It’s safe to say that the theme of tonight’s episode of Modern Family was miscommunication. Phil threw a boys’ night that turned into a gay tryst with guest star Matthew Broderick, Claire lied to herself about the importance of Alex winning a scholastic bowl, Mitch overestimated the severity of Jay’s dilemma, Cam ignored his loved ones’ complaints that he’s too controlling, and Manny misread a gaze from a passing girl.
Phil and Dave (Matthew Broderick)
After spending the day wiring the house to his iPad, Phil decides to heed Claire’s advice and go out and “play.” He meets Dave, an alumnus from his alma mater, at the gym (“a gay bar with dumbbells,” according to Cam) and extends an innocent invitation to watch their college’s football game. Unbeknownst to him, Dave thinks they’re meeting for a date. With Cam’s encouragement to finally move on with his love life, Dave heads to Phil’s house with spinach dip and without any inhibitions.
Of course the twist is that Phil doesn’t know that Cam is friends with Dave and Cam has no idea that that Phil is the man Dave’s meeting. Cam and Mitch cancel on Phil (exactly as Cam tells Dave will happen) and the two of them are left alone in the house … drinking margaritas. When Dave notices the photos of Claire on the wall, he gets a bit anxious, but Phil reassures him that he has his wife’s full approval. “She suggested it. She knows I need this every so often. As long as I clean up afterward, she’s fine,” he says, sending even more mixed signals. Dave gets cold feet and leaves after Phil suggests heading “up to the bedroom for some halftime festivities” when the cable in the living room shuts off. After sharing a wet, sticky hug (they spilled margaritas on themselves), Dave gives Phil a peck and leaves. It takes Phil another minute to register what happened. He really is dim.
Claire and Alex
Claire, Alex, Luke, and Manny go out of town for Alex’s Academic Challenge. After missing the very first question, the reigning chap is eliminated from the competition. Claire initially says she wants Alex to lose so she can enjoy the hotel’s water slide, but soon realizes she’s more upset by the loss than Alex is. The ultimate stage mom really does want to parade her daughter around like a show pony. Then again, her other children take after Phil so can you blame her for wanting another winner in the family?
Manny and Luke
After hopeless romantic Manny feels a connection with a passing stranger, he crashes three bar mitzvahs to find his soul mate. When he finally hunts her down (thanks to Luke’s expertise), he spills his heart out. “My name is Manny Delgado and I’ve been searching for you since you smiled at me in the lobby today, maybe even my whole life. It’s too late for us to have the magical night I was hoping for, but it’s not too late for us to have a memento of what might have been,” he declares. She joins him in the photo booth for a few minutes, but leaves soon afterward. Poor Manny just can’t get a break with the ladies.
Jay, Gloria, Cam, and Mitch
In order to get them out of the house long enough for their baby present to be prepared, Cam takes Gloria to lunch and Mitch goes shopping for a crib with his dad. Cam surprises the couple with a mural of the Pritchett-Delgados (floating on a cloud in the form of Greek gods) almost identical to the one that appears in Lily’s nursery. Before the big reveal, Cam practically holds Gloria hostage in her backyard and Mitch unsuccessfully tries to bond with Jay. Jay budges a little and tells Mitch that he’s upset that his office is being converted into a nursery. It may be a baby step, but it’s a giant leap for Jay.
Tonight’s best lines:
Phil: I think when you get home you’re going to be very surprised that his house has an actual functioning brain in it.
Phil: I am … not too bright … I am … dim.
Claire: Honey, we have an hour until the competition. Do you want to go to the contestants’ mixer?
Alex: I don’t want to humanize them.
Luke: You made a very similar speech to get my mom to stop for those churros.
Gloria: It’s either going to be a football player or a chorus girl.
Cam: You can be both. My senior year I was a right side linebacker and a left side can-can dancer in Gigi.
Phil: 1984 — it’s kind of a lucky number for me. It’s the year Footloose came out.
Cam: I can’t remember the last time a man made that sound for me.
Luke: Such a hurry this one.
Alex: Oh, don’t deny it. You bought the two-day cushion.
Phil: As long as I clean up afterward, she’s fine.
Claire: Haley emails me pictures of her nails. Luke asked me if he’s part owl.
Luke: Have a little faith. Did the Jews give up when the Egyptians chased them to the banks of the Red Sea?
Luke: Was I the only one listening to uncle Menachem’s toast?
Phil: How about we head up to the bedroom for some halftime festivities?