Modern Family Recap – Send Out the Clowns

Season 3, Episode 18
Send Out the Clowns

There was a lot of clowning around on tonight’s new episode of Modern Family, in the literal and figurative sense! This was an episode where all the family units stayed separate (not normally my favorites) but as always this show can deliver very funny moments and snappy dialogue. I wouldn’t call this episode particularly memorable, but it did offer some great moments of physical comedy and clever lines. Send in the clowns!

Clowning Around
Cam’s clown mentor, Al Buzielli (a.k.a. Professor Ringmaster), has sadly passed away. Considering that a great many people cite either death or clowns as their biggest fears in life, the opening scene of this episode was probably pretty horrific for many out there in TV land.  It certainly is an awkward funeral, made even more awkward when Cam—as Fizbo—runs into his former clown partner, Louis. Apparently Cam broke up their duo act back when he met Mitchell and became a family man. But after a tight squeeze in the tiny clichéd clown car, Cam and Louis temporarily reunite…and wreck havoc on the Tucker-Pritchett household. Despite Mitchell’s eye rolls, Cam wants to help his buddy for one last act. Too bad Louis sees the situation as rejection all over again. But this leads to one of the best physical site gags—Louis pretending to be Fizbo’s arms and attacking Cam during their performance.

  • “It’s all seltzer under the bridge” (Cam about his past with Louis)
  • Lily spitting out her drink, just like her clown-daddy
  • “We had an unspoken language. We finished each other’s balloon animals” (Cam, of course)

Play It Cool
Manny is excited to have a friend come over—a cool kid by the name of Griffin Cooper. Jay immediately wonders why this popular boy is willing to hang out with Manny, given that Manny can’t even open the door in a normal casual way. This is one of those times when Jay may come across as negative and tough, but really he is just super protective of Manny and doesn’t want to see the kid’s feelings get hurt. This was definitely one of the strongest story lines for the Pritchett-Delgado household in a while because everyone got to bring their A-game.  Jay is convinced that Griffin only wants to hang with Manny because he had seen Manny with Jay on his cool motorcycle the other day. But when Griffin arrives at the house for “an afternoon of mirth,” Gloria quickly realizes that this little dude thinks she is hot. Cue Gloria testing the waters to prove her point: would Griffin rather take a ride on the bike with Jay or go shopping with Gloria for onions at the supermarket? Onions (and Gloria!) it is! Just as Jay and Gloria are discussing how this will upset Manny, our little lad lets them in on a secret—he is only using Griffin to get close to his cute sister. So there you have it—this is an instance of friends with benefits…of sorts (not the sexual kind).

  • “But the librarian told me that one day I’d be a great catch” (Manny explaining to Jay that he did not become friends with Griffin from a day on the football field).
  • A Fonzi Schene (that’s how it’s pronounced in Jay’s house)
  • All the flashbacks to Manny opening the door for his friends.
  • Manny really “lighting it up” at the game the other day—in the mascot uniform with sparklers.

Nightmare on Elm Street
Over in the Dunphy house, Phil is at odds with Mitzi Roth—a ruthless real estate agent also known as “Nightmare on Elm Street” (she did have a lot of listings there). Phil really needs this big listing, as he repeatedly tries to get his family to “gather round.” Mitzi doesn’t play nicely, and she scoops Phil on his meeting and even makes it look like he pushed her just so he will look bad. When Luke wonders why Phil doesn’t play dirty back, Phil is inspired. Immediately you know that the infamous father-son duo will concoct a scheme to take down Mitzi. I could have done without Phil’s failed attempt to record Mitzi’s confession, which was pretty lame. The real highlight was watching Luke strategically run into Mitzi at the supermarket and give her a convincing sob speech about their family needing money. Mitzi softened just enough to give the listing to Phil. It wasn’t exactly a surprising reveal that Phil put Luke up to the task—Luke is Phil’s right-hand man and is a pro at these kinds of ‘acting’ gigs. Phil should give his son some commission for his abilities! The Dunphy women were otherwise occupied by Claire trying to friend request her daughters on Facebook. I actually really enjoyed those little moments, especially when Claire got a taste of the horrors of Facebook at the end.

  • Claire thinks Facebook is only for teens or people having affairs, but has decided to create an account: “Well if you can’t fight it…Facebook that is.”
  • Claire believing that Adele has actually accepted her “friend thingy” on Facebook, unaware of fan pages.
  • “You can’t have him!” (Phil to Mitzi after she compliments him on his son. She steals his listings, so why not his kids too?)
  • “Kids gather round” (Phil); “We’re right here!”
  • “The three stooges are all dead” (Luke’s tried and trusted method for fake tears).
  • “Tear down the wall!!” (Claire learns the horrors of tagging when Facebook friends post spring break 1990 photos of her funneling beer).

A pretty disjointed episode, with its ups and downs. But the ups were definitely amusing!

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One Response to Modern Family Recap – Send Out the Clowns

  1. Pingback: TV in Review: Modern Family, “Send Out The Clowns” « polentical

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