'Modern Family' react: Halloween episode delivers laughs, but lacks season 2's originality

Image Credit: Peter “Hopper” Stone/ABC

Tonight’s episode of Modern Family elicited a few laughs (as always, anytime Phil or Cam spoke), but was underwhelming compared to season 2’s Halloween special.

I would have preferred Claire’s memory of last year’s Halloween (when she gave a man a heart attack with her disturbing costume) to have been the premise for the entire episode. She’s no Little Bo Peep, but can certainly pass for a seemingly innocuous housewife harboring an alien squid fetus inside her body.

Here’s what happened on All Hallows Eve.

Dunphys: Due to last year’s fright (and near death) fest, Claire is forced to tone down her Halloween spectacle. But despite her G-rated costume and kid-friendly over-sized lollipop lawn decorations, the entire neighborhood steers clear of the Dunphy house. Even without the tricks, no one wants her treats. What’s worse, Phil makes an off-handed comment about her inability to scare. Claire usually bites her tongue (and stares right at the camera with an annoyed expression) when Phil inadvertently insults her, but telling a Halloween aficionado she’s not scary is a low blow. So Claire decides to prove him wrong by sneaking into the open house that her husband is showing to interested buyers and catching him by surprise in her newly altered Zombie Bo Peep costume. Of course, the oblivious, loveable fool doesn’t notice her, giving Claire no other choice but to make Phil believe that the house is haunted. Luke and Alex then join her for the ultimate scare. I know Phil doesn’t usually pee in his pants unless he sees a monkey in people’s clothes, but it was a close call. Haley didn’t make an appearance tonight, not even via video chat. I would have loved to see her first, wild booze fest of a college Halloween celebration.

Pritchett-Delgados: Gloria was battling a snoring problem last week and faces another pregnancy side-effect today: hormones. Yup, that’s right. The already hot-tempered Colombian was even feistier than usual. She steals two trick-or-treaters’ candy bags after they say she’s too old to be pregnant, chases them down her sidewalk after they egg her door, and eggs them (and Manny, accidentally, who’s hanging out with the cool crowd after serving detention) when she runs into them later that night at Cam and Mitch’s Halloween party. Jay experiences an identity crisis of his own: he’s unable to charm his way out of a speeding ticket. His million-dollar smile, baby blues, and cleft chin fail him for the first time. He manages to get his mojo back later that day when a beautiful woman hits on him at his son’s party. That beautiful woman ends up being dressed in drag, but Jay doesn’t suspect a thing. Ignorance really is bliss.

Pritchett-Tuckers: After losing 32.4 pounds, Cam throws a Halloween party to show off his hot bod. However, a costume mix-up forces him to dress as a bull instead of matador. Even changing into his Mr. Roarke (from Fantasy Island) costume proves futile when an unexpected guest shows up 100 pounds lighter. Lily, who’s been delivering more lines with each episode, is supposed to dress as Tattoo, but insists on donning a princess costume again this year because Mitch, overcome with sleep one day, fibbed that her mom was a princess to avoid answering any more questions. Cam eventually finds out and the two take Lily aside and tell her the truth, as they had initially planned. The mature kindergartener takes the news in stride and later agrees to dress as Tattoo, making her and Cam the best-dressed couple of the night.

Lily, who usually whines her way through episodes, was given the chance to actually act tonight. Her imitation of her parents’ hushed tone and crooked lips as she says, “Why are you talking like this?” is simply adorable. Her story line about wanting to know her mother’s identity was also much more sophisticated than what she’s usually dealt. I hope there’s more to come.

Here are tonight’s 10 best lines:

“The world needs more dreamers, Luke. Never stop licking things.” –Phil

“Apparently it was too scary for some kids … and one adult.” –Claire

“I don’t care what anybody says, you did not give that man a heart attack.” –Phil

“You literally scared a little saliva and urine out of a man. That happens to me every time I see a monkey in people’s clothes.” –Phil

“Now no one is going to see my bod in this bulky bull costume.” –Cam

“I’m not a hot head. I’m a Colombian. My country is covered with coffee.” –Gloria
“Just like the Starbucks girl who got your order wrong.” –Manny

“You know what? I’m going to go lift him and shake him until the staples pop.” –Cam

“You’ve been deported twice; you really shouldn’t be that defensive.” –Jay

“We agreed to tell Lily about her mother wearing calming earth tones and we agreed to tell her the truth.” –Cam

“Why are you talking like this?” –Lily

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