An earthquake results in aftershocks involving golf, God, and Nathan Lane
Modern Family Earthquake
Mitch and Cam, Modern Family
  • TV Show

After last week’s somewhat schmaltzy and much-anticipated kissy episode, it was nice for Modern Family to get back its goofy roots. Tonight’s storyline revolved around the aftermath of an earthquake, with each Family member reacting differently to his or her “almost-death” experience. Gloria turned to God, Jay and Manny turned to golf, Phil ran from Claire, and Cam and Mitchell, well, they turned to the fabulous Nathan Lane, who played the brunch-throwing power gay, Pepper Salzman. Great name, great cameo. In fact it was such a great part, I only wish they had used Lane more. (Here’s hoping the writers sprinkle some more party-planning Pepper into the mix before too long.)

Every character had hilarious moments tonight, especially Manny, who expressed doubt about the fate of his soul, talked about sex-Ed class, and hyperventilated. That kid certainly steals the show. Speaking of kids, I feel like Phil and Claire’s brood is underrated. Every week they get better and better, and infinitely more sarcastic – playing off like their own little comedy troop. And Claire had a good night, too, bonding with the plumber; Julie Bowen even got to show off her physical comedy chops by falling down the stairs – a move that was subtle, but also had me in stitches.

And now, let’s recount the best lines of the evening!

“You’re never alone when you have books.” –Alex, who I love more after every episode

“Yo yo yo, what’s the hot topic on The View today, ladies.” –Phil, when the women in his family were fighting

“I’m like Shirley Temple and that black guy.” –Phil

“Oh good, you’re back. I needed you to settle a spat between our blacksmith and our chimney sweep” –Mitchell to Cameron, who was dressed in a cape costume

“One date. It was the ’90s, we’d just lost Princess Di. I was at sea.” –Cam, responding to Mitchell’s jealousy over Nathan Lane’s Pepper

“Oh, Pepper has done the impossible, he’s made two gay men hate brunch.” –Mitchell

NEXT: More great zingers from “Earthquake.”

Cam (hiding under the table during the earthquake): “We’re gonna die, we’re gonna die!”

Mitchell: “We better not. If they find us in these outfits, it’s going to be very bad for the gay community.”

“It’s like they say, sometimes God closes a door, but sometimes he closes it so hard, you can’t get your wife out. ” –Phil, on Claire getting stuck in the bathroom with the plumber

“After the earthquake, it might be nice to be around similarly dressed people.” –Cameron

“I’m probably going to have a Latino kid carry my clubs anyway, might as well be you.” –Jay, after Manny says he wants to go golfing with him, rather than church with his mom

“Oh please, where was all this conscience when I got us into the first-class lounge in the airport and you chewed Angela Lansbury’s ear off.” –Mitchell to Cam, who felt guilty about lying to get out of Nathan Lane’s brunch

“You’re playing pretty fast and loose with my soul.” –Manny to Jay, about the existence of Heaven and Hell

“Do you know what menstruation is, Jay? Because I do.” –Manny again

“I’m a mob wife.” –Mitchell (enough said)

Did I miss any of your favorite lines? What did you think of Nathan Lane’s cameo? Do you agree that he was underutilized? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

DON’T MISS: Embedded below, listen to the first edition of’s TV Insiders podcast. Annie Barrett, Michael Slezak, Michael Ausiello (who also gives his picks for best and worst new show of the new season), Jeff “Doc” Jensen, and Dalton Ross break down the week in television — including Survivor — and present it to you in an easily digestible audio format. Or click here to download TV Insiders to your MP3 player!

Episode Recaps

Mitch and Cam, Modern Family
Modern Family

Parents just don’t understand… and neither do kids or spouses in this hit ensemble comedy

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