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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 9.3 - Larry's Wife


crazyforkate

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blog-eric-stonestreet-aubrey-anderson-emmons-modern-family-larrys-wife-abc.jpgERIC STONESTREET, AUBREY ANDERSON-EMMONS

 

For those of you who don't remember, Larry is Cam and Mitch's cat, adopted in Season 4 and named by Lily. Wonder why he has a wife? Let's find out.

Luke has some nerdy friends over, Alex and Haley are arguing. Alex is rocking some hipster glasses. Phil has discovered a new way to succeed at work - act like a nice guy to recently divorced moms buying new homes (and say some extraordinarily misogynist things behind their backs). This means he's going to be tempted by at least one before the episode ends, right? Before he can be led down the wrong road, however, Claire interrupts him. She has to go into the office. Can he go grocery shopping and concern himself with a few household chores? Unfortunately, Phil's sieve-like brain cannot process the two or three things Claire told him to do. Ha, a MAN has to look over the house. Men are so STUPID, it's not like any of them stay home to look after kids all the time or anything! Give us our Emmys! Or at least the opening credits!

Gloria returns home with horrible news. Joe, the little hellion, has been thrown out of Gymboree - again. The child is apparently rather violent. Okay, is every kid born during the series run going to turn out to be a sociopath? Because Lily's already well on her way, and we've seen proof of Joe's assholery before (see: his reaction to the DOMA ruling). Gloria, overprotective as usual, thinks the other babies are just wusses, but she does concede that Joe can be rough. It's because - get this - a devil cursed her family way back when! (So, we'll just ignore Manny's adorableness then? Okay.) Yeah, I wish they'd give Gloria a character trait besides "foreign", too. For being called "Modern Family" they're surprisingly reactionary.

Anyway, Jay's pretty dismissive of the whole thing, but Gloria's convinced. Her family is full of criminals and derelicts, and she thinks Joe is caught up in it. Jay, thinking the whole thing's overblown, leans toward just letting kids be themselves - until he sees Manny, whereupon he begins to grumble about having to take the kid to see The Sound of Music. He'd rather Manny be interested in more masculine films, like Death Wish (which Gloria confuses with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, because she's foreign and it's funny HA HA thisisstupid). Manny shoots him down with a barb that refers to Neil Simon. Another father-son adventure!

Cam and Mitch are all gushy with each other, trading "fiance" and "intended" in a way that makes me think Episode 2 was supposed to be aired first, because it sounds like they just got engaged last night or something. (They got engaged in Episode 1 - which was never mentioned again until now. Hasty rewrite after the Prop 8 ruling?) As we might have guessed, Cameron is planning the wedding. Due to the recent breakup of their friends, Andrew and Andrew, over wedding arguments, they have agreed that Mitch will keep his hands off and leave it to his more creative boyfriend. Yeah, this will last ten minutes-ish.

Lily interrupts the wedding talk by wondering where Larry is. Cameron assures her that cats like to wander, but it's been days, and both Lily and Mitchell are starting to worry. Yeah, this isn't Missouri, Cam - if you let that cat wander in LA it's probably coyote poop by now. To his credit, Cam knows this, but he's pretty blasé about the whole thing. In a few weeks they'll get a replacement Larry. Yes, that time-honoured tradition still plays out in our most modern but not-really-that-modern of families. It's the ciiiiiircle of liiiiiife!

 

lionking

 

Mitchell thinks they should talk through the loss instead, but Cam thinks it's just "farm life" - not getting attached to anything. Mitchell bitterly remarks that if he dies he'll be replaced in an instant. Of course not, Cam scoffs, because one could never find another guy with Mitchell's exact markings. Anyway, Operation Cowardly Parent is on, and they need to find a replacement Larry.

Luke (I'm still not used to this deep voice) plays a horrible trick on Alex - he gets her to close her eyes and have his friend kiss her. Ew, ew, EW! That is sexual assault, buddy! What a horrible thing to have done to your sister! Worst of all, since this is Modern Family, it's played for laughs. Those innocent teen boys. Innocent my ASS. Haley hates it too, but mostly because she thinks Luke's friend (Reuben) is a "weirdo". If he'd been hot, no problem. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! Anyway, the kiss was all part of some weird gambling thing Luke and his friends have. Haley wants in, and eventually bullies Luke into accepting her. This is dumb. Moving on.

Cam is putting together an increasingly elaborate (and tacky) wedding, which is driving Cam to distraction. That, and the fact that his office isn't perfectly clean. We get an actually pretty nice little speech from Mitch, about how he is able to trust another person thanks to his relationship with Cam. It's one of the few real-seeming moments as a couple we get from them, instead of "OH LOOK our personalities are opposite! Squee!"

Claire gets back from the office to find her yard a mess. She steps on a rake Sideshow Bob-style, and her subsequent rage is directed at Phil. She runs inside to find a bunch of teenagers in her house and what sounds like a prostitution ring being launched by Luke and his stupid friends. Phil assures her it will be fine, but she's not buying it. She accuses him of playing to his own ego by befriending the divorced ladies. Naturally, he denies it, painting himself as a comforter to the fallen. Unfortunately, his psychobabble won't work this time.

Gloria admits that Joe scares her, and she has called in a professional. That is, a priest, presumably to exorcise the little tyke. Joe (or "Fulgencio", as he has become in the priest's presence) screws things up right away. When she voices her concerns, however, the priest assures her that all mothers worry - just as Fulgencio Joe spells out "666" with his blocks. So, Lily is a sociopath, but Joe is Satan himself. Good to know.

Jay is fighting with the head of the Gymboree to get Joe back in the group, getting sufficiently angry that Manny suggests a "nice, relaxing trip to Nazi-occupied Austria". Unfortunately, Jay's on a roll. He yells at a teenager who bumps into him without saying "excuse me", and goes way too far, pulling up the kid's pants to cover his underwear. The kid is understandably pissed off, and so is Manny, because the kid and his friends are his classmates. Jay's ruined the entire situation, and gets a well deserved rant from his stepson for being "judgmental, hot-tempered and loud". Finally. I've been waiting for this from the beginning of Season 1. Jay may be old, but there's no excuse for being a jackass.

Phil has made the mistake of getting way too emotionally involved with his clients, as he finds when one divorced mom calls him while he's showing a house to another. He feels he has to hide each one from the other, and a series of waaacky hijinks ensues.

Lily tells Cam she's worried about Larry, and Cam finally does something sensible - he tells her that Larry's not coming back. He then promptly ruins it by saying that Larry's not dead, he just got married and moved away. When cats get married, apparently, they have to go live in the forest. This is promptly ruined when Lily spots Larry sitting happily on the other side of the room. Cam tells her the marriage didn't work out.

Of course, this prompts Lily to ask what would happen if Cam and Mitch got married and broke up. Instead of addressing this at all, Cam tells her he made a mistake. Larry's wife is dead. Not only that, but they're throwing a funeral. So the cat can have closure. For a nonexistent wife. Honestly? This is a pretty clever plot line. I like it, much better than the replacement tabby cat story you find in other works. Suddenly Cam has thrown himself into planning for the elaborate funeral of a cat who never existed. All while juggling calls to do with his own weddding. Cam says he feels great handling this crisis on his own - and Mitchell gave him that confidence. Aww, these two really should be getting married, even if they're terrible at handling presumed pet death. Meanwhile, Mitchell is still stuck in an office air vent that wasn't properly cleaned...

Turns out Luke's scheme is an elaborate card game, and he and Haley are deep in the hole. They need Alex's brains, and need them now. Alex turns them down, considering that Luke's dumbass friends totally invaded her personal space a few minutes before. They then threaten to tell everyone that Alex slipped Reuben tongue during the kiss she didn't ask for. Wow, Alex, you have the worst siblings on the planet. They are simply awful people. A kiss might seem like a minor thing, but if a person doesn't want it, she shouldn't have to have it. End of story. Your body is yours even for the smallest of interactions. I think Alex should change her name, move to Montreal or somewhere cool and be rid of these dumbasses forever. Hang in there, kiddo.

All the neighbors (and local cats) have been rounded up for the sad occasion. Lily asks about Larry's wife's nine lives, to which Cam replies that yes, she had eight previous lives and eight previous husbands to go with it. "Like Elizabeth Taylor," says Lily, to which Cam beams. I would snark on this, except my kid will probably say shit exactly like this at the same age. "Oh, you live in Connecticut! Just like Katharine Hepburn." Even Dylan (remember him?) has been hired as gravedigger, though he was previously unaware that they were cats. As a bagpiper plays, Cam gives a eulogy to Larry's (nameless) wife, which includes the lines "they always landed on their feet". Thankfully, at that point Dylan hits a pipe, spraying water everywhere and scattering the funeral guests.

Mitchell got over-zealous cleaning his office, and is now stuck in the air vent. He appeals to the general helplessness of the nearest intern, who is so busy trying to hide the fact that he was printing posters for his band that he'll do anything. Score. Mitchell's office is locked, so he has to be extracted right there in the hallway. In fact, the intern will catch him. This is definitely not a bad idea, folks. As he stands there, hands out, he starts in on the small talk - this time about Mitchell's upcoming wedding. Mitchell tells him about the details, which quickly becomes a rant about having no say in anything, and something called a "dove cannon". "You should let go," says the intern. "I can't!" Mitchell cries, only to realize that the intern means physically letting go of the vent to get down from it. Once Mitchell's on his own feet again, the intern suggests that he talk out these issues with his "lady". "I'm gay," says Mitchell. "Does she know?" the intern gasps. To his credit, Mitchell does not correct him, but merely gives a funny quip and goes.

He might not want to come home, though, because it's chaos. Screaming kids, pets on the loose and a hysterical Dylan make things just that much more difficult. Just as the gospel choir arrives late (no, you did not read that wrong), Cam rants about how he can't "winnow down" when planning a celebration, he can't possibly handle a wedding, and he needs Mitchell's help. Fortunately, Mitchell has just pulled into the driveway. They immediately agree that both of them should be involved in the wedding - they're "better together". Just then, the bagpiper runs from the house screaming about snakes. Mitchell presumably has a few questions.

Sitting down to the movie, Jay accidentally enrages viewers with a spoiler. Yes, a spoiler for a movie from 1965. Manny still uses it as an excuse to look like a wounded puppy, though. Jay asks why Manny's "express your feelings" mantra doesn't apply to him. As the lights go down, a guy is talking on his cell phone. Manny seems to expect Jay to put up with Cell Phone Bastard behind him. WHAT?! Everyone knows that is not humanly possible. And indeed, Manny succumbs to temptation soon enough, as soon as Cell Phone Bastard describes Julie Andrews as "the chick from that crapfest Mary Poppins." Hell, Manny gets violent over that.

The priest has been injured, since Joe got hold of a fork. Gloria explains the story of her family. The priest assures her that her concern makes her a good mother. Clearly he has never heard of STFU, Parents, has he? Just then, Jay and Manny walk in, loudly recounting their violent day out, in which they got kicked out of the theatre and wound up seeing Death Wish. The priest concludes that maybe there's something to Gloria's tale after all, and gives her his card. Unfortunately, the baby stole the wallet.

At the grocery store, Claire looks for food while Phil chats up a recently-divorced client, Lorraine. His wife is not happy to see this, especially as Phil is getting friendly with Lorraine's kid. Just then, his other divorced client shows up. As they start to argue, a third woman arrives. Phil's web of lies is unraveled in seconds. The word "just another client" emerges. Claire then pretends to be a fourth client, embarrassing him still further. However, she has a different motive - she basically tells them Phil is the best realtor ever and not only sold her a great home, but saved her personal life after a terrible divorce from the dorkiest husband ever (who sounds very familiar). Phil is forced to admit Claire was right. Sitcom trope, go back into your creaky old coffin.

Tag scene - Alex won back Haley and Luke's stuff, but went back and lost all her money. Haley quotes Greek mythology. Reuben shows up for a date with Alex? Huh?

Okay. Mitchell's storyline was repetitive but had some very funny moments, Phil's was pointless, Gloria's went nowhere and was vaguely racist, Jay and Manny had way too little time but might actually have done something interesting with better handling, and the kids' storyline sucked. It was just awful. However, the evening belonged to Cameron and the ersatz funeral. I do admire their ability to keep so many hoops rolling and have all the stories come together, even if some plots are better than others.

Some new stuff is being explored, which is nice, but I'd love to see Modern Family do something a little more risky. I know they're your classic bland family sitcom (there have been gay couples on mainstream shows since the 80s!), but stepping out a bit just might win them back a ton of respect. In the meantime, let's all sit back and drink to Larry's wife.

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