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Modern Family recap: Their Little Freak Show

Phil and Claire get drunk and make a promise that threatens to bring the extended families a lot closer. Plus, Manny rides a Jazzy

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Peter "Hopper" Stone/ABC

Modern Family

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:

The mark of any good night, this week’s Modern Family should have left you sprawled out on the couch with eye makeup smeared down to your chin, hair sticking out from all surfaces, and hands desperately reaching for a takeout menu. We’ve all had that nagging feeling after too much imbibing that we’ve agreed to something we would never normally do, but those commitments usually involve early morning spin classes or a blind date with someone from HR. For Claire and Mitchell, excessive booze risks to blur the line between familial closeness and the potential Lifetime movie Why Can’t I Call My Aunt Mommy? Back to form, this episode (and recap) is best enjoyed with a piping hot serving of eggs.

Jay started off his day concerned that Manny’s proclivity to speak in Louis Armstrong lyrics and use the word “steep” as a verb were hindering his social development. In his opinion, his closeness to his mother wasn’t helping matters. He shouldn’t be scrounging for matinée tickets with Gloria and her friend, he really should be running sprints in the yard and seeing his mother only to scarf down thirds of whatever meal she’s picked up, before texting his friends that she’s such a witch for not letting him get a new Wii. Having raised a son before,  Jay saw no harm in signing Manny up for a casual game of football (and Manny displayed some surprising prowess on the field!). But his brush with greatness was soon gone as he was quickly strip—oh, look! Another penny, just like the kinds Manny and Gloria collected together when they were on their own in Colombia!

Hearing more about their time pre-Jay solidified why their bond is so strong, and why Gloria sees no problem in shielding Manny from the hard stuff: they were all each other had. When Gloria drove her cab (!) at night, it wasn’t to look for wealthy men to make all of their problems go away, it was to provide for her family, which is why the first man in her life always sat shotgun. Which is also why she never forced him into competitive athletics, where he could break a leg, or worse: his face. Blindsided to an oncoming defender, Manny’s injury left him stuck at home and confined to a Jazzy (his idea, we’re sure). Backing that thing up is not as easy as it looks in the commercials. But what you lose in ability to make a smooth getaway, you gain in the chance to hang around eavesdrop on important conversation. Just blame all lingering on stupid wheels and their refusal to cut corners.

Elsewhere additional potential for injury loomed, as Alex and Haley’s strange decision to be conscious at 7 a.m. on a weekend morning gifted them with cleaning duty from Claire. There’s a lesson here: Don’t ever even let the thought of boredom enter your frontal lobe in the Dunphy home; she hears everything. There may have been a squirrel about to undergo electric shock therapy and marbles all over her floor kitchen, but Claire couldn’t be bothered to supervise this time. She’d just have to trust that Phil was overseeing it all, which as always, leaves one with 50/50 odds.

NEXT: One wild night…and that awkward morning after