'Modern Family' Season 2, Episode 7 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Nov 4th 2010 1:00AM
['Modern Family' - 'Chirp']
One of the more interesting things about 'Modern Family' is that, even when there's an episode that produces less than gut-clenching laughter, it's still infused with enough emotion to make it very watchable.
So while 'Chirp' only generated one really big laugh for me -- probably because I have a dirty mind -- and a couple of smaller ones, it was still a decent episode because both Jay and Phil looked utterly human this week. I was especially intrigued by Phil, who showed a side of himself that we rarely see: one that's a bit worried and scared for the future.
I had been wondering how Phil's real estate business was still humming along despite being in the middle of one of the worst housing markets in decades. Well, now we know; things aren't going so well, and it's finally getting to Phil. It was good to see that Phil isn't always the happy-go-lucky, look-on-the-bright-side guy that everyone likes but makes Claire frustrated.
It must not have helped when not only could he not find the smoke detector that was beeping, but he increasingly got lady-like as the afternoon wore on. "My ladyfingers are burning," he said to Claire's workout partner after the guy returned her phone. Take that any way you like, that must have been a tough moment for Phil, especially because he was wearing an apron that, as Luke said had a spot where his mom's boobs go.
The laughs from this story came from Luke in the helmet -- that sweet, dumb kid thought he could eat ladyfingers with the helmet still on -- and the scenes with Claire and Haley sick in bed. The part where Haley misunderstood her mother, thinking that Claire was talking about wasting her life with Phil when she was really referring to Haley and Dylan, was your typical sitcom misunderstanding.
No, the part that made me laugh out loud was, after we heard a little bit about Dylan's Claire-related dream, we hear Haley yell to him on the phone, "No it's not happening!" as she was lying in bed with her mother. That told us way more about Dylan's dream than we wanted to know. My laugh had the weird combination of recognition and douche chills, all rolled into one guffaw.
The Cam/Mitch plot didn't really go anywhere; it could have been explored more in-depth, especially the aspect of their relationship where Mitch seems to unilaterally make decisions about Lily when he thinks Cam is being silly. It's remarkable to me how reliably funny these two are, no matter what the plot they're given is. Yes, I've said that before, but it's true. Even though their plot was just there to show Lily shooting an extremely racist commercial (Savezilla?), and I knew that Cam was going to pick up the wrong baby after criticizing the director for using his daughter as a mere prop, it was still funny.
And the Jay/Gloria/Manny plot worked if only for the fact that Jay finally called Manny "my kid," Even if Manny's quest to get Jack from the loading dock his job back was lame, this was another case where the emotion behind Jay's decision to let Jack go was a good payoff. He cares about Manny and his well being, and Jack let Manny dive a forklift. 'Nuff said. Oh, and I don't think Gloria celebrating every milestone in her relationship with Jay is a Colombian thing. I think it's just a woman thing. I mean, now that I'm married, it doesn't mean that I'm off the hook for a card, gift and dinner on the anniversary of our first date... does it?
More fun stuff:
-- I'd hate to be on the "business end" of Phil's cheerleading baton.
-- It is interesting how adamantly Haley defended her dad when she thought Claire was complaining about him. As goofy as Phil is, his kids really do love him. But then again, so does Claire; she really wants Phil to lean on her when things aren't going well. Is it me or does it seem like the writers have made their relationship more real and less of a manchild / suffering wife situation.
-- This may be a dumb question, but have we ever been told what Jay's business is? We know it involves a loading dock, at least.
-- Leave it to Luke to think that a bunch of old smoke detectors would make a good robot.
-- Cam to Mitch, who wants Lily to have a normal childhood: "That gay cruise ship has sailed."
-- Another joke about the volume of Gloria's voice. "Where did I hear that siren?" asks Manny. "That was your mother screaming," said Jay. "Cars were pulling over." I liked the "Jay!" parrot joke from a couple of weeks ago, but this was also pretty funny.
['Modern Family' airs Wednesdays at 9PM ET on ABC.]
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