I missed my Modern Family these past few weeks, but tonight only one branch of the family really came back in full force. In this episode, “The Musical Man,” the Dunphy clan took center stage in a zany mix-up that accidentally positioned Claire and Hayley as prostitutes, ahem, escorts. The other families had promising premises but didn’t fully shine—much like Cam’s middle school musical directorial debut.
The Dunphys have been on fire this season, and tonight they were on the family van. One of the best things about this group of actors is that you really can’t go wrong with mixing and matching pairings—any parent-parent, child-child, or child-parent combo is hilarious because they all play well off of each other. Phil has the bright idea to use his own family for an ad campaign for his realty business. He even decides to have the ad wrapped on the family minivan. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us and every pervert in L.A., the strategic positioning of the ad wrap showcases Claire on one side saying “I can’t be satisfied”; underage Hayley on the other side saying “I’ll make your dreams come true” and of course Phil’s phone number.
While it took a leap of faith to believe that Claire was too frazzled over Hayley’s non-college future to even look at the giant wrap covering her van, it led to brilliant comedy. When Claire and Alex head out to get food before the middle school musical performance, every guy in the vicinity pulls up to honk and shout to an oblivious mother and daughter. Meanwhile, Phil is equally oblivious as he fields phone calls from guys looking for “the little one” or “an older model with a lot of character” asking if the “carpet matches the drapes.” Despite Phil’s best efforts to shield his wife and daughter from the shocking truth, they eventually notice the wrap and storm off. Claire’s anger is only tempered when she learns that the majority of the guys who called Phil were interested in her over her hot young daughter!
Over at the Pritchett house, Jay and Gloria anticipate a visit from Jay’s brother, Donny. We knew from last season’s Hawaii episode that Jay and Donny’s relationship consists of pranks, fights and insults. Gloria doesn’t understand how Jay cannot have real conversations with his own brother, while Jay maintains that this is just how their relationship works. In a completely predictable plot device, we learn that all is not well with Donny. Jay finds out his brother has prostate cancer—and the reason he didn’t tell Jay was because he doesn’t want Jay to stop treating him like an ass. Turns out the ‘being an ass’ type of a relationship is best for these two in the end—pun intended.
The event that brought the entire Modern Family together tonight was the middle school musical production that featured Manny and Luke, directed by none other than Cam. I was really excited for this storyline when my DVR offered it as the synopsis of the episode, but I ended up feeling a little like poor Luke: hoisted up with high hopes, and then left hanging. Of course there were some shining moments, particularly Mitchell running outside in the middle of the performance to shout out his criticisms into thin air before composing himself, but overall I didn’t laugh as much as I should have. Manny and Luke do continue to be a fabulous little duo as their very own odd couple—the former with his sophisticated ways and the latter with his childish goofy humor.
Of course there were hilarious one-liners across all the storylines, even the two weaker ones:
- Hayley’s SAT scores…They’re not bad…They’re not good…They’re average! (And that is more than Claire and Phil could have ever hoped for; and it is too good for Alex’s taste).
- “We took the scenic route but we ended up in the same place” (Alex, my personal fav, regarding Hayley’s ambition—or lack thereof).
- When Mitch throws a wet blanket on Cam’s dreams… “All I get are wet dreams…I heard it as soon as I said it!”
- “Do you know what you’re looking for?…The little one?…I also have an older model with a lot of character…I think the carpet matches the drapes, I haven’t checked in a while…Both of them?!…Well I guess that makes sense if you’re planning to flip one” (Just some of Phil’s responses while unknowingly pimping out his wife and daughter….NOT houses as he assumes).
- “Ruben hasn’t had a bowel movement in a week” (Manny telling Mitch that Cam is too harsh a director for the middle schoolers).
- “Years from now these kids will still be talking about how I Sondheim-ized them” (Cam’s unfortunate made-up word choice).
- “We love the F word!”…not QUITE what the kids’ sign was supposed to read.
- “I’ll go home with anyone!” (Hayley not wanting to ride in the van…but an ironic choice of words given her escort-like photo on the side of it).
What did you think of the three storylines? Did you agree that the Dunphys are riding a hilarious streak this season?