This week brought us one of the worst plays that’s ever existed within a TV show. Cam is a supporter of a local theater company and drags Mitch to one of its show. It’s an interactive play about a high-school reunion… But Cam didn’t tell Mitch it was interactive. As the two stand in the lobby, people keep coming up to Mitch as if they recognize him. When Cam points out a high-school reunion banner, Mitch realizes this is part of the play and Cam tricked him into a night of interactive theater.
His reaction is rage, and it’s totally justified. Interactive theater can be good sometimes, but it helps to know you’re going to be attending such a performance before you’re already a part of it. Cam says Mitch is overreacting, but then they see a woman screaming at her husband who also didn’t tell her the play was interactive.
The play is horrible. It has all the trappings of a cliché high-school reunion: the one that got away, the terrible car crash that killed a student, etc. Mitch is just barely getting through it, but then the worst possible thing happens: He is picked to participate. Cam swears he had nothing to do with it and Mitch tries hard to get out of it, attempting to flee the theater — but once you’re chosen, there’s apparently no way out.
Mitch is selected for the role of Vlad, a former flame of a very drunk girl. The actress actually makes out with poor Mitch, which is horrible and not okay. But Mitch finds an opportunity to take revenge on Cam before the show is over. Cam takes the stage for his role: a beloved janitor who finally made it to the reunion. Suddenly, Mitch remembers Cam rehearsing the part around the house, which means he can spoil the twist ending: The janitor is a ghost! He derails the play by grilling Cam about his character’s death. Not satisfied, he starts performing Cam’s part for him, right down to the dramatic death. The actors watch in horror. It may have been crazy to wreck the show, but Mitch did what he had to do.
Meanwhile, Gloria’s having a breakdown of her own. With Jay at his country club and Manny at a party, she’s trying to have a relaxing night in. In her quest for Zen, she does something insane. She doesn’t want to have to walk around like a commoner, so she ties Joe to a rolling chair and has him drag her around, pretending it’s a game and that Joe is Rudolph, pulling Santa’s sleigh. But Manny comes back from the party after having embarrassed himself and starts being needy (”I just want to Netflix and Mom!”). To top it all off, Joe accidentally drinks espresso and becomes insanely hyper. Gloria completely snaps, and drags her sons to the Dunphy house to get them out of hers.
Amazingly, Claire fixes everything. She convinces Manny to go back to his party and gets Joe to go to sleep. At first, Gloria feels threatened by Claire’s super-mom act, but as Claire explains, “Kids respond better to other adults.”
NEXT: Alex wants to lean in
Alex has a new dream: to become a businesswoman. She even registered for business classes at the local community college. Hopefully it’s just temporary until she can go back to Caltech, because being close to home causes Alex to backslide. She drags Claire to a reading by a Lean In-type author (the book is regrettably titled Grab It!, as in, grab success). Claire, of course, did not read the book.
Alex is obsessed with the author, but soon becomes disillusioned. After her talk, she offers to take Alex and few other people from the book signing to coffee, and it turns out she’s a self-obsessed jerk. But while Alex was at the coffee shop, she was inspired to take a barista job to gain some real-world experience. Her dream of becoming a businesswoman had a good run of exactly one day.
Jay’s evening at the country club is not going well. Phil wants to join, and he manages to nag Jay into putting in a good word for him. But at a night for prospective members, he totally embarrasses Jay by doing magic tricks and talking about his gymnastics days. The show gives Ty Burrell some physical comedy when Phil gets stuck inside a sauna. Merciless Jay takes the opportunity to tell Phil he doesn’t want him to join the club — it’s the only place he can get any time to himself and he wants to keep it that way. Phil is bummed, but he convinces Jay to have a boys’ night.
And guess what Phil picks for the entertainment? The horrible interactive play. Phil, like Cam, loves it. Jay, like Mitch, wants to claw his eyes out. And that’s before he gets picked to be Vlad. This play is like a nightmare that won’t end. Mercifully, the episode concludes before we have to see the play’s big finale again.
Odds and Ends:
Gloria is a terrible mom to Joe in this episode. He says he’s tired from pulling her in her rolling-chair chariot, but she insists he keep going. Yikes!