In an episode about Mother's Day, Gloria and Claire take their kids on a hiking trip, while Jay sheds a few tears (and not just from the onions).

By Aly Semigran
May 05, 2011 at 04:41 AM EDT
Jordin Althaus/ABC
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I have a theory I want to test out on you, my fellow Modern Family fans, before we get to the recap of last night’s episode. I believe that Luke (the comedic gem that is Nolan Gould) is actually, somehow, the past version of Andy from Parks and Recreation (Chris Pratt) living in the present day. And while their paths may never cross (curse you, different networks!), they are still one adorable, sweet entity living in the same universe sharing their unique views on the world around them. Thoughts?

Okay, now that I’ve run that by you, let’s talk about last night’s funny and touching (really, is there any show that does it better?) episode of Modern Family. It was Mother’s Day, and the Pritchett and Dunphy clans had their fair share of hugs, fights, and tears.

Claire was in full-on Mother’s Day mode when she proudly displayed all of her Mom trinkets from her kids, including a pencil holder–turned–coffee cup. Isn’t it amazing what kinds of gifts you can get away with giving as a kid? If I gave my wonderful mother a paperweight this year, I sincerely doubt she’d appreciate it. But at 7 years old, it was somehow endearing and thoughtful. Ah, youth. (Hi, Mom! Happy early Mother’s Day!)

Speaking of kid-gift grade inflation, Manny gave an excited Gloria a knockoff Froot Loop necklace. Later, Gloria and Claire, as well as their offspring, joined up to spend Mother’s Day together by going on a hike. The only problem (as every kid can attest): Hiking sucks. Manny carried a big stick and clashed with Luke again (though he was too busy warding off coyotes to really care or notice), while Alex and Haley complained, sending Claire and Gloria over the edge and out into the wilderness alone. When they were a safe distance (or so they thought), the women finally bonded over the fact that their kids can drive them up the wall.

But when Gloria finally let loose about Manny — he’s persnickety and writes bad poetry — he heard every word of it. She tried to blame the slipup on Claire, but Haley, Alex, and a reluctant Luke wouldn’t back down and apologize for their behavior.

Back at the Pritchett-Delgado residence, Jay and Phil whipped up a Mother’s Day meal for the entire brood. I always love watching Ty Burrell’s overly enthusiastic Phil interact with Ed O’Neill’s stoic Jay. It’s a recipe for great television. And speaking of recipes, in the midst of their cooking session — complete with Phil’s onion goggles, his Julia Child impression, and his rom-com-esque sing-along to the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” — he stumbled upon a recipe Jay had written for his mother when he was 9.

What do you get when you mix one tablespoon of love, one cup of warmth, and 175 pounds of tenderness that serves one small boy? Tears. And not just from viewers. The childhood memento cracked the usually unflappable Jay, who began to tear up. Those onion goggles didn’t look so stupid then!

This, of course, brought great joy to Phil, who saw it as an opportunity to get Jay to open up. Unfortunately, his awkward hug didn’t quite tame the proud lion.

NEXT: Mitchell wishes Cameron an unwelcome Happy Mother’s DayThere were no hidden feelings when it came to Mitchell and Cameron on Mother’s Day, however. Mitchell hit a nerve with Cam when he made him breakfast in bed and declared that the holiday was for him. As Cam explained, gay men do not want to be treated like women. That means no baby-shower invites, people!

It turned out, though, that Mitchell has developed a habit of talking about Cam like the woman in their relationship. “Mrs. Pritchett loves to shop.” “The wife’s not gonna like this.” The pancake gesture did not help. Not even the increasingly adorable Lily holding balloons would have smoothed things over.

Things only got worse when they arrived at the park to meet up with their fellow parent friends, who asked Cam to pose for a picture with all the moms. I honestly don’t know which moment I loved more: the look on Eric Stonestreet’s face as the photo was snapped, or the way he screamed in horror moments later after he accidentally hit a biker with a football. Mitchell’s cry for him to lower his arms was equally DVR rewind-worthy.

Later, the whole extended family finally got together for dinner, where Phil spilled the beans that Jay had cried thinking about his mom. And try as he might to prove otherwise, Jay broke down again once Mitchell and Claire started reminiscing about their grandmother at the table. “You only get one mom,” he cried to his family. Don’t worry, Jay, you weren’t the only one crying after that.

His breakdown at the table got everyone else to kiss and make up (well, except for Mitchell, who held things down for the stoic Pritchett fort), including the Dunphy kids, who ran to hug their one and only mom.

This may not go down as one of the all-time greats of Modern Family, but a satisfying episode it most certainly was. It’s really too bad Father’s Day is in the summer, because there’s no doubt they’d give that holiday the proper treatment too.

NEXT: The best lines from last night’s episode“Now I have no presents again.” —Gloria, after Jay and Manny take back their gifts

“Something’s happening.” —Mitchell, after Cameron gets worked up about the pancakes in bed

“She’s in a mood.” —Mitchell to a balloon-wielding Lily, after he leaves the bedroom

“Then I guess we’ll be eating the mood.” —Manny, after Luke suggests they eat what they kill on the hike

“You should get a pair.” —Phil to Jay, referring to the onion goggles

“I was going to suggest the same thing.” —Jay

“Those really frame your face.” —Phil to Jay, after he tearfully hides in the goggles

“That would rob me of the pleasure of hitting each one individually.” —Claire, after realizing hitting her kids domino-style has a downside

“Diablo!” —Gloria to Claire, after Manny overhears her bad-mouthing him

“It happens to be Mother’s Day, not Martyr’s Day.” —Mitchell, to an upset Cam

“We’re your mother now.” —Haley’s chilling threat to Luke

“It’s so burn-y!” —Cam, after drinking scotch

“Bottle of red, bottle of WHAT?!” —Phil, after walking into the dining room to discover Jay is crying again

What did you think of the Mother’s Day-themed episode of Modern Family? And while we’re at it, am I way off on my Andy-Luke theory? Let me know in the comments section!

Episode Recaps

Parents just don’t understand… and neither do kids or spouses in this hit ensemble comedy
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seasons
  • 10
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  • TV-PG
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  • Wednesdays at 9:00pm
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  • 09/23/09
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