'Modern Family' Recap: Lies Abound When Phil Is Forced to Do Hard Time

Modern FamilyLife in a modern family is not always easy. This is something of which we were wryly reminded in tonight's return of ABC's hit sitcom Modern Family. It's easy to hate on sitcoms in general, but hard to turn any sort of ire at the lovable Dunphy/Pritchett clan in particular. I mean, every single episode is basically only a language away from being straight-up French farce. 

Tonight was no different. In the span of 22 minutes, we had a wedding cancelled and then un-cancelled, an arrest, a hunt for hidden treasure, and a birthday party. Also, there was a lighthearted cousin romance (barf) and a male nanny encroaching on an older dad's turf. A good time had by all! 

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The big moment this episode was Phil Dunphy getting carted off to the clink because lovable Haley the moron had incurred so many unpaid parking tickets. I laughed aloud (lol'ed as the kids say) at Phil's abject terror in the face of jail. I laughed even harder when Luke, furious at his dad for conning him into taking a ballroom dance class ("You said it was autopsy camp!"), took slightly too much joy from his father's predicament. 

Claire was at her zany best. I know she's the uptight one, so it's nice when she gets to break away from the mold and do some of the slapstick at which she so excels. Claire frantically hunted the house for the emergency cash the family keeps on hand to bail out Phil. The look on her face as she groped around the fireplace and then a cheerleader's costume was comic gold. Oh, stick in the mud. You do have your moments. 

I get that Jay Pritchett is supposed to be the "old school" dad on family number two -- it's a modern family, yeah, yeah, I know. Still, whenever he humiliates (the admittedly irritating) Manny, I get deeply uncomfortable. The best family-based sitcoms work where there is a foundation of love -- that's what makes Trophy Wife so good! It's ultimately a show about decent people who care about each other. The way Jay dug into Manny this episode about picking girls who might actually express an interest in him for a change was a prime example of what I'm talking about. Sure, he did a quick about face in the final moments of the episode -- but it didn't feel earned to me.

What do you think of the Jay/Manny dynamic?


Image via ABC

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