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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 6.21 - Integrity





Considering that Integrity is the name of a very famous LGBT Episcopalian organization, I assume this will be about Cam and Mitch moving to Connecticut, drinking sherry and playing polo, right?

Manny has had a bad day, because the girl he likes has found someone else. Jay tells him to buck up. If you ask me, Rico Rodriguez needs to join Nolan Gould in acting school again. Jay also discovers that Gloria had Joe's toenails painted, to which he reacts in a typical old-man way. Gloria of course has no time for this nonsense, telling him to go help Phil pick up Lily's princess castle from Cam and Mitch's - Joe is now about to inherit it. Jay wisely doesn't quibble, but he does roll his eyes when Manny wanders by muttering about lavender bath beads. Cue a bad pun. Well, that's a promising start to the episode.


Phil is about to buy an original Ms. Pac-man, and not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited for him. Ms. Pac-man was awesome. It's also awards day at school. Alex is super-excited, and Claire for her, though she worries about the other children feeling bad. After all, Mitchell is clearly inferior to her.

Speaking of which, Cam and Mitch are sad because their upstairs neighbour has passed away. However, they're not too sad to preclude buying the geezer's apartment. Also, Cam wants another baby, so they'll need the space soon. He thinks Mitch doesn't want it, but Mitch is totally on the same page (and also thinks Cam is not on board). So we're Gift of the Magi-ing through this episode.

Both girls distinguished themselves at the Dunphy kids' high school, but Luke is so nondescript that the principal has no idea he exists, even when Claire arrives to talk about him. She's here to beg the principal to give him some awards, because she has no shame and the era of the Helicopter Mom is alive and well. The principal rightly tells her that it's not possible, but does try to console her by mentioning that Luke was in the running for the Integrity Award. Again, Claire begs, but then realizes what an asshole she's being and leaves the office in embarrassment. But not without trying to bribe the principal.

Haley has her first day off in a month, but is called in by her boss to bring an orchid to the office. As usual, the boss is a demanding, condescending douche, making her go reserve him a parking spot near his favourite food truck (by standing there) and completely ruining her day. Gloria, who has come along for the ride, is really pissed off on Haley's behalf, but keeps quiet for now.

While Haley is standing around being a human traffic cone, Gloria shows up to make her feel better. She reveals that she has gotten back at the boss by stealing his flower. Of course, Haley is horrified, knowing that she'll get fired because her aunt is on a dumb crusade. To make matters worse, the boss pulls up just then.

Claire is still pissed about the award. When she sees the true winner pull up behind her, she decides to get her revenge. Once he's gone, she BACKS INTO HIM in order to frame him and display his lack of integrity.

Um, FUCK NO. What a stupid, selfish CUNT. You can cost that kid a bucket of money, ruin his insurance, and even get him CRIMINALLY CHARGED for that. Yeah, I'm going to go apeshit because even for Claire, this is a new low. Bitch.

Okay, all she did was push him into a handicap spot so he would get a ticket, but still, Jesus FUCK.

Cam and Mitch babysit little Joe and try to pretend to each other that they totally don't want another baby. Lily watches jealously. Finally, they admit to each other that they want to do this. One adoption coming up in...(checks how much longer the season will last) three episodes, tops!

Jay and Phil drive the princess castle over to Jay's, but Phil is strangely silent. Jay wonders what's going on. Phil tearfully confesses the story of Ms Pac-man. Jay counsels compromise to keep his wife happy. However, he has also been feeling henpecked, so the two of them decide to fuck compromise. Phil is getting that game come hell or high water, and orders it on his phone before anyone's thought it through.

Unfortunately, at this moment the castle falls off their truck. It's too damaged to ever use. Jay wants to quickly rebuild it before their wives find out, but riding on the spirit of "no compromise", Phil decides they'll have to be straight with them. It turns out Claire is actually on board with the Ms Pac-man thing, so no compromise needed. Also, Gloria has been planning all along to turn the princess castle into a pirate castle, because Joe's a boy (um, I can think of at least two things wrong here).

Meanwhile, little Joe turns out to be a demon, running around and destroying his brother and brother-in-law's home and possessions. Even so, Cam and Mitchell are still claiming it's cute, and still want another baby. However, then Joe ruins the precious white couch, as well as a fancy bowl, and it gets harder and harder to pretend. Finally, they admit that they like their current lives and maybe want to rethink the baby business. Lily mentions that Joe's stuck in a well. Cam and Mitch decide to leave him there.

Haley puts the flower back in the office, while Gloria berates her for actually caring about her job. Haley flips the fuck out and tells her that she has to be a doormat, because she doesn't have a rich husband to fall back on. Ooh, kitty has claws. Unfortunately, while this is going on, she uses the word "jackass" to describe Gavin just as he walks in. Looks like Haley's fashion career is over. Thanks, Gloria.

She decides to give him an angry phone call, but Gloria stops her, saying that there's a time to hold back. Her own temper has gotten her into trouble more times than she can count. She says she will straighten it out. So she goes into Gavin's office and threatens him with what sounds like Mob connections. Stay classy, Gloria. Haley goes back to being a happy doormat once again.

Luke wins the stupid award and Claire pretends to be surprised. Not an ounce of shame. However, Luke is very pissed off, because it's a nerd award and you get bullied for it. (The award's name is "Boniface", but because Americans can't pronounce "Boniface" properly, it immediately gets skewered to "Bonerface".) Also, everyone knows that someone pushed the other guy's car, which makes me wonder why they changed the winner in the first place. Luke thinks Manny did it, and Manny reveals that Luke stole his girl, so they get into a badly-acted fight. Alex struts around bragging about all the awards she won. Claire finally admits her treachery. Luke is mortally offended that his mother rigged a competition for him, as any sane child would be.

Luke is still in a bad mood, because he actually doesn't want to date the object of Manny's affections, but doesn't want to break Manny's heart, even. Claire tells him how proud she is while Alex bemoans that she's still neglected, even when she does something right. Free Alex, you guys, Free Alex.

The castle is nearly complete, but the guys are getting frustrated with the building process. Joe absolutely loves it, though, even though it's still princess-themed. Unfortunately, the minute he steps into it, the structure collapses (he's okay). Jay blames Joe, Gloria yells at Jay, and finally the guys are forced to come out with the truth. Alex narrates about the help of family and moral decisions. We flash back to Alex presenting the award while Luke protests.

Tag scene - Alex wins everything and acts like Queen of the Universe about it. She may be neglected by her family, but damn if I don't want to kick her ass sometimes.

I felt this episode meandered quite a bit, despite having a central theme. Not a lot of it was funny, but there were some good moments featuring Gloria, and featuring Joe at his brother's house. Ultimately, it skimmed these ideas without really delving into them, so it was a fairly thin stretch. The best Modern Family episodes can balance several stories and let them run alongside each other. This week's wasn't it.

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