"Modern Family" -- "Starry Night" Recap

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Photo from ABC
Ah, it's a night of emotional crisis on Modern Family. At Chez Claire, both Haley and Luke have school emergencies -- she needs to bake a batch of cupcakes; he needs to complete a project on Vincent Van Gogh. (Middle child Alex, predictably, is no problem. Middle child repreSENT!).

Claire's plan is for each parent to oversee one emergency; Phil says all right, but he's not going to crawl up Luke's heinie. He has faith in Luke's ability go get it done with minimal intervention. "You can't help smothering him. It's built into the word. You never hear of someone sfathering a kid." Welp. This should be interesting.


Things start off as you might expect, with Haley admitting she's faking incompetence so her mom will take over with the cupcakes, and she can yak on the phone. It works remarkably easily! Masterful stroke, Haley.

Alex decides Luke must have ADHD and reads off the symptoms. As she does, we see … Phil acting each one of them out: He's the distracted one. Alex's reading is interrupted by a huge CRASH when Phil's distracted meandering results in a minor garage tragedy. Claire is so pissed! She bolts upstairs to see what Luke is up to: Playing with Mr. Potato Head. Now she's super-pissed! Phil vows to stay on top of Luke just as soon as he cleans up the garage and apologizes for "not underestimating Luke enough."

Ah, but before he can finish, Luke appears with an amazing report on Van Gogh. The Mr. Potato Head was being plundered for ears -- get it? Anyway, now the apology is on the other foot, and though Claire doesn't exactly apologize, she does toss all her cupcakes in the trash (the horror!), telling Haley she can do her work herself. Because Phil's right: kids will rise to the occasion. Busted.

Poor Cameron feels like he's had foot-in-mouth disease with Gloria, so he plans a great outing with her. But when she rejects his schmantzy restaurant choice and wants to go to a funky little Latin place, he goes into overcompensating overdrive, even going so far as to order a horribly spicy dish just to impress her. He impresses her, all right -- with his profuse sweating and shrieking "I feel like I ate the SUN!" Ah, but when he admits his worries, they bond, the moment only marred by the fact that Cameron's tires were stolen while they were in the restaurant. Gloria goes all Ricky Ricardo, but in English. Ruh?

Mitchell, the gay son, is excited to do the one bonding ritual he has with his dad: watching the meteor shower up in the mountains. But he's chagrined to find Manny's coming, too -- and is being totally obnoxious. We see why in a flashback. When Manny worries that he doesn't know how to act with a brother, Jay says it's easy: Just be as obnoxious as possible. Thanks, Dad. The night is totally painful, with Cameron getting sprayed by a snake and ending up in a dress (don't ask). In the end, Jay explains his gaffe and Mitchell has a warm and fuzzy heart-to-heart with Manny.

What did you think of this episode? Did you believe Gloria really likes Cameron? What's your favorite parent-bonding ritual?

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