‘Modern Family’ Recap: Chirp

S02E07 Modern Family is a sweet show. At its very worst it will still deliver a few solid laughs, and at its best it adds warmth and sincerity on top of all the laughs. This week’s episode wasn’t one of the best, but it still brought the funny and was better than most shows on television.

Let’s start out with the weakest story of the episode. Once again we find Gloria making Jay do something he finds ridiculous and Jay has to turn to Manny for help. This time, apparently Gloria likes to celebrate every little anniversary possible and Jay is scrambling to remember what they’re celebrating and where they celebrate it. However, Manny is upset because Jay fired his friend on the loading docks. What worked about this episode is we got a sweet little moment when Jay admits that he thinks of Manny as “his kid” and Manny tells Jay what he needs to know. What didn’t work was the basic premise. How long can the writers keep Gloria having some strange tradition and Jay struggling to make her happy and Manny swooping in to save the day? If it weren’t for Manny (he usually saves the story with his one liners and asides) I’d be very worried about them. Well, him and Sofia Vergara’s dresses. Those keep me interested every week.

Manny’s awesome moments of the week were pretty strong. He attempted to have Mitchell act as his friend’s representation in a wrongful termination suit. When Mitchell obviously doesn’t take the case he gives Jay the silent treatment, which Jay easily breaks with a knock-knock joke. Very funny stuff.

Then we get Cam trying to turn Lily into a child star by having her appear in a commercial. Just as Gloria tries to get Jay to do something, Cam wants Lily to do something that Mitchell doesn’t agree with. Again, not sure how long the writers can keep this dynamic up but like Manny, Cam can usually save the story from being too repetitive. Cam goes behind Mitchell’s back and gets Lily to appear in a local commercial. Cam has Stage-Mom written all over him and of course he starts to act like one on set. Mitchell is reluctant, of course, and turns out, for a good reason because the commercial is slightly (nay, very) racist and the only reason Lily appears in it is because she’s Asian.

Again, Cam has some great moments that save it. He tries to eat prop grapes and is shocked when they let Mitchell on set (which is just a warehouse behind a mattress store). Then Cam gets his chance to make a big speech, but then has to eat his shoe which is the exact same joke they do in the pilot when Mitchell makes a big deal on an airplane after a simple misunderstanding. So the writers reused a premise for a joke a season and a half later. If it shows up at the end of season three, I think I’ll forgive them. Plus it let Cam pick up the wrong child and everyone knows Asian stereotype jokes are always hilarious.

Then we get to the gem of the episode: the Dunphy story. This week had them in a very nuanced and layered plot that played on several dynamics of the show that had been building this entire season. Basically it was really funny. Claire and Haley are both sick so they spend some quality time together recuperating. Phil attempts to take care of everything around the house, especially find the smoke alarm with the low battery, and in the process begins to feel emasculated. Luke, not wanting to spoil his trip to Disney Land in two days, goes germaphobe and wears protective headgear while helping his dad. Claire, noticing how serious Haley is getting with Dylan (yay the return of Dylan!), tries to explain to her in very vague terms relating to the soap opera they’re watching that things are going to fast and she should slow down before she makes a regretful mistake. Haley thinks Claire is talking about her own marriage and takes it upon herself to “fix” it. Everything intertwines with everything and creates this perfect little story.

And oh the funny bits, where to start? Luke wins for his costume and trying to eat a cookie through the glass. Phil also wins for gradually getting more and more feminine, which Luke painfully (albeit hilariously) points out that his apron sags where the boobies should go. Luke’s got a sharp eye. One thing I didn’t notice on the first go around was that Phil reacting to the chirps is a lot like a mother bird hearing her baby birds’ chirping. This might have been obvious to some of you, but I felt like a scholar when I realized it. And Phil wasn’t helping himself feel manly when he grabbed his baton to beat the smoke alarms.

Haley and Dylan also got in some serious laughs this week. Their refusal to hang up on each other was clichéd but they handled it well. And apparently, Dylan has been having some very odd dreams about Haley and Claire together, but lets be rational here, Julie Bowen and Sarah Hyland are very attractive and those types of dreams would be fairly justifiable. But why would Dylan admit that to Haley? Why wouldn’t he? Absolutely hilarious. And that shirt Haley was wearing at the end of the episode? With that and the costumes she wore last week, the writers seem to be enjoying themselves (and yes, I checked, she’s legal) and who could blame them?

And now for some random theories. Where was Alex this episode? She was noticeably absent which sucked. She’s usually good for two or three great one liners a week, hopefully we’ll get more of her in a future episode.

Now last week or two weeks ago, my girlfriend and her roommate brought up a theory that Claire seemed pregnant. At the time, I thought that was kind of crazy, but after this week I think it’s a possibility. It would be a very subtle build up if the writers are doing this and it could very well be a wild guess (if it does turn out that pregnancy is not the case then I’m blaming the girlfriend, if she is pregnant it was all my idea and I totally called it) but I could see it happening. They swear up and down that she looks pregnant and I guess girls have an eye for stuff like that but I don’t really see it. But it does make sense when Claire said she was craving pizza and was sick in the morning. Again, this could be hogwash but if it does turn out to be true I just wanted to get it on the record that I totally called it.