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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 5.16 - Spring-A-Ding-Fling





My updates have been rather...lackluster lately, due to general Russian fuckery. Not to worry - I'm still here. Let's see what the most modern actually kind of boring family of the week is up to.

Cam is chaperoning the school dance ("Spring-a-Ding-Fling"), while Mitchell is starting a new job with some crusading law firm. Phil, meanwhile, is preparing to host the Southern California Annual Realtor's Banquet. Unfortunately, Claire has to miss the big event due to work. Haley will be (reluctantly) accompanying him instead, which Phil sees as an opportunity to direct her into real estate forever. Opening credits.

Mitchell is guided around work by Wendy (Aisha Tyler), another lawyer who keeps trapping him in racist remarks and, uh, seems to be flirting with him a little. She also has a bad habit of screaming at her employees. All of the lawyers seem to have some sort of hostage complex, a feeling I can well sympathize with at my shitty Russian school. Mitchell finds a note in his desk - "Get out or you will die." Uh-oh.

Gloria and Jay argue about who's better at business. While Gloria's on the phone with Mitch (he needs a babysitter), Jay taunts Joe for not being able to walk. And yes, there was literally no other way to describe that.

Luke wrestles with his date, Rhonda, in the mud. Claire wonders if they don't want to get dressed up for the dance, but they claim they are, jeans and sweatshirts being de rigueur these days. She is horrified, and manages to sneak Rhonda away, telling Luke to meet them at the dance later. Alex and her boyfriend have decided to go the dance ironically, which also offends Claire. Why the fuck are you so determined to police your kids' motivations? Helicopter, helicopter!

Cam entertains his coworkers with his witty repartee. They ask him to speak at the opening ceremonies, but a more charismatic teacher (Will Sasso) comes back from vacation. Senor Kaplan - COMMUNITY RIPOFF! - is instantly welcomed back, and Cam is jealous.

Gloria is upset because someone broke her phone. Lily blames Joe, which no one believes. Jay promises that he'll talk to her. This turns into a war between Jay and Gloria about who's better at convincing people to do stuff. He tries to get Lily to fess up, but she maintains that Joe did it. Gloria threatens Lily's stuffed animals, Mafia-style. Fear flashes in the child's eyes. And that is a sentence I never thought I'd write for this show.

Phil is going crazy at the Realtors' Banquet, which includes a rendition of "I'm Selling Away" that could kill Baby Jesus. He's also in drag for part of it. The crowd is eating it up. However, he notices Haley texting in the middle, and is so distraught that he flubs the show. Haley is horrified.

Mitchell hears weird things about Wendy's cruel habits at work, and sees her beating the living shit out of a vending machine. Wendy also asks him to groom Rex, so Mitchell introduces himself to the smelly office dog.

The dance is in full swing, and Rhonda seems thrilled with her makeover. Claire goes up to Alex's boyfriend, Drew, and tells him to take Alex into the house when he brings her home. That's right - she openly insists that he be in the Dunphy home, unsupervised, with her teenaged daughter. If this were anyone but Drew and Alex, I'd tell Claire to enjoy being a grandma. Senor Kaplan planned all the dances in the past, and he and Cam snark at each other about their various planning styles. Luke complains to his mother about Rhonda's new look, saying she "broke her". Alex comes by to yell at her mother for pimping her out, declaring that the dance is not for Claire! Right on, sister. Claire scowls and tries to act more chaperone-y.

Gloria is advocating increasingly sadistic methods for interrogating Lily, though Jay favors a more gentle approach. They go in together. Lily is sticking with the story. She points out Joe's footprints. When they tell her Joe can't walk, she insists he can "for her". She calls to her infant uncle, and sure enough, he walks over to her. As Jay and Gloria exclaim over the baby, she reflects that she "got lucky" and covers Joe's shoes in baby powder again.

Cam continues to complain about Kaplan while Claire tells him to STFU. The faculty dance is announced (that's a thing?) and Cam sees his moment to shine. The rivals turn "Shake Your Groove Thing" into a bitter competition. Cam realizes he's losing. In a desperate PR move, he grabs Claire and pulls her onto the floor. They dance the raciest number since that contest in Grease, and I'm pretty sure Claire winds up flashing the entire gym. Nonetheless, it's a phenomenal success.

Mitchell bathes the dog and complains about his evil boss. He decides to stand up for his colleagues and give Wendy a talking-to. At work, Wendy talks to the new intern, Rex (who names their kid Rex?), and discovers that her dog Pixie is missing. Mitchell walks in and delivers his lecture, whereupon Wendy corrects him on the Rex/Pixie issue. One by one, all of Mitchell's "red flags" are unravelled. Wendy is proven to be the best boss ever. She is deeply hurt, but they hug it out and it looks like Mitchell gets to keep his job for now.

While the banquet's "mortgage doctor" checks on Phil after his fall, Haley asks what happened. He sadly tells her to grab his keys, because they're leaving. Just then, the big award of the evening is announced. Phil wins, natch. To his shock, Haley runs up to accept it, and gives a heartfelt speech, including the jokes Phil never got to use in his act.

Various family members narrate about covering up for who they are. Haley accepts the award and hugs her dad, Alex and Drew and Rhonda and Luke have reconciled. Meanwhile, Lily is busted for her cover-up when it's revealed that Joe's shoes are on the wrong feet.

Tag scene: Since Joe can walk, Jay has trained him to fetch beer. Frankly, I can't think of a better use for a baby.

Tonight's episode was a lot of fun. Mitchell's work conflicts were well built up, though I did envy him his kind, reasonable boss. Haley and Phil's storyline built to a nice conclusion. Claire's story felt a bit too ridiculous, however, and Cam's was well-trod territory. The less said about Jay and Gloria, the better - that one was beyond half-assed (though sociopathic Lily is always a treat). However, the show had some good moments. Until next week, my friends!

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  • Posts

    • Smee


      On 5/22/2024 at 4:36 PM, medimus said:

      A homeschooling, mommy blogger with 11 children who converted from evangelicalism to one of the above latin mass only, skirts only, mothers stay trad catholic groups (I forget which one) is Celeste of Joyouslessons.


      I read 'joyous lessons' as 'joylessness' first.

      20 hours ago, Jana814 said:

      I’m always fascinated when someone who was raised not religious & becomes extremely religious. I know 2 people who were raised not very religious Jewish & became very religious.

      I was raised atheist and became very religious in my teens. I was a deep thinking philosophical kid with big emotions, cracking under the pressure of adolescence in an extremely academic environment; Christianity offered me something to help answer the 'why' of it all (although even then, I always believed in the scientific account of the 'how'). I am also - although I didn't understand or have the label for it then - asexual, and the whole notion of no-sex-before-marriage was oddly reassuring to me, like a 'safe' way to date and fall in love with church boys who weren't supposed to want to touch me sexually (spoiler alert: they still did). While I was at university I worked for a Christian organisation and led the youth group at my church, then I got married and moved to a country town where I knew nobody, and the church community was my first 'in' into the community. I was a stay-at-home mother who spent my days going to church playgroup or hosting bible study with other stay-at-home mothers. Regardless of what's happening inside or what your private prayer life is like, when your social group is all religious it helps keep you religious. It's only in the past few years, with my kids all at school, my divorce finalised, working in secular arts organisations, plus time on more forums like this, that I've become a much more liberal Christian who doesn't let it dictate my entire life. 

      • Love 2
    • marmalade


      1 minute ago, Coconut Flan said:

      Looks like that's the Justice Dept response to the Duggar appeal not the Supreme Court final.  Reddit was a bit ahead of themselves.

      Yeah, the conclusion states that writ SHOULD BE denied. This is the Fed's response to The Felons plea. Remember, they were granted an extension until 5/24, so this makes sense.

      • Upvote 2
      • Thank You 1
    • Coconut Flan


      Looks like that's the Justice Dept response to the Duggar appeal not the Supreme Court final.  Reddit was a bit ahead of themselves.

      • Upvote 2
    • ADoyle90815


      • Upvote 1
    • JermajestyDuggar


      28 minutes ago, justpassingthru said:

      And yet Amy gives no fucks. 

      I think that’s pretty standard for the vast majority of people who make 7 figures. Most people don’t make that kind of money without stepping on some necks to get there. 

      • Upvote 1
      • I Agree 3

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