Season 3, Episode 10
Santa has elves…You have Modern Family. Seriously, could this episode have been a better commercial for Target? Talk about quality advertising during holiday shopping season! Tonight our modern families realized that their different travel schedules meant that they would not get to spend actual Christmas all together. They are so busy, in fact, that today is the last day they could all have a nice family celebration before their vacations all kicked in. There were decorations to find, gifts to wrap, a tree to buy, food to cook, and shopping to finish—all in just a few hours. Never fear because Phil declared operation Express Christmas!
I think what I liked most about this Christmas-themed episode was that every family member got a chance to shine. By pairing everyone off, we got to witness some great interactions one-on-one style.
Deck the Halls
Gloria and Luke are put in charge of finding the special tree angel in the attic, which is considered a necessary item by Claire and Mitchell because their mother made it for them when they were little. Gloria refused to go in the attic alone due to the spider situation (and I don’t blame her). By far the true highlight of this pair’s task was Gloria’s pronunciation problems in saying “Luke” vs. “Look.” This not only caused a comedy of errors in the attic, but also as they were driving later and ran over some…stuff…in the road: “Never look back. Never” (Gloria’s sinister reaction to running over an unknown object—the family’s Christmas tree). I guess they did look back when the angel flew out of the sunroof, because they later tried to salvage it with gum.
Jay-and-Cam—sounds like a bird doesn’t it—have to finish wrapping presents. This was the perfect activity to have these two do together, and by perfect I mean worst. Cam is the kind of person who has a mobile wrapping station chock full of different tapes and ribbons. Jay is the kind of person who despises the very sight of one. When Cam tries to present Jay with a wine cork that supposedly represents an important moment in their relationship, Jay tells him to “Put a cork in it.” It was pretty much like watching the Grinch wrap gifts with Santa, or Mrs. Claus.
O Christmas Tree
Mitch and left-behind Alex (who had to learn about Express Christmas via text message from her mom) are in charge of finding the perfect tree. And who better to be OCD in selecting this most important of items than perfectionists Mitch and Alex. These two really should go shopping together more—if only they liked shopping. I loved Alex standing up for her uncle and the gays when she thought the tree salesman was stereotyping him by pointing out a pink tree. The tree salesman was actually pointing to the fresh batch of trees behind the pink tree, but that led to a wonderfully awkward departure and their tree flying off the roof of their car—only to get hit by Gloria. But the line-stealer in this scene was young Lily, who (finally!) had something to say: “I have two daddies.”
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
Phil got paired with butterball…errr…Manny. Poor Manny was completely paranoid about being kidnapped or lost ever since learning that his family vacation to Mexico could result in him never returning home. Luke egged his cousin on with worries, and Gloria did little to help assuage her son by telling him that children get kidnapped in the U.S. too! So, when Phil and Manny set out to retrieve all the fixin’s for their feast, Manny freaked out when Phil met up with a guy from Craigslist to buy a vintage baseball card for Jay. Unfortunately for Jay, Manny is armed and dangerous—with the stun gun Gloria keeps for emergencies. When Phil agreed to let the man take their Butterball (turkey), Manny thought he was the butterball about to get snatched. Phil winds up losing his motor skills, his turkey and his vintage baseball card.
All I Want For Christmas
Hayley is forced to join her mother on an aggressive shopping trip to Target to get all the last minute gifts. As Claire points out, this is the perfect assignment for her daughter. Hayley accepts her mission and follows her calling in life to be the best shopper. She takes her job very seriously—and hilariously—when a guy takes the last ladybug nightlight that they needed for Lily. Her thwarted attempt to unbutton her shirt and then her successful impersonation of a Target employee get the job done and prove that Hayley could one day aspire to be the Target lady in the ads who trains for the Black Friday sale. Actually, that woman totally reminds me of Claire! Like mother, like daughter.
Let It Snow
The entire family reassembles at the Dunphy house for the celebration of Express Christmas. But, thanks to some of the challenges encountered by the various groups, tempers and frustrations flare rather quickly. Jay suggests they bag it and instead go out for a traditional Jewish Christmas dinner—Chinese food! And that’s when Jay the Grinch surprises them all by having fake snow outside. My big complaint is that most of them arrived at the house only minutes earlier, so how on earth would they have ‘missed’ all that fake snow when they got there? But that is missing the spirit of this moment: Everyone frolics and appreciates this special day—December 16.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.