Modern Family – Episode 2-3 Review

What a great episode of Modern Family! It had all the makings for a hilarious show – Phil being a tool, Jay’s values clashing with Gloria and Manny’s, and Mitchell and Cameron in a crisis. There was an earthquake, an appearance by Nathan Lane, and a lot of great lines.

All Shook Up

An earthquake struck this week, leaving everyone’s houses in a bit of a shambles. The worst situation was probably at the Dunphy’s, since Claire ended up stuck in a bathroom with a plumber and a bookshelf fell down (almost killing Luke) that Phil had long ago lied about, telling Claire he had in fact mounted it to the wall.

Phil’s solution? Leaving Claire trapped in the bathroom while he fixed the bookshelf, so he could pretend it didn’t actually fall down. And because he’s Phil, he didn’t just put the shelf back up, continue on with his lie and actually mount the thing some day when Claire was out. He actually mounted it to the wall while Claire was stuck in the bathroom. That guy never takes the easy route, does he?

I felt the worst for the plumber, who had to sit in there with Claire while she conducted a screaming match with Haley over whether Haley had studied enough to earn going to a party. (Spoiler alert: She hadn’t.) I’m not sure what I love more – that Alex is sneaky enough to only cover for her sister and her father if they give her something in return, or that Alex’s request for a reward is to be taken to the Museum of Tolerance. If I ever have a kid who is nerdy enough to want to see the Museum of Tolerance, she/he will not have to blackmail me to get there. Claire and the plumber ended up breaking out of the bathroom by themselves, but since Alex covered for Phil there wasn’t hell to pay – just a suspicious look when Phil left to take his daughter to the museum.

Stairway to Heaven, Highway to Hell

The repercussions of the earthquake over at Jay’s house were much different – Gloria took it as a sign that god was angry at Jay for bailing on church. Sweet Cheesus! First Glee, now Modern Family – what show is religion going to infiltrate next? If I wanted to watch 7th Heaven, I would! (OK that’s a lie, I did. 7th Heaven was a total guilty pleasure show for me. Especially the Ashlee Simpson years.)

Instead of going to church, Manny decided to go golfing with Jay. Apparently some offhand comment Jay made about celebrating god in nature really stuck with him. Only you can’t say anything in front of kids, because they start asking questions. Next Jay told him there was no hell, and after Manny started poking holes in his argument that bad people are kept in a walled off compound in heaven surrounded by a fiery moat, he questioned the existence of heaven as well. BIG mistake. No kid wants to consider the idea that after someone dies, that’s it. Manny started freaking out and Jay said he’d just been guessing, that it’s all a hunch. Manny responded by hyperventilating and panting “I’m skipping church based on a hunch?! You’re playing fast and loose with my soul.”

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Brunch

My favorite storyline, as usual, was Mitchell and Cameron’s. They were all decked out for their friend Pepper’s Oscar Wilde themed brunch (how adorable did Lily look?) when the quake hit. Huddled under a table, Cam screamed they were going to die and Mitch replied “Better not, if they find us in these outfits it’s going to be very bad for the gays.”

After the earthquake subsided the truth came out – neither Mitch or Cam really wanted to go to Pepper’s brunch. Mitch didn’t want to be the one always canceling though, so he had Cam do it instead. The problem here is that you NEVER go into an unscripted cancellation phone call. Your excuse has to be air tight. Or else you end up doing what Cam did, which is pile on excuse after excuse until it all sounds oh so dramatic that the person must come see how you’re doing. In this case, it was a lot of property damage and an injury to Mitch that prompted Pepper to visit. The correct way to place that cancellation call would have been to say that Lily was extremely distraught over the earthquake, wouldn’t stop crying, and they were worried about aftershocks. Best to just calm her down and put her to bed. Boom. Done. Nobody questions your excuse when you have a baby and they don’t.

Pepper came over, played fabulously by Nathan Lane, and immediately Cameron spilled the beans that they really just didn’t like his brunches all that much. Because Cam can’t lie. Because Cam is a mob wife. Mitchell explained “You’re like a mob wife. You look down on me and my ways, but you’re perfectly happy to wear the mink coat that fell off the back of the truck.”

Pepper took the news so poorly that Cam had to call in his mobster boyfriend for support. Mitch’s performance was fantastic. Not only did he humiliate Cam by telling Pepper that the reason they can’t go to the brunches is because Cam has feelings for Pepper, but he used the opportunity to smash Cam’s horrendous ceramic frog in a fake fit of rage. Well played. It was pretty cute to see Mitch gluing the frog back together afterward, though. That’s true love.

I can’t say enough about how much I laughed during this episode. It seems like people are being really hard on the show this season, which I think is because people like picking on shows in their second seasons. But I thought this was a really, really good episode with some solid jokes. Here’s some more great lines:

  • “One date. It was the nineties, we’d just lost Princess Di…I was at sea.” – Cameron, defending his one date with Pepper way back when
  • “I’m probably going to have a Latino kid carry my clubs anyway, might as well be you.” – Jay, allowing Manny to come golfing
  • “You’re never alone when you have books.” – Alex in a nutshell
  • “Oh please, where was all this conscience when I got us into the first-class lounge in the airport and you chewed Angela Lansbury’s ear off?” – Mitchell, on Cam’s mob wife ways