Modern Family Episode 3-23 Review – In Living Color

Luke and Manny don’t see eye to eye.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Modern Family always delivers when we get the whole family in a room together, and especially when family members who don’t usually interact get a chance to do so.

I loved last night’s episode, which saw Phil and Mitch clash as well as Claire and Cam. Top that off with some great moments from the kids and a hilarious Jay/Gloria storyline, and you’ve got yourselves an A+ episode.

Alex was using the whole family for a school art project in which she had to recreate a famous painting (‘tableau vivant’, where the episode got its name), and she was anxious to impress her handsome teacher who couldn’t remember her name. Of course, there was no way everyone could be involved without a few hiccups along the way.

Claire and Cam clashed because Cam’s new parenting theory of never saying ‘no’ to Lily was driving her crazy, as the toddler ran around the house turning all the lights on and off. Things came to a head when Claire played a prank on Cam, making him think that Lily was about to hit the garbage disposal switch while Cam was fishing a spoon out of the sink. Claire can be ‘know-it-ally’, but there is a time and a place for the word no in a toddler’s life.

Meanwhile, Phil was facing an uncomfortable situation with Mitch because he needed to fire him – Mitch had been doing a little work for Phil’s real estate company as a favor, and it wasn’t going well. What Phil didn’t know was that Mitch had intentionally turned in a few projects late because he didn’t want them to fall to in love with him. What? Who does that? The resulting miscommunications were hilarious. Phil is so nice when he breaks bad news that no one knows it happened – like a really, really awkward version of Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation. And I loved that Mitch had to face his first case of getting fired, thanks to an attitude problem and the reputation of being lazy. The fact that Mitch got trapped in the elevator for two hours after the embarrassing confrontation, well, that was the icing on the cake. (Which, incidentally, got eaten by the elevator doors.)

But I really liked where the show took Jay and Gloria this week. Gloria experienced her first feelings of jealousy after discovering that Jay had a friendly relationship with a waitress at his favorite diner. The waitress wasn’t physically threatening, she was very much a motherly type. But she knew everything about Jay’s life, they had inside jokes, etc. Any woman would be a little put off by that.

By the time everyone convened at Alex’s school for her project, everyone was fighting with someone else. Even Luke and Manny were fighting, since Manny was annoyed that Luke had received a medal for putting out a fire that the school didn’t know Luke himself had started. And Haley was trying to conceal the fact that she’d snuck home late from a rowdy party, thanks to a secret ride home from Cam.

What I loved about this episode was that none of the conflicts were earth-shattering. They weren’t things that cause real rifts in families, so they could be introduced and resolved within the episode. Sure, Mitch it still smarting from getting fired – but he sucks it up, returns his parking pass and eats a sandwich. Because what are you going to do, mope about it? The whole family gathered at the diner to eat the sandwich named after Jay because that’s what families do.

I found this episode hilarious, and there were so many laugh-out-loud moments for me what I won’t even be able to list them all. What did you guys think?

  • Phil rehearsing his firing speech as Haley tries to sneak in, and her passing it off as just coming downstairs to model an outfit? Perfectly played.
  • “They named you after a sandwich?!” – Gloria (That sandwich sounded disgusting.)
  • Luke felt inspired for his future career when he was honored for putting out the fire: “Maybe that’s what I should be when I grow up—a professional medal-getter!”
  • “This spoon is modern-day, so if we use it everyone will have to react in horror to the spoon from the future.” – Alex
  • “Please, she’s a gym teacher. She is to teaching what Dr. Seuss is to medicine.” – Alex
  • “Try the hooves, they’re the best part!”
  • Phil once tried to break up with a girl, but he was too nice and she didn’t know it had happened. “Twenty years later, and we’re still married.”