trying to do navigate a difficult maneuver and people are waiting for me so they can move. I totally turn into Cam when the pressure is on, and I would have been screaming too. Probably a little crying, if I’m being honest. Lady drivers, amirite?
For me, the best part of this storyline was Hailey and Alex. They are increasingly becoming two of my favorite characters on the show – I love that one minute they work together towards a common goal (like getting out of charity work because…BORING), and the next they’re at each other’s throats. It’s a pretty realistic sibling relationship, and they are really funny together. Alex got a chance to shine and impress the shit out of Hailey when they saw a pack of nerd-bullies (they can be both!) trying to steal the helicopter that Manny and Luke stole from the fire kid, and Alex used her status as Queen of the Nerds to get them to hand it over. Hailey, needless to say, was in awe of the fact that her little sister was basically her, but smart.
As much as I loved Alex’s big moment in the sun, sleep-clowning Cam was by far the highlight for me, even though it had the least screen time. It was hilarious on tv, but if I was married to someone who did that in real life, I would be dead already, because the terror of waking up next to a clown would kill me. I am a child of the 80’s, and therefore saw Stephen King’s It at the exact right age to instill a healthy, lifelong fear of those evil, smiling nightmare machines.
Now, a few random thoughts and my favorite quotes from the episode:
- There was some top-notch planning that went into that wireless printer joke – they even had a shot from when they were in Wyoming! Nicely done.
- Was anyone else surprised by the description of where everyone lived in relation to the house that burned down at the beginning of the episode? They drive to each other’s places a LOT for people who apparently live within spitting distance of each other.
- I tried, you guys. I scoured the Internet for a gif of Gloria imitating the Tube Dude, and I came up empty. Perhaps @hockeybychoice will be able to find one for her weekly gif roundup? If there was a scene MADE for gif-dom, that was it.
- Okay, fine. I’m Wonder Woman.
- When your house burns down, you get one of these. No, don’t burn the house down.
- That question? It…was like…a hate crime. (After Alex and Hailey asked Cam if he was sure he could get the truck out of the parking spot)
- ‘You’re older.’ ‘Oh, so that’s where we’re going to chime in?’
- ‘If we don’t find this helicopter, I’m walking to Canada.’ ‘Hope you like taxes.’ [C’mon Luke, why you gotta dis my country like that? Add this to the evidence piling up that Luke is a secret genius who just plays dumb to control everyone else. He is Keyser Sose.]
- I have three kids, at least one of which is going to college. Worst case scenario, they all go.
- You have your fans, I have mine. And someday your fans are going to work for my fans.
- I know you were reluctant to get that massage, but I think we can both agree it had a happy ending.
So what did you guys think of ‘After the Fire’? Could you be married to a sleep-clowner? What lines/moments did I forget to mention? How much do you fucking LOVE Stella the French bulldog (I know she wasn’t in this episode, but like I said, I’m OBSESSED). Thanks for hanging with me while Christina’s away – let’s continue things down in the comments!