Modern Family Recap: Cool Dad

Pacing that’s super hectic yet seamlessly carried off. One-liners galore. Minor misunderstandings that lead to medium-size revelations and just a smidge of sap. A great big prat fall or two. Family brunch. These are some touchstones of a typical episode of Modern Family, and they were all in full effect last night (this time with individual frittatas). The formula works really well, if at times it favors repetition over major plot development. And while some of the family secrets divulged last night were not exactly shocking (Claire Dunphy does not have the comportment of a regular practitioner of yoga breathing), they did allow for some truly touching moments — even some subtlety amid the gleeful mayhem. 

But let’s not begin with the secrets. Let’s bring Luke’s story line to the top of the page, because after a season of watching him smack-talk his cousin Lily with unabashed animosity — and steal scenes in the process — he’s earned it. After the rest of the family marvels over Lily’s cuteness at brunch, the camera pans over to Luke and Manny, who are sooo bitter — they used to be the cute ones. "We need to take her down," Luke says, malice in his eyes. They devise a prank (maybe the big secret revealed here is that Luke is actually a talented mastermind, able to construct an impressively elaborate trap to ruin Lily) involving dominoes, cookies as bait, and a carton of milk in prime falling position. Of course, things don’t go as planned — it’s Cam who takes the bait and ends up splat on the kitchen floor. (It’s the perfect opportunity for Cam to fake a back injury in order to have time alone at the Dunphy house — he wants to search for missing Tupperware Claire claims to have already returned to him, and he must prove himself right.) But the boys have other things to worry about — Luke wants to help Manny impress his latest crush Miranda ("she’s like a dream wrapped in a wish poured into jeggings"). When Cam offers them a modest sum to wash his car (anything to get them out of his plastic-seeking way), Luke takes the keys and cranks some jams, and he and Manny take a really slow but enthusiastic joyride by Miranda’s house. Miranda, it seems, is into bad boys — and this is definitely bad-boy behavior. Luke and Manny’s Thelma and Louise–ing makes Miranda take notice, and it also leads the boys to an epiphany: They can let Lily be the cute one because they’re the bad boys. Seriously, taking off in Cam’s car is really bad! It’ll be interesting to see if next week Luke’s war with Lily is really at a détente, and if Manny still manages to have swagger — it’s hard to be a bad boy and a mama’s boy simultaneously, after all. Read More...


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