Season 3, Episode 17
Modern Family celebrated Leap Day tonight, and this family doesn’t mess around. Not only do the Dunphys take this event as a serious excuse to have some fun, but it is actually Cam’s big birthday! I will admit that the first half of the episode dragged a bit for me and I didn’t have as many laughs, but we were treated to some excellent comedic payoff in the last portion.
Take a Flying Leap
Phil declares that it is “Leap Day, not Sleep Day.” Apparently, in the Dunphy household, a Leap Day is a chance to do something fun and spontaneous on this extra day every four years. Even Claire feels like she can cut loose, and the family plus Manny prepares to head out on a trapeze outing. That is, until the female Dunphys begin to show signs that it is that time of the month [this is the part of the episode that seemed excessively stereotypical to me]. As Phil recognizes, their cycles have aligned and this year they are all at their worst moods on this most special day. What is Phil to do so that he and the boys can still have an enjoyable outing? Concoct a plan of course. But when strategic chats only imprison Luke with the women, Phil has to up Operation Free Luke to the next level. In a classic Luke moment, he takes the “Halloween fake blood” a tad too far and looks like a stabbing victim. Luke eventually breaks and tells his mother and sisters why they are trying to escape: “Because you’re monsterating.” Yeeeaaah that didn’t go over too well, but it was certainly funny! I have to give major props to Luke for crying out “Daaaaaaad” as the women-folk tried to drag him into their den of horrors (i.e. sad animal commercials with Sarah McLachlan music).
Gloria and Jay spend the extra day at a sports bar so that Gloria can cheer on her Colombian “futbol.” Being the hot-blooded woman that she is, she gets into a spirited argument with the opposing Dutch team’s fan base, or as Gloria claims: “NEVERlands.” Jay diffuses the situation, which gets Gloria thinking about how he doesn’t defend her in an overtly masculine way. I have to say, I was pretty bored by this storyline…not only because it didn’t offer many laughs, but because this is not something particularly new—has she really not figured this out by now? And of course she ultimately realized that she didn’t want Jay to be that kind of guy because that type of guy was her ex-husband—and Jay is a better man than that. Again, this storyline only heated up at the very end when a confrontation at Cameron’s failed birthday boating bash resulted in Gloria slapping the ship’s captain for calling Jay “Grandpa.” Luke killed me with his confusion: “I call him that.”
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Leap Day is Cam’s birthday, and it’s a biggie…10! Well, 40. Cam is the type of person who expects a lavish celebration for seemingly minor things, so being a Leap Day baby who only gets to celebrate a true birthday every fourth year really comes with high expectations. That means Mitch better deliver an amazing party. Mitchell is actually feeling quite impressed with his planning skills this time around, since he hired actors and props to re-create their house into The Wizard of Oz, Cam’s favorite movie. Disaster strikes in the form of a tornado, though, when Mitch realizes that Cam is still reeling from the impact of an actual tornado that hit his family’s farm in Missouri earlier this year. Mitch does a hilarious job of keeping Cam’s attention diverted from the Yellow Brick Road, and then immediately gets to work on planning a new party. A fancy dinner boat cruise sounds like an excellent idea, and Cam is initially impressed. But things go quickly downhill when the boat cannot accommodate the number of people in their party and when Cam learns that Mitchell planned the whole thing in a few hours. Once Mitch realizes the underlying reason for Cam’s irritation—being over the hill—the solution is simple: to the amusement park to celebrate being 10!
The final moments on the Santa Monica Pier attractions were some of the episode’s best. I loved Claire and the girls taking all their rage out on the whack-a-mole, and Phil asking how much it would be to rent it once a month. And I really enjoyed a mother and her little boy over-hearing Mitch’s “innocent” comment to his Leap Year hubby, “That sexy little eight year old I fell in love with.”
What did you do for Leap Day this year, other than watch Modern Family?