Season 3, Episode 8
After the Fire
When a fire burns down a neighbor’s home, the entire Dunphy-Pritchett-Tucker-Delgado clan all pitches in to help coordinate donations. This was a great excuse to bring everyone together under one roof (or truck) for the duration of the episode and led to some fun character pairings. We got Cam with his nieces, Jay with his son-in-law, Gloria with her adult (and younger!) step-children, and the cousin odd-couple of Luke and Manny.
I don’t think I laughed as consistently in this episode as some others this season, but when I did I laughed hard! I really did enjoy mixing up the family units in this episode. And I appreciated the show going a little deeper into the intricacies of the family’s complex relationship dynamics, like Phil’s relentless need to seek Jay’s love and approval, or Claire’s jealousies of Gloria. I thought the episode was weakest with the Cam/Alex/Hayley story and the Luke/Manny story until those two stories collided in an awesome bullying scene that Alex managed to stop using her feminine ways and nerd domination.
Rather than go through all the ins and outs, here are my top ten favorite moments or lines that had me laughing:
- “In my country it is considered very very bad luck when your house burns down” (Gloria) – Ha, I think that is pretty much bad luck in any country!
- Apparently Cam doesn’t have a typical reaction to Ambien. You’ve heard of sleep-walking, but have you ever heard of sleep-clowning?
- “At least something got plowed that night” (Mitch about Cam driving a huge truck to his high school prom).
- Gloria imitating the inflatable blowing tube ‘men’ you see on the street, with overwhelmed Phil having to leave the room. Even better when he comes back into the room and thinks a back-spasm Jay is trying to imitate the inflatable guy.
- Luke and Manny getting jealous of their friend—who lost all his possessions in the fire—getting awesome new toys. Plus the fact that Gloria had to make a point to tell them not to burn down their own houses to get that cool helicopter.
- Hayley and Alex’s savvy strategy to pull one over on their mom—simply launch into obnoxious sibling fighting and you will get kicked out of the house and left alone! These girls can be quite clever when it comes to out-smarting their parents, but it should also be noted that Claire is usually able to out-smart them in the end. Guess who got truck duty with Uncle Cam?!
- Alex using her feminine powers over the nerd bullies tormenting Luke and Manny…and their worship of her. “I have my fans and you have your fans. And one day your fans will be working for mine” (confident Alex to her stunned sis Hayley)
- Everything about the land called “Relaxistan.” I don’t even want to know why Phil has that many oils and aromas, not to mention a massage table, at the ready to turn his bedroom into a bona fide spa. The entire set-up was hysterical, and the little details put it over the top…such as Phil wearing a cut-off sleeveless shirt and warming the oil to the perfect 98.6 degrees using his own body heat.
- “I love you…I love THIS” (Jay, enjoying the spa a little too much and letting an ‘I love you’ slip out). “Oh my god, this is huge, Jay, I’m sorry…I need a minute” (Phil running out of the room overly emotional). But the even better part was the reveal that Phil—who totally would get overly emotional about Jay expressing that kind of fatherly love—actually bolted from the room because he got a message that his former co-workers wanted him to leave his firm and be partner at their new realty company.
- The nice heartfelt talk between patriarch Jay and son-in-law Phil about taking risks and making the leap for something great. This had the potential to be sappy or cheesy, but this show adeptly avoided that route by keeping it rather grounded and funny. Phil worried, “I have three kids and at least one of them is going to college…worst case scenario, they all go.” But in a rare instance, Jay showed true confidence in Phil’s abilities to be a father and provider, and encouraged him to bet on himself to succeed. This was probably the nicest and truest compliment that Phil could ever receive from Jay—especially because you could tell that Jay really meant it.
So, if your house was burning down and you could only save one thing—what would it be? Your iPad photos (so basically your iPad), like Phil? Your mother’s recipe book, like Cam? Or, would you make everyone else seem super petty by saying, “just my loved ones,” like Claire?