It’s the last finale of the season for me, folks! And the honor goes to Modern Family’s season two closing episode, “The One That Got Away.” I actually thought last week’s graduation ceremony was stronger and funnier, but this episode was great in its own right (aren’t they all?). What gave tonight’s episode that finale vibe were a bunch of callbacks to the most memorable moments of the past season in the form of a birthday tribute to Jay. I also appreciated that the show remembered to celebrate Jay’s birthday again, since last year the penultimate episode was the big Hawaii birthday extravaganza. Perhaps every year the show will do something to commemorate the family patriarch?
While I missed quality Dunphy children time, I guess we did get a lot of them last week. So, tonight we got lots of great character pairings instead: Phil and Gloria (and baby Lily) as one big happy family; Mitchell and Claire as bratty kids; Cam and Manny as father-son (or sexual pervert and prey); and Jay and the dog. Poor Jay just wants a quiet and relaxing day by himself fishing, but that is not in the cards thanks to his family. While everyone is so focused on making Jay’s birthday special, they fail miserably and hilariously.
Phil finds himself at the shopping center with Gloria and baby Lily. Cam practically threw precious Lily at her Auntie Gloria because apparently the little one was having a meltdown earlier that Cam couldn’t deal with. I love anytime this show makes Lily out to have wild behavior like screaming fits or biting people—because looking at her serene face, big eyes and quiet demeanor make the thought of Lily being anything other than an angel completely hysterical. Lily might be the best baby actress ever—she has the perfect deadpan expression. But I digress. Phil quickly discovers that random strangers think he and Gloria are a couple with a beautiful child. Lucky for Phil, his old college male-cheerleading nemesis is at the mall too. Phil goes to great lengths to get Glenn Whipple to see him with the sexy Gloria to make him jealous, but ironically Glenn always thought that Claire was a real catch. Is Phil finally over his crush on Gloria? It seemed that way by the end when Phil is all over Claire! Watch out for that step though!
Meanwhile Claire and Mitchell try to recreate an old childhood photo as a birthday gift and dress their parts: braids with a rainbow baby-tee and a sailor uniform. When the owners of their old home are not there, Claire peer pressures younger bro Mitchell to trespass and scale the backyard fence. When a big scary dog forces them up to the tree house, they quickly regress to pouty children thanks to some booze while they wait for rescue, then they become bratty kids when father Jay has to come give them a ride home. I really enjoyed Claire and Mitch making snarky comments from the back seat while Jay scolded them for their behavior. I like when Claire and Mitch get quality sibling bonding time and seem to revert to all of their old roles and resentment issues.
Speaking of the father-child relationship, Cam got a little taste of having a son when Manny needed help impressing a girl with sports skills. Oh Manny, the only time he had ever used a baseball glove was to take a torte out of the oven (me too, Manny, me too). Apparently Cam has had some practice catching the dreamiest boys in school, because he does his best to offer Manny the girl advice he needs to woo Tara with sports. But the real highlight was Cam in line at the bakery talking to a confused Manny on the phone, telling him exactly what to tell the girl. Unfortunately for Cam, he did such a good job selling the speech that the other customers in line get him kicked out for being a pervert preying on innocent children. Jay to the rescue again—who must deal with fixing everyone’s mishaps today.
When everyone finally gathers for the big birthday dinner, Jay has a ruined cake and an awkward tribute video courtesy of the Dunphy girls’ limited footage and Luke’s magic editing skills. But the best part of this assorted video footage was that it was a great nod to some of this season’s best moments. It showed the various family members trying to record their sentiments while dealing with this season’s funniest incidents: Fizbo the clown, Clive Bixby, Halloween costumes, a pesky fire alarm, signs to “slow down your neighbor,” and a yappy dog. We even got shout outs to Luke needing chocolate milk with extra salt and a drawer full of baby “Jesus.” Ahhh memories.
A few memorable moments from tonight’s finale to add to the mix:
- “Hip Hip Hooray! Save the extra hip, you’ll need it some day” (Phil’s lame card)
- “It’s your grandfather’s birthday, we’ve gotta start taking this seriously!” (enter Mitchell in a sailor uniform)
- Lily, standing at the door, with a flower…say it with me: awwwwwwww
- “In my day your job was done by a hose” (Jay not caring for the attitude of the dog groomer after a cell phone mix-up).
- “Just give me two hours, then another hour. And chocolate milk, with extra salt.” (Luke will work his excellent editing magic)
- “Wow that’s your wife??” (an impressed Glenn); “It would appear so!” (Phil)
- Sexy phone vs. saxophone (a classic Gloria misinterpretation)
And in the end, Manny came through with a big win by having a fishing boat (somehow) in the pool. And, even bigger news—Cam and Mitch want another child—a boy! Thanks for a stellar season, Modern Family. I am looking forward to your even bigger family next season!