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'Modern Family' recap: 'Playdates'

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Ron Tom/ABC

Modern Family

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-PG
seasons:
7
run date:
09/23/09
broadcaster:
ABC
genre:
Comedy

Tonight’s episode was packed with stars: guest stars, outdated star maps, and not-so-star-crossed lovers. We’ll start with that last one first:

Cam and Lily and the…Canadians

A Canadian family has been staying in Cam and Mitch’s space upstairs, and when they visit, Lily curiously shuts down and runs away from chit chatting with them further. (Maybe she was uncomfortable with all the Canadian stereotypes that have been joked about since forever?) Cam realizes that she must have a crush on the family’s little boy, Monty (yeah, his name’s Monty), and goes to coach his daughter on dealing with a first crush because he didn’t have the best of times with his — only because his was a bronze statue, and kissing a frozen statue is never a good idea. 

Lily learns from Cam how to flirt with her crush, but when Cam sets up a lunch with the family, she doesn’t spend time talking to Monty at all. Instead, her attention (along with her eyelash-batting) is directed completely on Monty’s father, Rob. Cam, disturbed, pulls Lily aside and tells her that he shouldn’t have confused her about Monty in the first place and made her move forward about a crush without knowing all the details. Lily, slightly ashamed, buries her face into a pillow — which Cam also does a beat later after telling his story about the statue. Like daughter, like father? Speaking of daughters and fathers…

Mitchell and the Kids

…is not a band name. (Maybe it should be?) Instead, it’s the grouping of characters that only happened because the year before the kids in question forgot to give their dear Uncle Mitch a proper birthday present, leaving him with a coupon for “Uncle Mitchell’s Birthday Funday,” which, as Haley, Alex, and Luke admit, they never thought he’d use. 

Yet, this being Modern Family, Uncle Mitchell happily bounded into the Dunphy house and flourished that coupon. Haley proceeds to give her the omelette she had been making to make Claire approve of her next scheme, and Luke sings an impromptu “omelette song,” with inspired lyrics like “It’s your birthday / I’m an omelette” and dance moves like…well, whatever’s going on here:

Later, they try to drive Mitch around looking for something he would be excited to be surprised by on his Birthday Funday. Just as they’re about to give up (and Luke’s about to knock out Mitch for more brainstorming time), Haley spots a Star Maps stand, where they pick up a map to homes of celebrities. They wind up at Goodfellas/Something Wild/Field of Dreams star Ray Liotta’s house instead of Barbra Streisand’s (the map’s years out of date), but — surprise! — Goodfellas/Something Wild/Field of Dreams star Ray Liotta has mail he needs to take over to Barbra’s house. Mitch gets a story he can’t wait to tell again and again after he chats with Barbra over the intercom. And, yes, that voice telling Mitch to leave is indeed THE Barbra Streisand herself:

NEXT: The Dunphys and Pritchetts and their respective awkward double dates

[pagebreak]

Phil and Claire and their favorite couple from Cabo

The Dunphys are all set to celebrate Mitch’s birthday meet up with Tom and Lisa, a couple they met on vacation in Cabo, who during their past three meals together have failed to pick up the check, despite being the richest people the Dunphys know. Seriously: Tom is an investment banker who flies a helicopter and runs marathons and takes casual trips to Spain. Oh, and he’s played by Keegan-Michael Key, the underrated romantic comedy hero of 2015! No wonder Phil’s so smitten. 

Claire, though, isn’t so thrilled with Phil constantly paying for their annual super-expensive get-togethers. She holds Phil back from reaching for the check so often as they wait for Tom and Lisa to make the move that they end up dilly-dallying in the restaurant through three waiters’ shifts. By the time Claire and Phil finally discuss what’s going on, Claire accidentally flings Phil’s credit card onto the check, and off it goes, paid for by the Dunphys again.

But Phil, being a self-proclaimed “weak man,” finally spills the truth: He lost a bet to Tom in Cabo and owes him five meals. The bet, absurdly, is over which man’s wife will unwittingly eat more crickets — a plot twist so weird I had trouble believing it until I remembered that this season Phil bathed with ducks, so yeah, why not cricket-eating, too!

Anyway, Claire and Lisa are affronted, but Phil and Tom happily reveal how many more crickets their spouses ate. (Gross, guys. You made the bet when you were drunk; don’t continue it when you’re sober.)

Jay and Gloria and the adult (no, not in that way) playdate

When the family of Manny’s classmate comes over for a playdate, Gloria’s excited to connect with parents, but Jay isn’t thrilled when he meets the father, an old man named Marty who casually chats about his time in World War II and his forgetfulness. He’s so adamant about setting himself apart from Marty that he gets defensive in every conversation and goes so far as to do sit-ups just to prove that he’s still a veritable spring chicken. 

Still, he’s not the only man in the house insecure about his age. Manny, convinced he’s grown a proper mustache, thinks everyone’s making fun of his facial hair behind his back. Gloria tries her best to encourage him, but even she can’t see any hairs up close. When he finally “shaves” it off, he feels dejected again when Gloria tells him his mustache is growing just fine. 

Gloria also gets the last word when it comes to Jay’s immaturity. She explains that he needs to stop thinking of himself and consider how she feels about being the oldest mother among the parents. Plus, with Marty around, Jay at least knows he’s not the oldest father. With that in mind, Jay agrees to try a little harder — after all, Marty’s not entirely hopeless. At least he knows Netflix is for streaming now and not just for sending DVDs of movies to your house a few weeks after you order it. Catch up, Jay!

Line of the Night: “Wow, he is a big fan. He even knows the name of her gardener!” —Luke, when Ray Liotta walks out of the gate of Barbra Streisand’s old home, holding a hose, and Mitch gasps the Goodfellas/Something Wild/Field of Dreams actor’s name. (Runner-up: Jay’s line, in which he says, “They can’t go in the street and kick a can or drool over a friend’s centerfold of Kim Novak.” To which Gloria replies, “Say something I understand.”)

Family MVP: This week, it goes to the Dunphy kids. Sure, it’s a sitcom trope for characters to go through with a really bad idea, but it was admirable of them to try to make their Uncle Mitchell happy. Even if it ended up with this strange selfie, courtesy of Goodfellas/Something Wild/Field of Dreams star Ray Liotta:

Well, at least Mitch looks happy.

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