Claire gets political and Mitch shows his tough guy side

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Credit: Richard Foreman/ABC

This wasn’t the best episode of Modern Family I’ve ever seen, but the lovely thing is that even on a so-so week, Modern Family still had more laughs than several episodes of some so-called comedy shows combined. And while Papa Dunphy has lately been the MVP of LOL (< please let me get away with that. I've been saving it.), it was Gloria who took front and center tonight in an ep that found her trying to be a valuable voice of reason. Also an honorable mention? Dunphy Jr. who stole the show tonight — and he didn't even have a prominent storyline! But we'll get to Luke in a second. First..

We spent much of the episode watching Claire struggle with the idea of giving up her position as ruler and overlord of the Dunphy household so she could run for city council. As it turned out, she lost her petition to get a stop sign placed at the intersection of (near) death and was angry about being dismissed by reigning leader Duane Bailey (guest star David Cross). And as we know, angry Claire = determined Claire = adorably supportive Phil = adorably incapable Phil. In this case, it was Phil’s Mr. Mom ambitions that proved to be more challenging to achieve than he originally thought.

At Jay’s, Gloria was feeling unwanted after both Jay and Manny rejected her advice. Jay had been dealing with a difficult, entitled young client, played by Freaks and Geeks alum Samm Levine, and Manny had been struggling to add some flash to his report on the mafia. “I have all the answers,” she claimed after being dismissed. (Gloria = Google?) Personally, if my mom had ever suggested handing in a horse head with one of my school reports, I would have given her the award for Mom of the Century. But I’m twisted that way.

Meanwhile, Mitchell was annoyed that Cam was showing more and more of his aggressive Fizbo side — minus the Fizbo. It all started at the theater when Cam yelled at a man who brought his kids to what Cam and Mitchell thought was an age-inappropriate film. (Mitchell’s almost-comment about Gwyneth Paltrow led me to believe it was Contagion.) In reality, they’d accidentally walked into The Muppets, which can be terrifying to some, I suppose. But graphic? Well, probably not, but don’t quote me. We all know what can happen when Danny Trejo gets involved in something. There’s usually a gun or machete involved.

Cam’s brazen side also peaked out from his paisley after he and Mitchell were involved in a hit and run accident. Mitchell wanted to call the police, but Cam opted for a more immediate action and started chasing after the car that hit them on foot while screaming and holding his arms in the air like a “Y” missing the “M,” “C” and “A.” At this point, I’d be willing to say that running and screaming Cam is the “That’s what she said” of Modern Family. It’s a simple gag that never fails to have me in stitches.

In other happenings this week, Haley was going around asking her siblings for handouts (yes, she’s that person in the family) after being scammed out of $900 by some guy who was going to get her and her friends fake IDs. Alex was broke — for some reason, the smart ones always are — and Luke was secretly loaded but didn’t share that piece of info.

As I mentioned before, Luke didn’t have a whole lot to do this week, but in the time he did have on screen, he definitely proved to be one of the most hilarious characters. Every subtle look and deadpan line is always spot-on. That said, I’m not sure that means I want more of him. At this point, I think part of his appeal is that he’s used so thoughtfully in storylines. Do you agree?

NEXT: The week’s best lines

So between Haley’s “crime ring,” Phil’s inability to read the box of drowsy allergy medicine before administering it, and Luke’s black eye (which he got after accidentally being slapped by Phil), Claire was convinced her political ambitions would have to take a backseat to her family. At least, that’s what she claimed. Gloria — in all her wisdom — got Claire to come clean about her worries about failure. But she also convinced her to run.

After Haley came clean to everyone about the incident, the men set off on a mission to get her money back from the scammer. It went well at first until the man tried to run. Luckily Mitchell, who had been waiting by the car, grabbed him by his skinny jeans until he submitted. As a result, for every smudge of grass stain he sustained during the scuffle, he also gained an ounce of respect from the others. And he’s not the only one who ended the episode on top.

After helping Claire through her crisis, Gloria also proved to be useful to Jay, who ended up taking Gloria with him to make a second presentation to his difficult customer. It went much better — thanks mostly to Gloria and her lovely assets. Ha, assets. (Heard it.)

So, that’s a wrap, readers. Be sure to rate the episode in our poll and tell me what you thought of the episode in the comments. While you craft your thoughtful review, complete with your nomination for Most Valuable Quote of the episode, enjoy some QUOTABLES.

Claire (reading): Duane Bailey — councilman, citizen…puggle breeder?

Duane: I love them because they’re a different mix of breeds — just like America

“One a week I have eight people come to my house for free food. I’m not going anywhere.” — Jay

“Really, Manny? Do you want me to learn you English?” — Gloria

“It’s getting absurd. You’re going to school, not boarding a flight to Denver.” — Manny, re: backpacks with rollers

“I wanted to hang myself.” — Jay

“…and you’re easy on the eyes when you put a little effort into it.” — Phil

“If you want to fly I don’t want to be the one to hold your feet to the ground. I want to be the one to push you off the cliff.” — Phil

“I’ll admit it, I’m turned on by powerful women: Michelle Obama, Oprah, Condoleezza Rice, Serena Williams…wait a minute.” — Phil

(*My nominee for Most Valuable Quote of the week!)

Mitchell: We just got rear ended! Are you okay?

Cam: I think I cut the roof of my mouth on the straw

Mitchell: So, yes.

Cam: You know, if this was a romantic comedy, this would be our meet cute. We’d spend the rest of the afternoon drinking wine, eating food, flying a kite. You know, montage-y stuff.

Mitchell: Am I in this movie of yours?

Cam: Yeah. You’re the gay best friend.

“It’s in a block of ice. I got the idea when I heard about rich guys with frozen assets.” — Luke

Luke: Where’s mom?

Phil: She belongs to the people now.

Alex: Where’s mom?

Luke: Some people took her.

Lily: You saw the Muppet movie without me?

Mitchell: Cam thinks he’s Dirty Harry

Jay: I have trouble imagining Clint Eastwood in that shirt.

Cam: Shotgun!

Mitchell: No, no weapons.

Luke: Police. Aren’t they too busy winning the war on drugs?

Manny: I can’t speak for Jay, but I’m too proud to ask for help.

Jay: Are you serious? She cuts your steak.

Cam: If a 16-year-old can drive a tractor, he can drink a beer. Of course, not at the same time. It’s Missouri, not Texas.


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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