Season 3, Episode 16
Tonight’s Modern Family started with little lies, but the big reveal of the evening entered “Virgin Territory.” Each story brought its own laughs, but certainly the highlight of the episode was Phil learning that his baby doll Hayley was perhaps a “broken doll.” But Haley wasn’t the only one with an exposed secret…
Dolls grow up
When Phil takes his daughters and niece to the mall, mainly so Lily’s “My Sweet Companion” doll could be seen by an “expert doctor” for her booboo, things quickly take a turn for the worse—in Phil’s mind. Some backseat bickering among his daughters leads Phil to crack that an intervention from Judge Cinnabon is needed at the Food Court. When Hayley expresses her disgust at the thought of a food court, Phil says that her “aversion” won’t stop them. Too bad for Hayley that Alex thinks Phil said “a virgin” and laughs. Phil is now consumed with the horror that his little girl might not be so innocent anymore. By the time Lily’s doll Beatrice is seen by the doll doctor, the double meaning of the conversation is at epic proportions: “I like her the way she was, she was such a sweet little doll,” sighs Phil; “She’s just changed a little, it happens,” explains Hayley. Phil has always tried to be the cool dad—he tries to practice peer-enting on a regular basis—so it is especially funny to watch Phil internally struggle over how to stay chill while at the same time come to grips that his oldest is almost 18 and growing up. It is a rare occasion for Phil to take the less awkward road, but he manages to do so in this instance by implying that he trusts his daughter—in the selection of a food court table. And then he breaks down hugging Alex when she actually wants to buy a (look-alike Alex) doll. Maybe he can cling to Alex for a few more years.
Manny and Luke have always been their own little comedy duo, much like the Dunphy sisters. Opposites bring out the best yin and yang qualities. But Manny and Luke have truly evolved into partners in crime, when they have a reason to team up, that is. Tonight that reason is Lily. Little Lily is quickly becoming the cute little star of family gatherings, so where does that leave the boys? They are clearly suffering from Stephanie Tanner Syndrome with a bad case of the “you got it dudes.” The boys first try an elaborate—and quite impressive—booby-trap to get Lily to spill milk. They know a mess will not go over well in Claire’s household. When Cam takes the bait instead, causing injury to himself and Lily’s doll, the boys talk things over while washing Cam’s car. But Luke decides a little joy ride is in order so that Manny can scope out the hottie at a lemonade stand down the street. There are few things funnier than watching pint-sized Manny slowly…very slowly…cruise by the girl’s house big pimpin’ style. What was even more rewarding from this storyline was that the show did NOT go the stereotypical route of having the boys crash the car. Instead, they made it home with no scratches, and the boys discovered that they don’t need to be cute like Lily when they can be bad boys.
Mitchell feels the need to expose a “little” secret to the family—but the secret is not so little to Jay. It turns our that years ago when Jay, or “Ace” as he makes his golf buddies call him, thought he made a hole in one, Mitchell actually kicked it into the hole for his dad. Jay heads to the club to confess, but he decides not to because his friends all lie about things too. Unfortunately, Mitchell arrives to take the fall, which only makes both of them fall flat on their face.
Claire has her own little web of lies—and secrets. Not only did she learn about Hayley’s loss of virginity to Dylan months before her husband, but she is hiding some of Cam’s Tupperware and hitting up the local firing rage to blow off steam. Cam is onto Claire and resents that everyone in the family thinks that he is crazy since Claire claims to have returned it. I think there is an Everybody Loves Raymond episode involving a missing canister that follows this exact same plot line between Debra and her nosy mother-in-law Marie. Cam even fakes his injury just to get alone time in the Dunphy house to snoop. His aggressive search leads him to genuinely fall, but not without finding a coveted piece of plastic: “This had a lid.” Meanwhile, Claire is occupied and out of the house for some zen time. Yoga? That’s just what she wants you to think. So when Gloria wants to tag along, Claire immediately objects. Gloria eventually tracks Claire down at her real “yoga”—shooting guns at a firing range. Gloria isn’t pissed for the reason you may think…she just believes Claire should have a better shot given all the practice.
A few great lines:
- “This ends today” (the boys are determined to reclaim the family cute throne)
- “Partly McCloudy or whatever his name was” (what was that weatherman’s name?)
- “Asian metabolism” (Manny about Lily’s cookie trap)
- “There are blind models? That’s so sad, they can’t see how pretty they are” (Gloria)
- “I never got dolls, does that make me weird?” (Alex); “It’s on the list” (Hayley)
- “If it can save your mom’s turkey, it can save anything” (Cam pretending to need an ice pack)
I definitely have to give the MVP award to the Dunphys tonight, which seems to be the trend this season. I loved the callback to Claire needing songs to help her operate technology in the house. And Phil continues to be both amazingly cool and un-cool at the same time, even in the closing moments as he laments that Dylan told Claire and not him after taking their daughter’s virginity—Phil and Dylan used to be so close.