'Modern Family' recap: Good dads go bad

The good news about Modern Family‘s hilarious second episode is that it proved the show isn’t going to just be a one-hit wonder. The not-so-good news? I kept having to rewind my DVR to catch lines that got drowned out by the sound of my husband and me howling from our couch. MVP for this episode, which might as well have been been titled “The Sins of the Father,” was definitely Ty Burrell’s Phil, who got himself into all kinds of bizarre trouble by going against his wife’s wishes and buying a bike for his irresponsible son. It was funny (and ridiculous) enough for Phil to “steal” the unattended bike as a “lesson” to Luke, but the subsequent mishaps — Phil loses bike while helping neighborhood lust object Desiree with a household task, Phil surreptitiously buys replacement bike, Phil discovers “stolen” bike was not his son’s — took the storyline in brilliant, unexpected directions. By that climactic scene, with Phil gripping Julie Bowen’s Claire in a romantic-turning-to-painful embrace, then preposterously attempting to shield her eyes from the site of hot divorcee Desiree coming up the driveway with Bike No. 3, I was literally convulsing with laughter. I also loved the opening Phil-Claire-Desiree encounter (embedded below), from Phil’s shifty body language and nervous outbursts (“fun!” and “I’m a real-estate mogul…what?!”) to Claire’s ice-cold “Phil, that’s creepy” after he told the forbidden divorcee “bet you’re lovin’ that steam shower.”

Moving on to the other Modern households, Mitchell’s desire to blend in with the straight couples — or rather, his desire to have Cameron blend in — at Lily’s play date yielded pretty ingenious results, including a quotable quip before they’d even left the house: “Wow. Paisley and pink. Was there something wrong with the fishnet tank top?” And as much as I loved Cameron’s struggle to tamp down his natural gifts and dance like a straight guy, his best line of the night (and perhaps the best line of the episode) was one so subtle I had to play it twice to confirm what I’d actually heard.

Playgroup Employee: “We’re all over here taking turns blowing bubbles.”
Cameron: “Well, how nice for…the babies!”

Way to sneak one past the network censors, Modern Family! And interestingly enough, the show’s gruffest character, Ed O’Neill’s Jay, once again proved to be its squishy emotional center. Sure, his attempt to install a ceiling fan/ bond with his stepson yielded half a dozen awkward zingers, but it was that detoured limo ride to Disney (after Manny’s dad failed to show up) that came thisclose to bringing a tear to my eye. “Ninety percent of being a dad is just showing up,” Jay surmised. Here’s hoping viewers keep showing up to Modern Family, ’cause this one’s a keeper, folks!

What did you think of Modern Family‘s second episode? Did you enjoy it as much as the premiere? And what was your favorite line? Start the sharing process in the comments section below! (And follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.)

Comments (179 total) Add your comment
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  • Chaddogg

    How could you leave out the brilliant Mitchell line: “I just stole a baby’s intellectual property.”

    • leo

      oh yes that was so funny! Lily isn’t grabbing and scooting :)

    • Katie

      Yep, this line gets my vote too!

    • jules

      My favorite line as well, but the pilot was a bit funnier than last night’s episode.

      • Mare

        I second that, jules!

    • Jo

      Yep, best line of the night!

    • Lynny

      Word- I died.

    • mjryan


  • Rob

    The show is definitely a hit. More please

  • bob

    Love it, great show.

  • Nat

    I absolutely loved it! Of all the new fall shows, this is the highlight. It’s just a pure joy to watch.

  • swthompson

    “The only thing his father has in common with Superman is that they both arrived in the country illegally.”

    • XoLuLe

      We cracked up at this line too!

      • coco

        this was my fav! so wrong but so great!!!

      • sutherngurl


    • Badger31201

      best line of the night. Well, that and Cameron’s schpiel on Meryl Streep at the end.

  • oldrockchick

    This is the best show of the year. I already decided that I must own when it comes to DVD.

  • Dave

    AWESOME SHOW! I hope they keep this on for a long time. I loved the “Do you want insurance on this one or is that still for suckers?” line from the guy at the bike shop haha

    • Dana

      …and when Phil explains how the bike went missing and the bike shop says, “maybe that was your dad teaching you a lesson”

      • bex

        that was my fave!

  • SS

    I love this show. I hope ABC keeps it around unlike so many other shows that I have loved and lost on ABC.

  • RK

    The Superman line was hilarious.

  • Brigid

    Cameron is by far my favorite character. “Meryl Streep could play Batman, and it would be the right choice.” He is so hysterical.

    • shonna

      loved that line!

    • Cece

      I just loved his whole bit about Sophie’s Choice. That was high quality comedy.

      • leo

        The show is full of those moments! Loved that little monologue and the fact that everyone knows exactly what he’s talking about when he says she should never have had to make that decision :)

    • Mike

      This was absolutely my favorite line as well!

    • strickens_girl


    • Reena

      Yes the whole Meryl Streep line was sooo funny I am liking this show so much I have not laughed so hard at a show like this since Friends sorry but I dont find The Office funny. Anyways EVERYONE PLEASE KEEP WATCHING MODERN FAMILY I WOULD HATE TO SEE IT GO!

    • Lynny

      I think Cameron is my soulmate. I am a big, dramatic goofball and have said nearly the same thing to friends about Meryl Streep. His restraint when the lady was talking was killing me.

  • just me

    I love this show. But as always, why does the guy with the great looking wife, Ms. Bowen, make goofy lust faces at another woman? And frankly, Desiree, was a little doughy and clearly tanned too much. She was looking a little shriveled and wrinkly.

    • tony bogustello

      Great name “just me” because it is just you. Krista Allen (Desiree) was ridiculously hot. RIDICULOUSLY. She was in Baywatch for pete’s sake. You’ve been drinking the koolaid. She was looking like awesomeness to this guy.

      • Rich

        I watched the end credits. Desiree was played by former Penthouse Pet Brandy Ledford, rather than Krista Allen. Same difference, though.

    • RK

      Yeah, you’re either 1) a woman or 2) a man who is typing this with his wife behind him. Meow.

      • coco

        LOL! i have a friend that Meows too and your response is spot on!

      • meow

        what the..? lol, i though my friend and I were the only ones that meowed! I know it’s weird, but we just use it instead of “meh” for something that isn’t convincigly good. Oh yeah, the show’s great too

    • Leslie

      my boyfriend & I thought her stomach looked a little strange, maybe she recently had a child or something? She is definitely still hot though.

    • Sara

      She wasn’t as thin as she maybe could’ve been, but she was still plenty thin and plenty gorgeous. There are enough stick figures on TV, I’m glad she isn’t one.

    • just me

      See, my point is that Phil has a beautiful wife. Aside from the frontal floatation devices of the new neighbor, I don’t see why he so openly gawk at her.

      • Mothra

        Because some people find pigful, cliched male behavior funny. I am not one of them and agree that was the only part that fell flat on an otherwise great episode. Although the “How nice for the babies” line is pure Arrested Development. But hey, if you’re going to steal, steal from the best!

      • mjryan

        The ‘he’s a guy’ comment is probably the answer. But, I agree with you, just me. Want me to believe Ty Burrell wants to cheat, don’t have him married to Julie Bowen. Same thing goes for Courtney Cox having body issues on Cougar Town. Not buying it.

      • crispy

        I think you underestimate the power of those frontal flotation devices.

      • Lynny

        It doesn’t matter how hot a wife is, husbands will LOOK. Men check out other women, period. Whether they actually act on it is another story- the good ones don’t.

    • Lynny

      cause he’s a guy

  • Denny

    My favorite new show of the year, which is odd b/c I usually hate family/relationship comedies. Ty Burrell is hilarious, but I think Mitchell’s deer-in-the-headlights reaction to news of video cameras after he swirched the blocks was my favorite throw-away moment from the show last night.

    • sutherngurl

      lol that was funny too!

  • kat

    Love love this show! I think it is the best new show this year. Too many wonderful lines to pick from, great cast.

    • shar

      ditto. FANTASTIC

  • michael

    Please explain the blowing bubbles reference. don’t get it…

    • tia

      look up blowing bubbles in urbandictionary.com

      • EEKstl

        Thank you! I had NO IDEA I was this unhip as to not know any of this. Okay, got it – DEFINITELY way to get around the censors! Oh, you wacky writers, you!

      • Ann

        thanks! – missed that.
        This is a really great show – wonderful writing – hope they keep it up, but that will be tough, it´s been so good thus far!

    • RK

      Isn’t it something Michael Jackson used to do?

    • fartacus

      :) :) :) for real?

    • Tego Livi

      I don’t think you need the urbandictionary. Just substitute “bubbles” for “babies” in the second line to get what Cameron narrowly avoided saying.

      • JenR

        That’s what I thought, too. How nice for Bubbles.

    • flivr

      Finally! Someone else who didn’t get that line either. I have no clue what they’re all laughing at not to mention that I don’t find anything funny about the show!

    • e4ia

      I don’t think they were going for the urban dictionary version. Cameron wanted to joke ” Well, how nice for Bubbles” (as in a person named Bubbles) but stopped himself because he was trying to tone himself down.

  • mkaffeine

    Fave line #1: “Everyone loves the Cam Show. It’s appointment viewing.”
    Fave line #2: “My dad killed a bear!” “Wow, was he in the passenger seat?”

    I, too, kept having to rewind to catch missed lines due to the sound of my husband and ME [not ‘I’] howling from our couch.

    • Michael Slezak

      Good grammar catch, mkaffeine! I fixed it.

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