This Mothers’ Day, Modern Family celebrated its moms by having them go take a hike. But they took an actual hike in the canyons—far enough not to see the car in the parking lot—with their whining, arguing kids. This pretty much sounds like a snapshot from my childhood! A Mothers’ Day-themed episode was perfect for this show to tackle because it is a holiday centered on key family dynamics: parent-child relationships; husband-wife roles; and gender stereotypes. These kinds of conflicts are what Modern Family does best, and this episode did not disappoint.
Gloria and Claire decide to take their brood for a lovely hike in the great outdoors. Cue the bickering and complaining! I loved Luke and Manny’s arguments about wild animals and nature; and Hayley and Alex’s continual quest to out-insult each other. When Claire and Gloria decide enough is enough, they head off to finish the hike on their own and leave their kids on the trail to think about their behavior. This episode brought us another bonding experience for Hayley and Alex, which has been happening more and more lately. It seems that the older Alex gets, the more she and her big sister are willing to team up when their end goals align. I, for one, love when these two girls reluctantly join forces—with their powers combined they are unstoppable! They decide that they have had enough of their mom guilting and manipulating them into making ‘every day a Mothers’ Day.’ Therefore, they agree (and force Luke to agree) that none of them should give Claire the satisfaction of an apology.
Manny, on the other hand, secretly follows his mom and Claire on the hike and overhears the tail end of a hilarious ‘secret confessions of a mother’ conversation. Claire admits that sometimes she just wants to knock her kids out. When Gloria refuses to admit that Manny can drive her crazy, Claire finally coaxes some grievances out of her: “He is kind of persnickety. And his poetry is not very good. And—just be a BOY!!” Gloria’s accent on the word persnickety is worth watching this episode in and of itself. Poor Manny runs off upset, and Gloria runs after him cursing Claire and calling her, “Diablo!” While Gloria makes amends with Manny in a heartbeat by throwing herself at his feet for forgiveness, Claire does not get the apology she seeks from her children.
Over at the Pritchett-Tucker household, Mitchell attempts to honor Cameron on Mothers’ Day but things don’t go quite as planned…and Lily is stuck holding the balloons. Cam is completely offended that Mitch considers him the mother in their house. Things only get worse when they go to a weekend play date in the park and all the moms—including Cam!—are celebrated with flowers and a photo. Cam snaps—figuratively and then literally a football—when a kid innocently asks for his ball to be tossed back. Mitchell and Cameron eventually mend their feud (for the time being at least) but not until after Cam accidentally shred Gloria’s Mothers’ Day card thinking it was his.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jay and Phil get to spend some quality man time in the kitchen cooking up a special Mothers’ Day dinner. These two are a great pair, as Phil always tries too hard to impress while Jay just tries to suppress his disdain. Things take an unexpected turn when normally hardened Jay sheds a tear or two upon Phil’s discovery that Jay’s mom kept an adorable recipe poem he had written her as a child. Good thing Phil brought his onion goggles along so Jay could quickly put them on! When the family reunites for dinner, Phil lets it slip to Claire that her dad cried, and within seconds the entire family knows. Jay denies it…but he can’t deny it when he breaks down while talking about his mom at the dinner table. This is a rare moment of emotion for Jay and a great scene for Ed O’Neill. His emotional waterworks inspire the Dunphy children to apologize to their mom and give her hugs. Poor Phil only walks in at the end: “Bottle of red or bottle of…what?!”
The tempers were flaring, the emotions were rising, and the jokes were flying tonight:
- “It’s adorable!” (Claire, regarding the shirt Hayley made her years ago, with inappropriately placed handprints); “It’s perverted” (Hayley)
- Claire knows, now, that Luke’s coffee mug is actually a pencil holder.
- “They’re not real fruit loops…they’re generic” (Manny feeling the need to come clean about the quality of his necklace for Gloria after Jay tried to lessen the value of the diamond necklace he bought her).
- “OK, scratch the balloons…she is in a MOOD” (Mitchell to adorable, sweet, deadpan little Lily holding balloons)
- “Appreciate nature…soon this will be a mall” (Gloria); “I’ll come then” (Hayley)
- “We don’t love pink!” (Cam); “You love pink!” (Mitch); “No, pink loves me!” (Cam not exactly selling his argument that not every gay is like a girl).
- “It’s Mothers’ Day, not Martyrs Day” (Mitch to Cam).
- Alex pointing out that Claire’s directive for the kids to sit and think about how thoughtless they are is an oxymoron.
- “That’s a night shirt!” (Cam claiming his PJs are not dresses); “It’s kind of satiny” (Mitch)
- “Hands!!!” (Mitch to ‘macho’ Cam running after the guy he hit with the football, with his hands extended daintily).
- “It’s still burning” (Cam’s attempt to brood over a Scotch)
- “We’re your mother now”(Hayley and Alex toughening Luke up so he won’t crack under Claire’s impressive guilt tactics).
Were you moved by these Modern Family mom tales tonight? Which pairing was your favorite: Phil and Jay; Claire and Gloria; Mitchell and Cam; Hayley and Alex; Luke and Manny…or Lily and her sweet little balloons?!