Welcome to My Best Friend’s Modern Family. Or When the Dunphys Met Phil’s Sexy House. Or maybe How to Lose a Private Space in 10 Days? Never mind, the point is: Tonight’s main adventure was a full-on romantic comedy, in that it was a comedy of errors wrapped in one big romance, complete with a photo finish of a kiss between Haley and Andy.
Because most of the clan ended up one way or another at the fancy home Phil was working on, this week’s recap won’t break it down family by family. Instead, I’m going to try to trace the way all of the events unfolded, which hopefully will be a lot easier considering this was just half an hour of time-jumpy hijinks (unlike that time Arrested Development did it for a whole season on Netflix, but I digress).
We begin with the entire brood at the Pritchetts’, where they’re enjoying their customary Saturday feast of Thanksgiving leftovers. Everything’s going swimmingly — Joe’s being his typical adorable self, Alex can’t help herself with an astrophysics joke — until Phil starts to boast about his sexy house with the sexy security code (no really, it spells out “sexy” — and now everyone knows), and Haley gets an idea. Using some impressive espionage skills, she snaps a photo of the house’s info from Phil’s files and heads there herself to take a nice, long bath to get over eating so much Thanksgiving food and feeling down about Dylan and her love life.
Speaking of her love life, Andy shows up when she’s back at the house trying to clean up the mess she made when the bathwater failed to drain and she had, er, burned too much incense. When they try to pry it open, they end up — whoops — falling into the tub and getting soaked. And so they clean up and try to enjoy the amenities before Phil arrives. But because the remote in the living room is so confusing to operate, they end up opening the liquor cabinet, turning on the disco lights, and getting a fireplace going. In this way-too-romantic atmosphere, Haley starts to lean in for a kiss, when suddenly…
Mitch and Cam burst in to enjoy all those high-tech amenities Haley had just told Andy to stop activating. See, the couple realized after overhearing Claire and Phil’s banal conversation about the gutters that their marriage could begin to be just as boring, a fact emphasized when they get home and are overly excited about flipping Lily’s mattress. And so, at Phil’s sexy home, the two begin to get raunchy, grabbing booze and showing off some, uh, pole-dancing moves on Mitch’s part to get things going, when suddenly…
Phil arrives. He’s allowed to be at the house, of course, but the mystery of what’s really going on with Phil begins when he tells someone phone, “Don’t worry about Claire, you’ve got me all afternoon.” Well, at least Claire thinks she’s figured out what’s happening.
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Back at the Pritchetts’, Claire had worried about whether Phil was avoiding having a conversation with her because he was still mad about the way she flipped out at him when she found him with the ducks in a tub after returning from a business trip. It made her angry and also brought us this nutty image of Ty Burrell cradling a duck in a tub:
When she brings this up to Jay, though, he points out that maybe Phil’s not annoyed by her treatment of the ducks in the tub (which, by the way, sounds like a Dr. Seuss book) but just wishes she were around more. (Of course, Jay’s totally BS-ing Claire so she doesn’t turn around and see Gloria attempting to get Phil’s wallet. But we’ll get to that later.)
Both Claire and Jay are wrong, it turns out: Phil admits to the camera that he was simply playing a medieval fantasy game he got super into and that he just needed to find a space where he could play for a few hours without interruption. Shortly after he gets to the house, he dons his virtual reality goggles and puts on his role-playing gear, when suddenly…
NEXT: Claire’s dressed to impress…[pagebreak]
Luke and his friends show up with beer and are greeted by a disapproving Mitch and Cam. The two parties argue until they spot Phil, absorbed in his virtual reality, bumbling around the place and blindly playing the game. They stay silent until he passes, and it looks they can escape unnoticed, when suddenly…
Claire arrives — dressed in a, well, revealing medieval outfit and cape. She’s there because she had tried to apologize to Phil about not being around and Phil had responded about his role-playing plans, which she misinterpreted as an invitation to role-play as a couple. Everyone has hidden by the time Claire enters, but the still blissfully unaware Phil stumbles straight into his wife, who questions what he’s doing with a VR headset — that must mean he’s role-playing as a half-man, half-robot. (She should also question why he’s just walking around without a care. Phil, VR’s cool, but not that cool just yet — you still need to be anchored or tethered to something so you don’t hurt yourself!)
And then it all becomes clear: Phil realizes Claire’s there, the pair finds Alex and Reuben after Reuben reveals himself, and they eventually get Mitch, Cam, and Luke and his friends out from hiding. The family bickers (Alex pointedly tells her mother she looks “like a hooker at Comic-Con” when she sees her getup) until Phil demands they all leave, considering he’s the only one with legal access to the home. As he checks Claire out, he apologizes for the outburst — but clearly has something else on his mind, and the two go off to do what Claire had hoped to do from the beginning.
That just leaves Haley and Andy, who have won this unofficial game of hide and seek and gotten away with using the house’s dryer, among other things. As they prepare to leave, they chat about the earlier romantic moment that got not-so-briefly interrupted. Haley uses the house as an excuse, saying that the mood (and the mood lighting) made her want to go through with a kiss. Andy agrees, and Haley exits, when suddenly…
Haley returns and leaps into Andy’s arms. The pair kiss — marking a happy ending for an episode full of thwarted home invaders.
The non-home invaders, meanwhile, didn’t get quite as happy an ending. The Pritchetts didn’t head to Phil’s sexy, sexy house; instead, Gloria and Jay planned to use Gloria’s wily ways to steal everyone’s wallets — these wily ways included a lot of hugging — so they could get the driver’s licenses they needed to complete the surprise trip to Miami they were planning for the whole family. (The earlier mishap with Phil only happened because his wallet was incredibly hard to get, leading Gloria to try tickling and massaging, just out of sight and earshot of Claire.)
Unfortunately for them, Jay had actually bought tickets to Colombia, thinking they could all visit Gloria’s family — but Gloria ended up inviting her family to town. And on top of that, Manny’s feud with little brother Joe wasn’t going any better: The former, convinced that the latter was putting up a cute act, tried to use Joe to attract a girl. Instead, Joe pretended to be a dog so much he wouldn’t stop biting Manny’s visitor.
All in all, no one really got what they wanted post-Thanksgiving, but there’s still plenty to be grateful about: All of the Dunphys at least got to sort of enjoy the house — and it is amusing to think about how long Alex and Reuben must have been there, even before Haley and Andy, seeing as Alex left much earlier than the rest. And besides, there were plenty of quotables, including tonight’s…
Line of the Night: “A person is not a sandwich, Joe!” —Manny to Joe, during which this happened:
Family MVP: It was a tough choice tonight, considering how everyone’s stories were connected, but I’ll give it to Haley. She started the episode with a slippery maneuver, went on to try to clean up her mess, and then just followed her heart. She’ll just deal with the consequences of, well, making out with a man about to be married…later.