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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 5.15 - The Feud






In a hiatus of only two weeks, Modern Family has apparently turned into a game show. I think this warrants further investigation.

It's late at night. Claire and Phil are still up, both anxious about work, Claire for a big meeting with a developer and Phil for a realtors' society election. However, Phil soon gets his answer, as Gil Thorpe arrives boasting of his win, destroying incumbent Phil. He reluctantly hands over his medallion to his sworn enemy, and cries at the thought of what Gil will do with it. Opening credits.

Jay, Gloria and Manny are in an elevator, where Jay has an attack of claustrophobia - odd for someone who spent his entire career building closets. Unfortunately, the elevator gets stuck and they're totally trapped. With a guy from Jay's club who seems to be very annoying. Fortunately, they're all brought out within a few minutes.

Claire and Mitch talk about the upcoming wedding. Apparently, Pepper has hired a Golden Globe-winning DP (though Cam maintains that Globes are bought, not won). Claire is excited about her sales meeting, and Mitch just wants his coffee. Siblings. Luke wanders in wearing a billion layers, because he wants to sweat off some weight for wrestling. Haley and Alex are moving a giant mirror into Haley's room, where Haley annoys the piss out of her sister for taking a phone call while they have a giant panel of glass in their arms. Alex realizes that they can't fit the mirror through the door, and Haley gasps, but for a different reason - there's a possum on the stairs. Okay?

Mitch gets an email informing them that Lily's class has a lice outbreak. He decides that to spare Claire from the parasites, he and Cam will have to pick up Lily themselves and skip the amazing photographer. You do realize that you probably won't get lice just from being around a kid for fifteen minutes, right? Cam points this out, natch, because he reeealllly wants that photographer. They bat around the idea that they're probably monsters for not telling Claire the truth, but they decide it's kinder to spare her the stress. Cut to Claire and Lily taking a picture, with Claire pushing her hair over Lily's head so they can be "two blondes". Oops.

Luke is about to start his match and asks for "dadvice" from Phil, who is sweet and encouraging as usual. Unfortunately, Gil shows up sporting the medal - and his "little bra-snapper" is Luke's opponent.

Manny shows up at a class field trip to the museum, only to find that he has squeaky shoes in what amounts to a giant echo chamber. He's terrified of getting bullied by his peers, and to be fair, they do seem like assholes. Gloria sighs over the little boy who wasn't afraid to be himself, wondering where he went. She assures him that being confident in himself is the best course of action.

Haley and Alex are still trapped in the basement, though the possum is asleep or playing dead. They have no food and no one to rescue them until five o'clock. It's time to fight back. So... no one has a cell phone to call Animal Control?

Claire and Mitch go to meet the friend, though Mitchell gets bad news as they walk in - the DP and Cam have ended their business relationship over "creative differences". I kind of wish we'd gotten to see this. The friend appears and Claire babbles on about condos. Her would-be partner looks decidedly freaked out. Mitch runs away.

Lily has had a bad day and asks Cam to lie down with her. He's about to do so when he notices that she's scratching her head...and now I'm scratching mine. And so is Claire, over in her super important meeting...

To keep her distracted, Cam engages his daughter in a game of "the (insert space Cam is currently standing on) is made of lava" and calls Mitchell for guidance. Mitch has noticed the same symptoms in Claire, and it looks like it will be an itchy week for everyone. I'm a little perplexed by the guys' insane freakouts. You can stand next to people with lice without catching it, you know - and if you do get it, it's not exactly a death sentence.

Mitchell runs in to break up the meeting, especially since Claire and the businessman keep putting their heads dangerously close together. He manages to get his friend out of the room and tells Claire what happened. Any sensible man would say they didn't figure it out until Lily got home, but nooo, Mitchell just has to admit to the coverup. She gets super pissed, predictably. The guy comes in to tell Claire that she has his business. He draws her in for a hug as she and Mitch exchange horrified looks. Seriously?

Gloria lectures Manny about assurance (and she is rocking a hippie-style blue dress in the process) when her face suddenly turns bright red, due to some poorly dosed allergy medication. Manny runs off to find some water. The other field trip chaperones, apparently just as horrible as their children, bump into him on the way and make catty remarks about his mother. Stay classy, parents!

Galvanized by Gil, Phil begs Luke to win. Surprisingly, Jay disapproves. Then it turns out Gil Thorpe is the son of Jay's annoying club acquaintance, who always treats Jay like he's two inches tall. Sure enough, Jay joins the "Luke must win" team instantaneously.

Meanwhile, Phil gets a call from Cam, who wants to know if they have any lice shampoo at Casa Dunphy. Phil advises them to take the "lice kit" from the basement, left over from the Dunphy kids' many misadventures with the creatures. Cam (still treating his daughter like an atomic bomb) and Lily head over to a basement with much more frightening creatures - oh, and a possum, too.

The Thorpe kid thumps Luke, as dad and granddad struggle to conceal their disappointment.

Gloria's attack has subsided, so she and Manny leave. Manny calls her out for her hypocrisy, hiding from the others as she tells him not to. She changes her mind and decides to set a good example. Looking like a mess (as much as Sofia freakin' Vergara can), she walks by the mothers - but Manny distracts them all by drawing attention to his squeaky shoes. They, in turn, choose to laugh at him for his pink shirt. People are losers. Gloria declares Manny her hero.

Jay and Phil take Luke to a diner. While he goes to get something, they berate themselves for making him feel bad and decide to apologize. As it turns out, Luke didn't really notice their disappointment, and doesn't feel bad about losing at all - he just started and sees, realistically, that he has a very long way to go. Phil's relieved, but Jay doesn't buy the act. They argue about it. Luke demonstrates that he is not all right with it, attacking Gil's kid. Gil attacks Luke, Phil attacks Gil, Gil's dad attacks Phil, and Jay attacks Gil's dad. However, it turns out to be a Heimlich maneuver scenario. Everyone breaks apart sheepishly.

While Cam and Lily descend to the Dunphy basement, Haley and Alex check for the possum, aping every horror movie ever in the process. The possum jumps out, causing everyone to scream. Claire runs in with wild scratched-up hair. More screaming.

Jay tells Luke how impressed he is for jumping to save the Thorpe kid. Luke admits he was actually attacking him after all, not realizing he was choking. They agree to keep it to themselves.

Tag scene: while Claire continues to scratch her head, Gil Thorpe comes over to apologize for being a jerk and thank Luke for saving his son. Phil smiles, agrees to let bygones be bygones - and gets him to give Lily a piggyback. Oh, don't judge, we've all had that coworker.

Well, it was kind of fun, but I think we can mostly agree that this episode was pretty much filler. I loved the surreal twist of the girls and the possum, as well as the choking scenario at the end, but really, we've seen this all before. Not an impressive return at all - though there's hope that the rest of the season will pick up.


...and I'm still annoyed that we didn't get that game show.


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