'Modern Family' Season 2, Episode 22 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted May 12th 2011 10:20AM
['Modern Family' - 'Good Cop, Bad Dog']
One of the greatest things about 'Modern Family' is that each couple demonstrates a yin and yang that makes them so compatible with each other. And we saw that yin and yang in this episode. And while not all of the stories were as funny as they could be, it was still a good demonstration on why these characters work and why the show has been so successful over its first two seasons.
You have Cam, the caregiving nurturer matched up with the more practical -- and sometimes selfish -- Mitch. Then there's the tough, no-nonsense Jay with his life-embracing, generous-to-a-fault wife Gloria.
But the biggest yin and yang has to be the uptight Claire and manchild Phil. So when they tried to reverse roles in last night's episode, that's where we got the biggest laughs.Claire is tired of being the bad cop, the one who always has to scream at the kids and dole out the discipline, especially when her fourth kid -- Phil -- always seems to sell her out. So to see them switch roles for a day was a funny way to turn the usual formula on its head. Have we seen a story like this on TV before? Of course. But at this point, there aren't many stories that haven't been told. So, it's perfectly OK to rehash a plot if it's done well.
And this was done very well. Turns out that Claire is just as intense when she has fun than when she's being the disciplinarian. When she's on the phone with Mitch at the go-kart track and he asks what she's doing, her reply is typically Claire: "Trying to make my kids love me!" She then proceeds to wipe out both Luke and Manny on the track, exclaiming "You're going down, Delgado!" with a crazy cackle. I think I've seen this moment three or four times now, and I laugh hard every time I see it.
But then you have easygoing Phil, who finds out what it's like when Alex and Haley disobey him. "You poked the bear!" he exclaimed to them. He just happened to be on the hood of the car at the time, as he jumped on it trying to keep them from leaving. Wow. That's pretty intense, as was not feeding the girls and duct-taping their laptop shut Credit Ty Burrell with transforming from the happy-go-lucky guy to someone who would make Annie Wilkes shake in her comfortable shoes.
The Gloria-Jay plot had a lot of fun little moments, like when Gloria said that she always wanted to sleep next to someone generous and giving, but it didn't necessarily have to be Jay. It was a way to goose him into helping Guillermo, a supermarket clerk with what has to be one of the dumbest ideas on record: a way to train a dog by "punishing" him with bland treats. The pitch itself, and Jay's subsequent crushing of Guillermo's dreams, were a little uncomfortable to watch, but the moments between Jay and Gloria -- and Jay and the dog Guillermo left behind -- were fun.
The Mitch and Cam plot didn't really work well, because Cam's personality was tamped down by sickness, and Mitch was demonstrating once again that Cam is a saint for being with him. Of course, that's not 100 percent true, as Mitch does a great job dealing with Cam's dramatics. But Mitch has demonstrated much more selfishness than Cam over the last two seasons. And his desire to to go a Lady Gaga concert -- "The one gay cliche I allow myself," he tells the camera as he takes pains to keep his legs uncrossed -- feels like someplace we've been before. Yes, I just said you can rehash stuff if done well. This one wasn't done well.
More fun stuff:
-- Only Manny would order a skinless chicken breast at a go-kart snack shop. In this case, I agree with Claire: "You going to the ball, Cinderella?"
-- More Manny: "In Europe, this wouldn't be a big deal."
-- A bunch of goofy-good lines from Luke: "I'm 12! I have my limits!" "It's funny, in the movie theater she says I'm 11." My favorite, though, was when Claire told Luke and Manny they can do anything they want that day, Luke replied, "I want to bring dad."
-- Phil after his discipline-a-thon: "I feel really shaky. I don't like being you." Claire's response is telling: "Nobody does."
-- Jay's so no-nonsense that, when he takes Guillermo's dog to the pound and the dog gives him a look, Jay coldly replies "Everybody's got troubles." Luckily he couldn't resist that squished face. Maybe it reminded him of Manny.
-- Loved how Gloria held the dog up so Jay can look at her face. Also loved how Gloria talked about "putting on a sugar jacket," and Jay immediately knew she meant "sugarcoating" without skipping a beat. That's a marriage in a nutshell, isn't it?
-- Not sure why so many people get sickened by a clump of hair in a bath drain. It may be slimy, but it was on your head a couple of days ago, right?
'Modern Family' airs Wedesdays at 9PM ET on ABC.
Follow @joelkeller on Twitter and on Facebook.
Watch the full episode here: