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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 5.23 - The Wedding (Part One)





Just splitting this wedding into two episodes is giving me uncomfortable flashbacks to the endlessly-dragged-out ninth season of How I Met Your Mother, but we ended on a dramatic note last week and should have more than enough meat to get through forty minutes. Let's get Cam and Mitch to the church on time!*

Cam and Mitch awaken on the morning of the big day to find two strange men in their bedroom. Well, strange in only one sense - it's Pepper and his boyfriend, who are the happy couple's friends and wedding planners, ready to surprise them with breakfast in bed. Cam and Mitch have also asked Sal (Elizabeth Banks) to officiate their wedding, though they didn't so much ask as she kind of assumed during a failed intervention. The big problem? She's now AWOL. Opening credits.

Claire, eagerly awaiting her job as best man/best person, calls her brother to check on him. They've just learned that they can't get their mother to come to the wedding, because Shelley Long wasn't in the budget she broke her hip. He's sad, but a little relieved, though at least he'll admit to that - with Jay, he won't even approach the topic, even though his dad was just unceremoniously removed from the guest list and he is parent-less at his own wedding. Claire says some soothing words and hangs up. See, she has more important topics on his mind, like picking up the wedding gift, because somehow hyper-organized Claire waited until the last day. She dispatches Phil to do it, though - due to a recent visit to the eye doctor that prevents him from operating vehicles - Alex has to drive him. Phil barely conceals his disappointment at having to hang out with the boring daughter. Alex even narrates about it. WOW. When did everyone on this show turn into terrible people?

We go over to Jay and Gloria's, where Gloria and Haley are in charge of everyone's makeup and hair. In addition, they're hosting Cam's parents, and Manny has the ultimate wedding cliche - a giant pimple. Really, Modern Family? You're playing the pimple plotline? Jay and Cam's dad (Merle) are going for a spa day, though they vehemently deny that this is the case. (And I guess Jay is invited again, if he's trying to look nice? I'm confused.) Cam's mother Barb gently reminds Merle to do something before he leaves, which she explains to Gloria as a "terrible fight" indicative of a "rough patch" they're going through. Gloria doesn't think that she and Jay have ever been that sweet to each other in their entire marriage. Andy the manny shows up, having missed his ride to the airport. He's scared of flying. Haley, tasked with driving him, exploits this weakness mercilessly. 

Mitchell and Lily calmly get ready for the wedding, but Cam comes in freaking out because the dry cleaners delivered the wrong tux. Mitchell tells him not to worry, problems were bound to come up, but he begins to panic himself when they realize that the cleaners are closed. Not the dry cleaner cliche - please not the dry cleaner cliche! I really need to play Wedding Trope Bingo with this show. Or at least a drinking game of some kind.

Alex and Phil continue to shop for the gift. Alex is a stick-in-the-mud and Phil functioning at the capacity of plankton. I hate it when sitcoms go from character to caricature. They're supposed to get the gift, but Phil keeps getting distracted by shiny things (no, really), so it's a bit of a detour. Meanwhile, Claire picks up Luke from camp. He's leaving early to attend the wedding and is quite taciturn. When Claire finds out how upset he is to miss a boating trip, she decides they have a little time and lets him go. Claire, you're a dumbass.

In the sauna, Merle asks Jay about his fight with Mitchell. Jay confesses that he's weirded out by the wedding, and asks Merle if he doesn't feel the same way. Merle pulls the Obama tactic and says he's "evolved" on the issue. Some friends show up, and Jay makes some "no homo" comments about the sauna. When the friends ask why Merle's in town, they both have trouble telling them why, despite Merle's earlier comment. Their friends assume it's a bride and groom, and no one corrects them. When they ask which one is the father of the bride, the men make an excuse and leave.

Barb continues to detail her "rough patch", which would be extremely mild by most couples' standards. Gloria tries her hardest to sound sincere. Actually, when pressed, she gives pretty good advice, telling Barb to be honest with her husband. Over at the not-spa, Jay and Merle have moved on to massages, and are talking about Jay and DeeDee's failed marriage. Merle does make a few gold-digger comments about Gloria in the process. Haley and Andy continue to have pseudo-sexual tenson. Haley's even disappointed to see a picture of Andy's girlfriend, who appears to be real after all. They get a notification that Andy's flight is delayed by three hours. Why he can't go to the airport and wait is beyond me, but he and Haley decide to go for coffee instead. Ooh la la.

Behaving completely rationally, Cam and Mitchell (and a reluctant Lily) have camped out in front of the dry cleaner's. Cam is already panicking over possibly wearing his "funeral suit". They get a call from Pepper - there's a wildfire near the venue and they'll have to move. Oh, and to do so, they'll have to push the wedding up to 1:00, though I have no idea why. I guess that's the only available time slot? Seriously, I've never heard about this happening before, ever. Everyone gets the news via text, all at the most inconvenient moment possible. The motor is broken on Claire and Luke's boat, Phil and Alex are stuck in a long line, Haley isn't checking her phone, Barb Tucker's hair is half done, Jay and Merle are in a restaurant about to eat, and the grooms have just snuck Lily into the dry cleaner's to purloin the tuxedo. The machine malfunctions, Lily gets stuck, and it looks like the episode's about to turn tragic. They stop the machine, but the alarm has summoned the store owner. Fortunately, an explanation placates him. They get the tux and run.

Confronted with the long line, Phil uses his dark glasses to pretend to be blind and get bumped in line. This proves to be a problem when he realizes they've given him the wrong colour. He then has to somehow convince the store clerk that he's blind and can differentiate colour. Um, not all blind people are totally blind, you know. The clerk decides to mess with him and pretend to walk away. When called out on it by the other customers, he tells them he thinks Phil's faking. Alex takes him to task with fancy language, inventing a fake diagnosis for her dad out of thin air and winning the entire store over.

Meanwhile, Claire and Luke feverishly paddle home. Claire is starting to freak out. Taking a brief break, she admits how bad she's feeling about her mom's absence, and how strange Mitchell's behaviour seems. She makes Luke promise that he'll feel sad if she doesn't come to his wedding. Well, that got awkward fast. This gets into a discussion of Luke's feelings of inferiority to his siblings. While he complains about how much more intelligent Alex is, he accidentally improvises a plan to get back to shore. In the coffee shop, Haley admits that she discovered a text from Beth on Andy's phone, telling him that the relationship is over and he shouldn't come. He is in total denial, insisting he'll still go. Haley then gets the wedding text. Before she leaves, she asks if he'll stay, once again. Andy still thinks there's a chance. It's all terribly sad.

The couple arrive at the new location. Sal shows up on time, divorced and pregnant. She claims to be four months along, the amount of time she's been with her wealthy boyfriend, but is clearly about to pop. Pepper handles this diplomatically, as befits a wedding planner. All the parents arrive. Barb asks Merle to remove his toothpick, to which he replies that he's leaving her. Gloria tries to smooth things over, but they break up anyway. At their son's wedding.

Lily walks down the aisle, looking adorable in her Belle dress, I must say. Her dads are about follow when a bunch of firefighters arrive. The fire has jumped the freeway, and the wedding has to be evacuated, again. Cliffhanger! In fact, we don't even get a tag scene. It seems weird to review what amounts to half an episode, so I'll leave things here. Will Cam and Mitchell ever get their wedding? Find out next week.

*Kay, probably not a church, but it's the same principle.


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