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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 6.20 - Knock 'Em Down




Jay is preoccupied with his new Costco picture, feeling like it's missing "sparkle". He vows never to visit Costco again, which will likely horrify devotee Cam. In fact, Jay is bowling with Cam this evening, as a substitute for someone on that bowling team we've never heard of before. It's deadly important because Cam has to beat yet another of his rivals. Gloria, Haley and Mitch (huh?) are going clubbing (what?), which Cam predicts will be extremely boring and end early. Lots of awkward dancing ensues. Opening credits.

Phil shows a house in his neighbourhood to an extremely skittish couple, who are freaked out by a "pornographic" statue across the street (and no, it doesn't appear to belong to Ronnie and family). The statue just looks artistic, from what I can tell through the blur. I, uh, get the feeling the wife's blog probably appears on our forum somewhere. Phil explains that the statue has been a problem for months. In fact, everyone in the neighbourhood is getting annoyed, except for Alex, who is all about free speech. (And yeah, if I were her I'd defend it to the death too, because her neighbourhood sounds really fuckin' boring.) The parents behave like, well, parents, and even Ronnie objects, believing that porn is a - um - private thing.

However, despite their outrage, nobody actually wants to do anything about it. As the group of neighbours are breaking up, Ronnie and Amber invite Claire and Phil to join them for dinner. The Dunphys act like total jackasses about this kind invitation, but eventually agree. Well, this is going to be fun. (Actually, as I've said before, I'd rather live next door to Ronnie and Amber than to tightass Claire.)

As they arrive at the bowling alley, Cam lets something slip - this is an all-gay bowling league, so rather than be disqualified, he has told everyone that Jay is gay. This is going to backfire in like five minutes, and Jay wants to walk out. Cam begs him to go along with it. Sure enough, soon Jay is meeting Cam's buddies, but not before Cam has a confrontation with his rival.

Haley meets up with her uncle and step-grandma for some pre-game, and come on, this is ridiculous. Have you ever met a twenty-something, anywhere, who goes clubbing with her uncle and step-grandma? Exactly. Gloria and Mitch are both traumatized by the thought of not having the night start until 10:30. This is not looking good.

However, the bowling game is going well, for everyone except Jay, that is. Furthermore, a lot of people are noticing that Jay doesn't turn up on their gaydar. Cam begs Jay to "flounce it up a bit", because nothing can stand in the way of that bowling trophy.

Amber and Ronnie take the Dunphys to a restaurant where they are clearly regulars, and the waiter's name is Guy, which causes some confusion. They bring expensive wine and are very nice and interested in the Dunphys, which of course the Dunphys completely crap on. They find out that the LaFontaines' son is going to Juilliard for piano and composition, and definitely do not give this news the nice reaction it deserves. They find out the bottle of wine cost five hundred dollars. So - now they're going to kiss up to the trashy neighbours just because they have money and status? Ugh.

Meanwhile, Jay keeps flouncing around, but Mark (the rival, played by Oliver Platt) is unconvinced. Cam tries to convince Mark that Jay is into him. Wait, haven't we seen a plot similar to this like eight times already? So Mark buys Jay a drink and Jay is obviously full of questions. Cam has to come clean. Jay wails about how "You made me gay and now I have a boyfriend", but admires Cam's winning drive.

Everyone gets wasted at Cam and Mitch's. Mitch is almost too tired to go out, but Gloria and Haley beg him to. However, Gloria is yawning, too. They convince each other that staying in is in their blood, what with Mitch's kind loving to dance all night and Gloria coming from "the land of coffee and cocaine". More awkward dancing.

Dunphys and LaFontaines continue to bond, all brought together by the hatred of the statue. The discussion turns to getting rid of the eyesore. Claire thinks they should start a petition, but Ronnie has a better idea. Hint: it involves a rope and his truck. The Dunphys are hesitant. Immediately, the mood is gone - a scowling Ronnie and Amber call for the check. So naturally, Phil has to prove that he's still young...

Haley comes in prepared to party, but finds Gloria and Mitch passed out. And that's why you should have real friends, not hang out with your family all the time like you're the Duggars or something.



Jay sits next to Mark, and they engage in what can only be called flirting (along with some serious discussion of that Costco picture). Jay plays his part incredibly well. And even better, his game is back on - which Mark doesn't even begrudge.

Mitch and Gloria wake up to find Haley staring at them. Realizing that if they don't go they'll officially be old, they scramble to get going, even though Mitch is bleary-eyed and Gloria won't even let him have coffee. Monster.

Of course, the finals turn into Cam v. Mark, with both teams (The Britney Spares and The Merry Men) bowling spectacularly. The clinch happens when Jay turns Martin down for a date. They wind up winning by a healthy margin. Dirty tactics will get you anywhere, kids.

Gloria and Mitch enter the club and are instantly terrified by crushing modernity. Claire and Phil tell the camera how awkward the ride home with the LaFontaines was. However, as they approach their homes, they notice that the statue has lights on it. Claire tells them, in a deadly serious voice, to stop the car. Oh boy.

The couples are instantly friends again. Everyone save Phil goes to tie up the statue, but unfortunately, Phil stages a sit-in in the truck, so their wanton act of destruction is temporarily held up. In fact, Phil is the one who becomes the vandal, entirely unintentionally. Thinking that he is in drive, he reverses over the lawn and directly into the statue, and man, he is going to owe various neighbours a lot of money in the near future.

The Britney Spares gloat about their win and discuss "taking on the lesbians" next time. Jay is sportsmanlike with a devastated Mark. Unfortunately, he also chooses this moment to admit that he's straight. Mark immediately seizes on this, and combined with some awkward comments from Jay, the entire league immediately turns on him. The trophy is immediately forfeited and Mark has a victory dance. Cam is not amused.

The two couples drink wine on the front lawn and gloat about the statue, though Phil still feels guilty. Just then, a cop comes to ask some questions about the incident. It turns out that Phil knows the cop from having sold him a condo, so he manages to schmooze his way out of the situation quite easily. "Looks like you're sleeping with an outlaw tonight," says Phil, even though the cop is CLEARLY IN EARSHOT jfc. Unfortunately, Ronnie and Amber assumes that this includes them.

Tag scene - Not the aftermath of a four-way like you were all hoping, but instead Luke and Alex (wait, they were in this episode?) wondering what the hell is up with Mom and Dad and the neighbours being so friendly all of a sudden. She attributes it to the power of art, Luke to the presence of wine. He also shows her a drawing of his junk. Charming.

Also, what the hell has happened to Rico Rodriguez? He's been out several times this season. Did they dump him by the side of the road because Joe is cuter?

Tonight's episode was one of their better efforts. So the clubbing story was a nothing plot, as evidenced by the fact that they kind of forgot about it two-thirds of the way through. The bowling stuff did provide some good laughs despite being cliched as all hell. (Frankly, I've read other reviews that disagree and label Jay as the strong one - and it could be read many different ways. Tonight had a little something for everyone, tbh.) But in the end, the MVP plot goes to the LaFontaines and the Dunphys, proving they're young and wreaking some havoc, while discovering that they do indeed have common ground. This was mostly due to the presence of guest stars and the fabulous ending, but still, it was something new and oddly satisfying. If even Claire Dunphy can let loose a bit, maybe there's hope for everyone.

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