'Modern Family' recap: Phil vs. the Smoke Monster

It was fitting for tonight's episode to open on Phil Dunphy, because this was, in my opinion, his strongest showing. He had a few challenges to defeat: A smoke alarm beep that couldn't be quelled no matter how many of the buggers he shut off, a month-long realty dry spell (was this MF’s first reference to the economy?), an out-of-commission Claire, or "Typhoid Clairy," as he called her, sick in bed for the day. To compensate, Phil donned an apron and readied ladyfinger cookies for a bake sale, only to rue the favor later when Claire’s hunky gym instructor stopped by. "I burned my ladyfingers," Phil said, wincing at a handshake, the smoke alarm negating his manhood with every beep. In the end he did manage to remasculate, but not before going medieval on every smoke alarm in the house with his "burglar basher," aka college cheerleading baton.

I loved the secondary storyline to this – Claire in bed with Haley – because it led to a spot-on breakdown of the Claire/Phil chemistry. "He’s kind of a dufus I guess, but I thought you liked that about him," Haley says. Phil is a dufus, Haley. Claire does like that about him. (Beating heart: still, please!).

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