S02E20 An obvious problem of a successful ensemble show is that certain characters and relationships rise to the top and break out, while others loiter around the background popping up occasionally to insert a funny remark (or just to remind the rest of the audience that do exist). With Modern Family, we’ve been beaten over the head with Cam and Mitchell working things out, Jay and Gloria still getting to know each other’s customs, and Claire and her daughters. Those are all really strong relationships and deserving of our attention. But it was actually really refreshing to see what was on display this week with Modern Family. We delved into relationships that have been long developing on the show but saw them finally get their time in the spot light.
“Wait, I think I hear a message coming in from Future-Lily from her stripper pole: ‘Thanks Gay Dad-Dads. This dance is for you.’” - Cam
We’ll start with relationships that we’ve seen more of before, and then we'll get to the newer ones. Jay’s bond with Manny has been well documented, but this week we’re seeing a slightly more mature relationship between the two of them. Manny is trying to back out of a camping trip for fear of a shower situation. Of course, he wasn’t able to admit to this to Jay until afterward but Jay nevertheless tried to toughen him up. As Cam comes to see later, underneath Jay’s tough exterior is a really caring and understanding father figure that Manny obviously needs. It was a touching storyline without beating us too over the head with the whole “tough love” ideology.
This was paired well with Cam and Mitch’s storyline of searching a guardian for Lily if god forbid (God forbid?) something were to happen to them. Claire and Phil were out for the obvious reasons (best use of a smash cut to chaos we’ve seen in a while) which left Jay and Gloria. Cam was a little hesitant at first. Actually Cam never does anything in a little manner, he was seriously not about to let Jay take guard over his daughter if he and Mitch both died. Despite all of Mitch’s whining about his father, Mitch realized his dad was a good dad and was doing well with Manny too. Unfortunately Cam saw this love at the wrong time when Jay was spotting Manny on the climbing wall. Cam tried to show Jay the true way to encourage a kid by showing them understanding and kindness. (Cam falling off the wall is one of the best visual gags the show has ever done. )
Cam and Mitch fall on Jay and Gloria after Gloria’s baby craziness takes over and she whisks Lily off to take her to the mall. She doesn’t seem to get that she only gets Lily should something happen to both Cam and Mitchell but that doesn’t stop her from doting on her. I know this will never happen, but it would be delightfully twisted if Gloria snapped and tried to do something to Cam and Mitchell. Actually it’d be quite scary. I’d never want to piss Gloria off. Anyway, Gloria does misstep when she pierces Lily’s ears. Cam and Mitchell freak out about their daughter being “punctured” but they never miss an opportunity to dress their little zen-daughter up as Coco Banana.
“She’s like the best doctor ever. A couple of puzzles, no shots, and I didn’t even have to take my pants off. Found that one out a little late.” - Luke
Now we get to the good stuff. The Dunphy household is an example of chaos as we plainly see when Cam and Mitch dropped by, but they make it work. As I’ve said countless times, Luke is one of the best characters on the show despite being relegated to the back seat most of the time. This week he was bumped up slightly when Claire and Phil get into it over his development. Claire has been taking him to see a child psychologist behind Phil’s back because she’s worried he’ll develop the lesser qualities of Phil while Phil, more rightly, thinks the kid is fine. This leads to a tense moment when Claire confesses this to Phil and Phil rightly is pissed off. But love saves the day (as love is wont to do) when Phil shows some remarkably mature reasoning behind his assessment of Luke. Claire just wanted to try and tweak him just a little while she still has the chance and Phil assures her that somewhere out there is a little girl organizing the shit out of her play pen that will match up perfectly with Luke. Of course, then they realize they left Luke in the parking garage at the doctor’s.
But Luke shows up in the back of a limo with a couple consummating their honeymoon. Because Luke is a pimp like that. Claire realizing she’s kind of a shrew, Phil coming out on top (with several great distractions at the psychologist), and more of Luke sprinkled throughout? I loved this storyline like Luke like some bright dangling streamers stuck in a tree.
Finally, we get into the one relationship that prior to all this, had existed in biting sarcastic remarks. We’ve seen Alex and Haley bond over boys before, but nothing brings siblings together more than getting into trouble together. Alex goes with Haley to break into the school and they run through the halls scared. They make it out to the car when Haley finally confesses that she skipped her cello lessons that day and being perfect is kind of wearing her down. Haley also confesses that if Alex stopped looking so good it would stop making her look so bad in comparison. It was sweet seeing the sisters come closer together because this is a show on Disney and while I do love their verbal daggers, it’s nice to see siblings bond once in a while. Not to mention it was some stellar acting from the two young actresses. Bravo indeed.
So we didn’t get a big final moment where everyone came together this week, but we did go deeper into some relationships we needed to go into and most of all it was hilarious while we did it. I’ve had my doubts about Modern Family keeping in top form this sophomore season but lately they’ve reminded me why they won that Emmy last year. Keep it up.