With more mixed up narratives, Modern Family continues to develop the characters’ relationships with each other but, more captivating for me tonight, the characters themselves. So this week we had Gloria, Mitchell and Manny head out to solve the problems of Gloria’s bad driving; Cam and Jay get a little closer-than-Jay’s-comfort level; and Claire and Hayley both break out of the typical Dunphy family structure to explore extra-familial relations while the younger kids bond over booze and Phil gets up to some hilarity on his own. So perhaps the unifying theme was something along the lines of facing aspects of one’s self one would rather not face…but all in all it was the moments of character development that got my attention this week.
Claire’s own self-realizations were perhaps the loveliest of all, especially hot on the heels of her bonding with Haley last week. Oscillating between thinking Valerie (Minnie Driver) envies her and then pities her, Claire attempts to show off her family situation, only to be met with a port-a-pottied hubby, drunk hillbilly children fornicating on the (first time it’s not broken) stairway, and a rampant rat. There’s no a-ha moment where Valerie realizes that the family life really is the true path of womanhood (thank God!). Instead Claire faces the incommunicability of why she loves what she loves as much as she does. I admit, I was bummed that we still had to face a dichotomy of options – successful career woman (with multiple lovers) vs. sad-about-her-monogamy-stay-at-home mum. I like to think that matters of vocation, family, desire and love are infinitely more complex than such a binary suggests. Nevertheless, it was good to see both women appreciate their lot in life and leave satisfied rather then continue to envy the grass on the other side.
Funniest and most poignant of all, then, were Jay and Cam’s escapades. I am loving the ongoing development of their relationship and the way it plays out in the sporty arena. That Jay tries to accept and embrace his son’s sexuality is made even more beautiful and yet bittersweet by the fact that he relates so much more easily to his son’s (flaming bear of a) partner, Cam, than he does to his own son, Mitchell. Jay picks the worst moment to learn that not all moon-landing type contact has to be viewed as sexual when a gay man is involved by rubbing his butt up against an actor surely chosen for his stereotypically homophobic appearance. Embarrassment aside, this realization nevertheless allows him a moment of bonding with his son-in-law as the two escape together.
Best lines in the episode:
Phil to Hayley: “5 months later we were 4 months…away from having this little bundle of joy” – the look on Hayley’s face was perfect!
Mitchell’s somehow sad and hilarious: “I never used to let people in [referring to driving]. Now I do…just now getting that metaphor.”
Cam: “High-5, low-2”
Dylan on Anne Hathaway: “I like her movies. She’s everywoman!”
Claire: “No you can’t, Mario!”
And the winner – Phil’s description of Jagermeister as being like that potion that makes princesses fall asleep to get kissed by the prince…only instead of waking up in a castle, waking up in a frat house with a bad reputation.
Posted by Natalie.
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