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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 5.9 - The Big Game


crazyforkate

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blog-biggame.jpg 

ERIC STONESTREET

No points for guessing what this one's about. Actually, no points for guessing the entire plot, including the specific way that Phil will make an ass of himself and everyone will learn something.

Everyone's headed to Luke's football game, but unfortunately they've hit a few snags. Haley's preoccupied with a midterm, Phil is showing a house, Alex hates everyone, and Luke is planning to quit anyway (he just runs the scoreboard anyway). Phil urges them never to give in, because "there is no 'done' in Dunphy". When his kids stomp off in exasperation, he calls Cam instead. Unfortunately, Cam is nervous about the big game and doesn't really want to hear from anyone. He also has a plethora of superstitions, which drives Mitchell nuts.

Mitch, meanwhile, has some dramas of his own going on - he's quitting his job just before the game. I'm sure his boss will be devastated. To give himself some space to do this, he's asked Gloria to pick Lily up. Lily, in the midst of a childhood crush on some kid called Patrick, is eager to spill all to her stepgranny. "He can count to a hundred!" "He sounds like the whole package," Gloria sighs. She advises Lily to make Patrick notice her, so she doesn't wind up a lonely nine-year-old.

Claire and Jay are driving Manny to the game with a stop at work first, but Claire asks to be dropped off away from the office - she needs to make some sort of mysterious phone call to Phil...oh, wait, know, she doesn't want to be seen as just the boss's daughter. Valid concern, I grant you, but Jay's kind of offended. He starts venting about it to Manny - who promptly asks to be dropped off far from the game. Opening credits.

Mitchell has been offered a job in legal aid and has to quit his old one. However, his boss, Charlie (Justin Kirk) is going through a rough time right now and is pretty needy. Mitch tries to quit, but inadvertently winds up inviting Charlie to the football game. Whoops.

A coworker goes after Claire for a relatively minor mishap, and Jay decides to intervene. The coworker backs off, but Claire is pissed off - especially when Jay breaks out a mug with her baby picture on it. She can't stand being constantly perceived through her connection with Jay, and tells him to butt out. He sadly looks at the mug and wonders what happened to that little girl.

Cam is driving his team into the ground. This game is make or break - if he wins today, he will hold the record for most games won by a first-season coach at this particular high school. This being Cam, he will fight for this slightly dubious honour to the death. He recruits a reluctant Luke as announcer, ensuring a madcap day. The other team shows up wearing black armbands due to the sudden death of their coach the night before. Of course, this does not change Cam in the slightest. They will win at all costs.

Phil narrates about perseverance, which is especially apt since he lost the keys to his latest property. He's about to go a full month without a sale for the first time ever, so the drive to succeed is particularly strong. Naturally, rather than calling someone, he just breaks in - and steps right into the fish tank, ruining his pants in the process. He nonetheless continues to prepare the house, pantsless. And then he locks himself out again. He gets in through another window - and drops his shoe into the snake terrarium. Undaunted, he tries to charm the snake out with a recorder. Just then, the doorbell rings. That's our Phil!

[deleted paragraph extolling the continued comic genius of our beloved Ty Burrell]

Fortunately, he pulls himself together enough to let the couple in, though he has to wipe his face on a cat first. However, his efforts are moot - they're barely in the front hall before they tell him they're expecting a baby and want to put off buying a house for a while. Phil takes it graciously, as usual.

Some kids at the football game mistake Haley for a student and ignore Alex, much to her dismay. Luke is at his debut announcing gig, and has evidently taken a page out of Loony Lovegood's commentating book, as he mercilessly trashes the entire football lineup. Naturally, the affected guys start to fumble pretty fast.

Haley and Dylan run into each other at the concession stand. He's dumb and sweet as ever. Weirdly enough, I don't think he and Haley are dating, because they seem to be surprised to see each other. Since when did they break up again? I can't keep track. Mitch, meanwhile, has brought his gloomy boss and is feeling rather miserable himself.

Gloria arrives to pick up Lily at school, only to hear that she's in trouble for trying to kiss Patrick. Gloria brushes it off as something harmless. However, Patrick runs in fear when Lily so much as looks at him, and she sends little Evan running with the warning that "You're next." Gloria rushes her away before the teacher's eyebrows can rise any further.

Dylan and Haley have gone behind the bleachers, where Dylan shows her the spot where he carved her name. Naturally, they've locked lips within seconds. It's on again, though I never noticed it was off.

It's halftime, and Cam's in despair. The team is losing, badly, and it's all thanks to Luke. One of the guys offers to go and beat up the kid. You know, I think Cam would take him up on it if it wasn't his nephew. He settles for another pep talk/emotional trauma. Manny argues for compassion, since the team has been through a loss already. Cam says they should give it their all and truly make it a game worthy of the dead coach. And to be honest, I can see his point there.

Claire chats with the pushy coworker in the company warehouse. She's cleared up her mistakes, and all is going well. However, in the process, she accidentally locks herself in the display model. Truly a woman worthy of Phil Dunphy's heart.

Jay calls her at that moment, wanting to know when she'll be ready to leave for the game. Naturally, Ms Perfect is too proud to admit her little problem. They squabble over their work dynamic. Eventually, she manages to climb out the top of the closet, something I should point out you can't do with a ceiling. Jay plays it cool the whole time, never letting on that he's been watching her struggles on a security camera the whole time. Even when she knocks over all the boxes in the warehouse. Only then does Jay inform her of the latch's location.

We cut to Jay and Claire at the game (I assume they teleported), where Claire admits that she's been a little uptight about the issue and Jay promises to back off. Everyone's happy again!

Phil shows up looking like an 80's pop star in his borrowed house-showing clothes (his own being ruined by various tank pets). He promptly gets hit in the face with a football, because not enough has happened to him this episode. Luke is right on it with a snarky remark about the player who launched it. Claire asks if he's okay, and he assures her he is - though his garbled speech proves otherwise. CALL DR HOUSE! SOMEONE CALL DR HOUSE!

Oh, come on, you all knew it was a crossover waiting to happen.

housephil

 

Dylan and Haley agree to go out on a date. However, their busy schedules make it difficult to find the time, with Haley in community college and Dylan training to be a nurse (which should strike terror into everyone's hearts). They decide not to proceed, and Dylan fondly tells her that maybe someday he'll see her in the hospital. Haley is pleased.

Claire rants to Mitch about the Closet Incident. Cue closet/Mitch joke, of course. They argue about who has more daddy issues. She argues that he's turning his boss into a father figure, citing his inability to quit his job. Just then, Charlie shows up, holding the resignation letter that fell out of Mitchell's pocket. He's upset, of course, and tells Mitchell he's really letting the firm down. He guilt trips the hell out of his departing employee, and miraculously, Mitch sticks to his intentions with little backpedaling.

Lily bitches out Gloria for getting her into trouble at school, leaving Gloria at the mercy of the world's snarkiest six-year-old. Luke insults a particular player one too many times, causing the boy to desert the team. Phil bemoans his lack of a deal. Claire helpfully points out that since there's no 31st this month, he's actually done today. Phil is devastated.

Just then, in the space of a few seconds, the team scores a goal and Phil manages to sell a house. Huh?! Well, okay, then. The team's last hope lies with Manny, who is reluctant to compete because of the coach situation. Cam yells at him for daring to take away his victory. Realizing that he's gotten too caught up, he apologizes to Manny, but still encourages him to go out there. Manny gets out, scores a miraculous goal (I have no idea how football works, but they seem happy).

Alex has been called "ma'am" by one of her classmates. Since she's feeling down, Haley drags her behind the bleachers with the excuse of a dropped phone. She points out that someone wrote "Alex Dunphy Do Me", or rather, "Alex Dunphy Dome" (Dylan's not good with spaces). That's right, Haley covered up the H and altered the Y in her name to make it look like someone was crushing on Alex. That is utterly adorable. Alex acts cool about it - but you can tell she's touched.

Manny's sitting on the bench, alone. Cam asks why he's not partying with the team. He admits that he wanted to miss the kick, thereby losing the match. His uncle encourages him to enjoy being part of a team, being a hero - and most of all, being competitive. With that, they leave the field for some hard-earned pizza. Cameron wonders if the field will ever be named for him...

Tag scene: Phil sold a house in the nick of time, and it was a really special and expensive house, too. He tells Haley this in the Dunphy kitchen over a snack. He concludes that the Dunphys have had a great day. This is countered when Alex, Luke and Claire race through the kitchen, chatting on their phones while trying to clear up the respective messes the episode left them in. Phil concludes that a positive attitude is best.

Well, this week was par for the course as far as I'm concerned. It was nice to see Manny and Cam build a bond through something rather unlikely, as well as Gloria and Lily, who may well be more similar than we thought. Phil pratfalls, of course, are always welcome. An unexpected standout was Nolan Gould, who brought a casual hilarity to Luke's bitter takedown of his classmates. I'd name him MVP of the evening if it weren't for Phil and the snake tank. Overall, it was nothing new but pretty solid - really an illustration of  Modern Family as a whole, come to think of it.

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