'Modern Family' recap: Snap! Tackle Pop?

modern-family_lBad news for the Pritchett clan, good news for us: Phil isn’t the only family member harboring an inappropriate crush on an in-law. Seriously, was there anything better on last night’s dangerously funny installment of Modern Family than Cameron’s overly enthusiastic admission (embedded below) about his attraction to Mitchell’s dad Jay? “For the record, you’re smokin’ hot. One hundred percent. You’re totally my type. You’re dangerous. You’re gettable. You have a little cashola in your pocket….the whole kit and kaboodle.”

In Cameron’s defense, though, his overtures came from a very different (and sympathetic) place than Phil’s manhandling of Gloria. With Jay smarting from the revelation that his daughter had initially suspected his new wife was only attracted to his money, he turned to his son and his son’s partner for affirmation of his hotness, wondering if they’d check him out in a bar if he wasn’t their relative. Mitchell’s horrified response — “You’re really close to ruining gay for me” — was consistent with the parental embarrassment he’s shown in previous episodes, but the real high-wire act was the way the show’s writers had Cameron admit he’s hot for daddy-in-law, and had Jay essentially fishing for (and thoroughly enjoying) Cameron’s compliments, without making me want to take a Silkwood shower. Several scenes later, we found Cameron and Jay huddled in the living room demonstrating football technique without the slightest hint of awkwardness. Mitchell’s subsequent loss of appetite — much like his offense at Jay’s “Dick Butkus” reference — only served as further proof that he’s not as emotionally attuned — to his dad, to his family, to life in general — as his ebullient partner. (Bonus points: “Nice apology.” “Nice beer.”) (Additional bonus point: “Why is she dressed like the Hamburgler?”)

Of course, as we’ve learned over five glorious episodes, skewering the idiosyncrasies of a very diverse, very real family is what Modern Family does best. Take Jay and Manny’s breakfast conversation, particularly our favorite little man-boy pushing his stepfather’s buttons by sipping coffee, throwing in a strategically placed “si,” and referring to soccer as “football.” And naturally, Jay refusing to move from the intersection of cultural insensitivity and telling it like it is: “What part of Colombia are those French Toaster Sticks from?”

The central story arc of last night’s show, though, was the simmering tension between Gloria and Claire, which bubbled over after the latter’s dullard son revealed his mom had previously used the word “gold digger” — “what’s a coal digger?” — to describe the world’s hottest stepmom. Again, where lesser writers would struggle to make Claire likable under the circumstances, Team Modern Family diffuses her bitchery (“You heard how she said that, right? Jes!“) by saddling her with a brutally clueless husband (“She does that with everyone. It’s just her face.”) and by allowing her tart sense of humor to surface at just the right moments (like her confession that she never expected to “wake up with a new mom who looks like she fell off a mud-flap”). The final-act “if you’re really sorry, you’ll jump in the pool” scenario could’ve felt sitcom-hammy, but in the hands of the wonderful Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara, it felt as natural as a kid wearing after-shave and dressing like a count.

What did you think about last night’s Modern Family? Sound off in the comments section below, but if you’re scratching your head or chuckling about my “after-shave”/”count” reference, press play on the clip below before you do.

[ewbrightcove “44929937001”, “45983513001”, “525”, “365”]

Image Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC

Comments (142 total) Add your comment
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  • MWC

    The center/Quarterback exchange at the end was the funniest part of a very funny show. Phil gets the best lines – but Ed O’Neill is the MVP of this show.

  • oldrockchick

    Just when I think this show can’t get any better….it does! I am so in love with this show, and I have my own major crush on Cameron.

  • crispy

    Hmm, I got the feeling that Cameron was just telling Jay what he wanted to hear. He’s a nurturer, that’s what he would do. I’m not sure it’s a real crush. And I certainly hope they don’t drive that joke into the ground the way they have with Phil’s Gloria crush. Funny at first, not so much anymore.

    • Lynny

      That’s how I took it too. He was trying to encourage his self esteem.

    • al

      totally agree. mitch may be the messenger but cam is the diplomat.

    • aj

      i agree about phil, getting kind of creepy

  • lily

    This show keeps getting funnier and more touching every week. It is just magnificent.

  • Joe

    I’m so loving this show–it’s a must watch for me each week.

  • Louise

    This show consistently hits all the right notes. There isn’t a single weak link among the cast. My favorite line of the night was “They wear ascots?”

    • Chris

      LOL! i loved that line too

  • Lara

    The show had me laughing out loud from beginning to end. Cameron is my absolute favorite. “Did I, Mitchell? Did I?” He is a scene stealer.

    • ericalina

      hahah when he hung lily out of the door and said it too i was laughing so hard…!

      • Jackie

        That was my favourite scene!

      • mscisluv

        That was my favorite part: more Lilly! Also, more Lilly dressed like a referee!

    • Katrina M

      That was so funny. I love this show and am trying to get more of my fam and friends into it. Cameron holding Lily in the air and asking that question again to Mitchell was HILARIOUS, as was Claire’s comment about her step-mother looking like something that fell off a mud flap.

      And Claire’s husband going mute when Gloria offered to take off her dress was funny. That dude has such a wandering eye!

      • Mo

        YES! That was my favorite part of the show. I love Phil. And when she threw the underpants and stuff at him, I about died laughing. Too funny

    • d.

      I actually laughed out loud when he held Lily out of the doorway. I had to rewind. It was hilarious.

  • Keisa

    I think Phil is the star of the show. His crush on his “mother in law” is hilarious. When he just sat there with her bras and panties all over him and snuck out with a pink pair of panties stuck in his pocket had me crying!!

    • blp

      Loved that too! Phil finally endeared himself to me completely last night, w/the whole, “if you sweep things under the rug too long, you get a lumpy rug. Which becomes a tripping hazard…” thing. He’s such a goofy dope, but that was so spot on!

    • Mark

      I also like Phil in the car saying “I hate it when my two girls fight” and the look on Claire’s face as as she responded “And how exactly is she your girl?”

      • Justin

        Good call, Mark. Boy, did Phil walk right into that one or what?!!!

      • Alan

        I was eating at the time, and that part made me nearly choke. I loved that line!!

  • lynne

    I saw it as Cameron being the supportive partner because he saw how hard Mitchell was trying to be interested in football but instead got dissed by his dad. He was very smooth and fast with the hotness-rating. Also, holding up Lily in the teaser killed me.

    Great episode. Could have done without the cheesy pool jumping though.

  • Rich

    I like that they steer clear of one dimensionsality on this show. Instead of just making Phil the approaching middle aged guy lusting after his mother-in-law, his speech to Gloria in the bedroom came off as heart-felt and you could see that he really cares about his wife’s relationship with her stepmom.
    Oh, and Keisa, he wasn’t sneaking out with the panties. They were just static-clinged to his pants and he was clueless.

    • Keisa

      LOL, that may be true, but he sure didn’t return them!!

    • bee

      Oh no, no, no. I think Phil completely knew that those panties were stuck to his pants. He wanted to get out of there as fast as possible so he could hang on to them.

    • mike

      so true…Phil has been a great character, but after that scene we no know he’s real

  • BigTimeFan

    Been a long long time since I actually busted up laughing out loud at specific comedy,the actors’ability to deliver a line, situational comedy. Fantastic show!

    • blp

      Couldn’t agree more! :)

    • tdunf

      me too!! last night was my first taste of it, but it won’t be my last. i commented on another thread that i haven’t laughed this hard since arrested development. this show is much in the same vane and i just know that phil is gonna bust out the cut-offs one day!!

      • JEN

        Return of the Never-nude! :)

      • Mags

        It’s not YET Arrested Development quality, but it’s totally getting there. Love this show!

      • Dave

        I disagree that this show isn’t “YET”
        Arrested Development quality. In only 5 episodes, it’s clear – this show IS the new A.D.!!! This show seems to eerily, clearly and perfectly capture the exact same zeitgeist as A.D. had. It is whip-smart and DVR-necessary to go back and catch every line, every nuance, every comment. In just the few episodes that have aired I would put this show in the same catagory as Arrested Development, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, and of course, the greatest TV show of all time – Green Acres!!! Bravo, Modern Family! Keep ‘em coming!! Wednesday night is now Must-See TV Night!!!

      • JayNYC

        I think the quality is nearly as good as A.D. but the comedy seems more accessible, which hopefully bodes well for the longevity of the show.

  • lta

    Great show, although I think that they are dangerously close to overdoing the hip, cool Dad thing with Phil. The character is funny, but the whole act is becoming stale.

    • JRE

      I see him as the caricature of the “cool” parent. Not that he is cool, but he thinks he’s cool.

      • Justin

        Good point, JRE. He just acts “cool” to fit in. He thinks he’s “down with the kids”, which makes it funny to me. I can’t help but laugh when he talks like that.

      • Sun Diego

        Exactly. He just thinks he’s cool. My daughter and I still say “W.T.F. Why the face?” from the pilot episode. Hilarious!

  • Via

    “It’s just her face,” practically killed me. I can’t wait to see what Ed Norton will do when he shows up. This show is comedic brilliance and gets my vote for best use of a baby as a prop, as lynne said that teaser was great.

  • blp

    This is absolutely the best new show. Great writing, wonderful chemistry between the ensemble. I ADORE Cameron. There is such a sweet and wonderful core to these people….LOVE it. And Hailey’s “My Mom doesn’t look good wet” had me cracking up! This is the only show I’ve seen in a long, LONG time, that has me smiling on my way to work the next day, replaying the lines. And Ed O’Neill is marvelous. When he slowly reached over and covered his chatty granddaughters mouth during the ball game? Priceless and REAL!! HA!

    • Jen

      I never thought I would be able to forget Al Bundy, but Ed O’Neill is SO good in the show! When he covered his granddaughters mouth, I thought that is something my dad would totally do!!

  • Amanda

    I swear the line about her kid wears after-shave and dresses like a count had me laughing STILL this morning.

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