While I wouldn’t call tonight’s season finale (sniff, sniff) the funniest or best episode of the season, I would say that it did its job. It wrapped up the season nicely by showcasing the wit and wisdom of all the various family members, and it showed us (ever so briefly) some of the highlights from season 2. Tonight’s episode centered on Jay’s birthday — a fitting way to say goodbye, I would argue, as his character seemed to do the most growing this season (come on, he let Manny keep the puppy). While everyone tried to create the perfect evening for him, in typical Modern Family fashion, they ended up ruining his entire day (and night). Poor Jay just wanted to spend the day in solitude, fishing on a boat and eating his sausage of the month – it’s the little things, people. But instead he had to run all over town saving members of his family from dogs, doing errands, and even picking up and paying for his own birthday cake. Well, at least the family had the best of intentions.
For the occasion, Claire and Mitchell planned to re-create a childhood photo of themselves in their old backyard, complete with pigtails and sailor suit – an idea inspired by the brilliant Phil, who had done the same thing for his parents the year before (but of course in that case, it involved a plate of spaghetti dumped on his head). Sadly, their plan was foiled when they broke into the backyard and were chased up a tree by a dog. It wasn’t a total loss, though, because Claire had Jay’s birthday bottle of wine with her, and she and Mitchell proceeded to get drunk while stuck in the tree (did I mention that Mitchell was in a sailor suit?). P.S. Is anyone going to try Claire’s neat trick for opening a bottle of wine without a corkscrew? I certainly am! After the siblings had quality bonding time in the tree (and expressed hilarious jealousy over Manny – “Manny gets everything,” snipped Claire), they asked Jay to come get them, reverting to little kids while riding in the back of his car. It was a moment that proved what perfect siblings Julie Bowen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson make.
Meanwhile, Phil and Gloria hit the mall, where Gloria was shopping for a gift for Jay with Lily, and Phil was dealing with a nemesis from his past – Glen Whipple (Childrens Hospital’s Rob Huebel, funny as always). Seeing Glen Whipple whipped Phil into a frenzy of insecurity, and caused him to go slightly insane, which was apparent when he tried to pass off Gloria as his hot Latina wife to make Whipple jealous. Yet it turned out that the grass is not always greener, and Whipple was actually jealous of Claire, whom he assumed Phil had ended up with. Ah, Phil, will you never learn? Still, his temporary insanity did result in some funny insta-married couple exchanges with Gloria (“What now!?” Phil snapped at her).
Elsewhere on the failed birthday front, Cam couldn’t even manage to pick up Jay’s birthday cake. While on the phone giving Manny love advice (who else loves Cam’s role as manly uncle to Manny?), he was kicked out for being a pedophile (his unsuccessful defense: “No, it’s not what you think. I’m talking to a little boy”). And Haley and Alex hadn’t gotten any decent footage for the family video that they’d been compiling for a year – it may not have been appropriate as a tribute to Jay, but it was one of the funnier parts of the show for us viewers. Luckily (or not so luckily), Luke came to the rescue! And we all know what happens when Luke gets involved in any situation.
So what did Jay end up with? A mutilated cake, a half bottle of merlot, a lip-shaped “sexy phone,” and a 10-second video of his family screaming his name in what ultimately served as a mini season-highlight reel. Though thanks to Manny, he did get a little boating action, and the entire family wound up in a boat in the middle of his pool. (So much for solitude.) The episode ended on a touching note with Cam and Mitchell saying they wanted to have another child – maybe a boy this time. Dare I say cliff-hanger? Will season 3 open with Mitchell and Cam on a plane with another baby? We can only hope.
Other random highlights of the evening:
Lily showing up at Gloria’s door with a rose – have you ever seen anything so adorable?
Manny’s online-dating life
Cam’s secret jock alter ego
NEXT: The best quotes of the night