That's right, folks, it's time to celebrate that archaic American ritual - getting to drink in public several years after every other young adult on the planet. Now, granted, this is Haley we're talking about (show me a red-blooded American who hasn't had a drink while underage and I'll show you the Mitt Romney Presidential Library), so I don't see why this is such a big deal, but apparently they've made an episode about it. I think we'llÂ allÂ be drinking by the end.
We start with Cam, Mitch, Gloria, Claire and Haley arriving at a bar. And we're already off to a lousy start. Haley has friends. We know this. Why on earth is she spending the most hedonistic birthday of her life with her uncles, mother and step-grandma? They're legally required to be in the presence of at least five other family members at all times, right? Come on, writers. You can tell us.
Claire is desperately hoping to get ID'd and doesn't, which is wonderful. It gets even better when Haley accidentally shows her fake ID at the door. You go, Haley. Ditch your relatives and spread your wings. She explains in an interview that she's doing this as a favour to her family, though normally she would never be caught dead in their company. Apparently, all four of her relatives are desperate to feel young again.
Amidst a great deal of teasing, the four settle down for what I'm sure will amount to a Very Special Episode. Haley unsuccessfully tries to pretend it's her first drink, and come on, American parents, are you really this dumb? Opening credits.
Meanwhile, Phil and Jay go to get Haley's present - a brand-new car, because that is exactly the kind of thing you hand out to a flighty twenty-one-year-old with a proven poor driving record. Jay worries that Phil will get taken advantage of by the salesman, and finally goes in and takes over the deal himself. Lily taunts Alex for being a nerd, Luke and Manny re-enact William Tell with a Nerf Gun. Also, Lily is going around asking if they know where babies come from. Finally, Luke offers to explain, which should strike terror into the heart of any parent.
From her uncles, Haley receives a truly hideous pair of shoes. Considering that they pride themselves on their hip gay-ness, this is a huge failure on the part of the "guncles". Haley feigns interest, while Claire really appears to like them. Jay's bargaining skills appear to be rather rusty, as the salesperson cannot actually give them any deals, since the era of the shady dealership is long past. Sure he can get a better deal, Jay drags a wide-eyed Phil out of the dealership, though it's pretty clear that Jay's completely off the mark.
Cam and Mitch continue to be embarrassed about their gift misstep, though Claire has no idea what they're talking about. Haley and Gloria, slightly jolly with drink, giggle about Haley's latest scandalous remark. They're having a lot of fun, though I find it hard to believe that Cam and Mitch don't know who Tom Hardy is. Also, some better-looking gay guys are about to upstage them, and that isÂ unacceptable.
Jay and Phil move to another dealership, where the salesperson tells them, quite reasonably, that he can't possibly top the other deal. Over at the Dunphys', Luke continues with his botched version of the sex talk (a frat party is involved). They're interrupted by Manny, whose version of the sex talk will be equally messed up, I'm sure. The two teens wind up enacting a lovers' tiff with teddy bears. It's amusing, I'll admit. A horrified Alex walks in on it.
Jealous that a nearby bachelorette party is hanging out with the cooler gays, Cam and Mitch decide to take over the floor with some epic dance moves. They find themselves instantly abandoned. Suddenly, they realize the dreaded truth - they're "gayncient". Haley and Claire have decided to behave like adults with each other, which apparently means spilling all their sex secrets. Claire goes on about what a cool mom she is now. Then Haley admits that she wants to get a tattoo and it all goes up in smoke. I mean... a tattoo?! On an adult human? GASP!
Claire pretends it's fine, but then calls Phil and demands he arrive immediately to distract her from getting the tattoo, because adults have no bodily autonomy anymore. Jay is not ready to give up on his mythical car deal, though, so they can't leave the dealership.
Alex takes the boys aside and tells them to stop talking about sex in front of Lily. Luke has a bizarre comment about Americans being uptight about sex, which makes no sense since he's just as America as the other two. Also, Nolan Gould is really unable to act anymore. Lily arrives and asks to know the answer. The three teens pretend thatÂ theyÂ don't know, which is actually pretty inspired. But wait! It turns out that Lily has known all along, and settles down to tell them. Considering her own origins, it probably involves Vietnam and an airplane.
Gloria finds a tattoo shop at the last minute, which is totally not sending up red flags, and suggests that Haley and Claire get matching tats to commemorate the night they finally saw each other as adults. Cam and Mitch babble about how they're still totally cool, and jump on the matching tattoo bandwagon as well.
Jay has apparently made a pact with Satan and beaten Phil's deal. A depressed Phil gets into the car with the salesperson, who whispers to him that the original deal was much better. Turns out that the salesperson is putting on an act, Jay paid the difference, and there was no special deal. Phil practically cries, as usual.
Claire "tightass" Dunphy ACTUALLY GOES THROUGH WITH THE TAT. I am stunned. She gets Sanskrit for "mother", and Haley will get "daughter", though I assume it will actually end up saying "mealworm" and "buttercup". Haley is starting to chicken out, though, which pisses off Claire, who is afraid she'll be perceived as having honoured her own (crazy) mother. Before we can resolve anything, though, Phil pulls up with the brand new car and Haley's delicate skin is saved. Cam and Mitch also use the opportunity to bail on the tattoo. Lily narrates the ending sequence, talking about her perfect future, which turns into the sex talk - it turns out that you have to put eggs and tadpoles in a glass and the woman has to drink it. Shudder. That was more disturbing than I imagined it would be.
Tag scene - Phil is thrilled that Claire has a tat, since now he can finally get one of his own. Unfortunately, he's considering the world's worst tramp stamp. End.
Well, I honestly liked this. The kids' plot provided its share of laughs, fleeting as it was, and the drunken storyline had some fun moments as well. The show is sometimes in danger of overusing its given family dynamics, so shaking things up a bit this week was the right way to go. It's good to see the show back on a bit more of an even keel, especially heading into the Christmas hiatus. Happy holidays, and join me tomorrow for The Big Bang Theory!