S02E10 'Dance Dance Revelation' was a great episode of Modern Family that had many rewarding moments of humor and heartwarming sentimentality. That’s really swell, but everything that made the episode kick ass can be summed up in one word:
DANNY MOTHER FUCKING TREJO!
Granted, I know this is “technically” five words, but do you think Danny Trejo cares about counting? That beast of a man spent time in prison! And not like pussy prison where you go after insider trading, he did hard time. He didn’t just beat his addiction to heroin he beat the bloody fucking mess out of it. Heroin later apologized to him for even thinking of trying to get him addicted to anything other than ass kicking. Now, heroin is addicted to Danny Trejo. One time while dining at a fancy restaurant (you better believe he has a touch of class), he ordered a crepe and when they brought it out to him he took a look at it and it turned into a quesadilla. True story, this somehow started the French Revolution.
Wait. They had Danny Trejo as a janitor? Ok, I can dig that. Was he like a secret badass janitor at Manny and Luke’s school that would scare bullies with a machete he keeps in the broom closet where he keeps the skulls of all the other problem children? He didn’t? He didn’t actually do anything cool in the episode? Man, what a waste. And in all honesty, what a waste of an episode. We were missing not one, but two of the kids, Claire was being a total bitch that couldn’t redeem herself and a total waste of Danny Trejo. But Gloria did say the word "boobies" so that eased the pain just a little bit.
First up the C story: Cam and Mitchell worry about Lily teething after another kid in the park accuses her of biting her. Not the funniest situation this couple has been in, but it was refreshing to not see Mitchell upset at something Cam did and it was actually welcoming to see them band together in the face of a straight couple accusing a gay couple of bad parenting (in their minds, at least). That and their accusations to the other for Lily’s biting (Mitch says Cam pretends to bite her too much, Cam says Mitch uses his teeth as a Swiss army knife) were the highlights of an otherwise bland story line.
The B story found Phil and Jay taking Manny and Luke to the mall to pick out their outfits for the dance. While this is a recipe for awesome (my three favorite characters together plus Jay acting like a curmudgeon, which in itself is be great) it again fell flat. We know Phil desperately wants to impress Jay but the dichotomy of their viewpoints on how to handle conflicts was obvious and not funny. Of course Jay would try to pick a fight and have to put his foot in his mouth. Of course Phil would try to be confrontational about something and then get caught. And then of course they would have their moment together when they realize that moderation on both viewpoints is the key. Of course they did.
And this didn’t even give Manny and Luke (who together are an unstoppable force of awesome. I still laugh thinking about the end of last season when Manny explorers his and Luke’s room in Hawaii and exclaims “Oh sweet! We have an iron!”) any great lines. It was fun seeing Luke try to steal Manny’s swagger by wearing all teal, but there just wasn’t enough. Kind of like how their wasn’t ANY of Alex or Haley which was a huge disappointment.
But there were a few solid jokes in this storyline (I will give Modern Family this credit, no matter how bad an episode is the writers and producers still manage to have enough quality laughs to make it worth watching each week). My favorites were the early three-way call looking for a teal pocket square for Manny and Cam saying 'of course he has a teal pocket square'. It was a great moment, and I understand why they set the joke up the way they did by calling Claire first, but realistically wouldn’t Jay have called Mitch and Cam first? What made Jay think Phil and Luke would have a specific color pocket square? Did he not want to offend Mitch by calling them first? Eh, either way, minor point. The other good joke from this story was the flashback to Phil trying to get Jay to say the correct pronunciation of Dunphy. It’s a joke that has been done a million times before (say the first half of the word - he says it correctly, now say the second half of the word - he says it correctly, now put them together - he mispronounces the word), but Ty Burrell’s reactions made it hilarious. And Nolan Gould is slowly becoming a master at physical comedy with his too-small suit (perfectly punctuated with Phil calling him Hulk). If he can keep up his natural gift, this kid will be around for a long time.
And then there was Claire and Gloria.
Now, I really want to like Claire. I really do. But she was a total bitch in this episode. True, at the end she realized it, but this was just so petty and mean (though funny at times) that it did not work for me. And as I mentioned before, a total waste of Danny Trejo.
So Claire’s “thing” is apparently chairing the school dance for the middle school (even though she threw a similar hissy-fit at Halloween claiming that Halloween was her holiday/thing) but this year Gloria manipulated her way to co-chair. Of course this did not go over well with Claire and she tries to shut Gloria out at all costs. This is an incredibly slapstick and stereotypical sitcom situation (moving a table and someone tripping over it?) but was taken far enough to have Claire lock Gloria under the stage. That was funny and pretty much the only thing that made it worth including.
Then they have a little tear fest in the bathroom when they both confess they wanted what the other has. Gloria wanted to help and be taken seriously as a mother (as opposed to a husband stealer) and Claire wanted to be seen as sexy. It was all obvious and overly sweet, but it had to happen.
I will give the story this, having Claire pull out the tissues from her bra? That was an unexpected twist and pretty brilliant, but alas too little too late. Kinda like Gloria’s dress. HEYO! And again, it was fun to hear Gloria say “boobies” and actually recognize that she wears the type of dresses that she does. They couldn’t keep going without mentioning it and I’m glad they finally got it out of the way.
The tag at the end pretty much sums up the whole episode. The guy who Phil sprayed with the cologne was (of course) one of Cam and Mitchell’s friends. Kind of funny but also kind of obvious.