Modern Family recap: Express Yourself
Everyone stays up late because sleep is for the weak (sorry, Claire)
What’s sleep to the Dunphys and the Pritchetts? This week, everyone pulled an all-nighter of sorts: Haley and Andy stayed out to tap into “Wild Andy” in Vegas, Jay went for a midnight pick-me-up with Mitch, Cam fought his sister Pam in a late-night tussle, and Phil and Claire tried to keep their eyes open long enough to get in sync with the time zone in Paris (they won a trip, those lucky kids). But with that in mind…
Lesson of the Week
Forcing yourself to do something is never easy.
Seriously, when it comes to pulling all-nighters, the later you stay up, the weaker you become. Let’s start with Phil and Claire, who, despite winning a cheap trip to Paris, fail to properly stay awake all night as they drink coffee, scare each other, and sleep on ratty discarded mattresses. Claire has been so overworked even yoga doesn’t help keep her lucid.
But at least they have a fun reward waiting for them. For Jay, who can’t fall asleep when he’s mad, getting into an argument with Gloria over the never-finished master bathroom renovation sent him into a tizzy, and when Mitch calls him up for a late-night father-son session, Jay throws himself completely into advising Mitch on how to feel better about his work stress and Pam stress — not knowing that when he gets home, he’ll find a ruined master bathroom, among many other disasters from a night of Gloria and Manny trying to save Joe from the tar Jay had used for the bathroom. (In other words, DIY is hard, and YouTube instruction videos lie.)
Haley and Andy, though, risk everything to stay out a little longer. Andy, scared that his mellow nature means Haley will eventually lose interest in him, says “yes” to every impractical, “Wild Haley”-approved move, from riding a mechanical bull to going all the way to Las Vegas, just to go all-in at a roulette table. Finally in a panic, Haley reveals that Wild Andy is not what she wants — and the two stop just in time before their story line turns into a sitcom version of The Hangover.
Most Unexpected Combo
Jay and Mitch
Come on, you had to laugh at the karaoke session these two had. Mitch, super down on how overworked and crazed he is while trying to keep Lily away from Pam’s negative influence, finally agrees to sing to Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” and it worked! All he needed was a push from Jay to really get things going:
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I think I’m always on the side of the family member who tries the hardest to help, and tonight, Jay did his best. For one thing, he was feeling useless after retiring, which is why he had started the bathroom renovation project in the first place — and why Gloria wound up kicking him out of the bedroom and onto the couch. And judging by the limited progress, he’s simply taking great care in making himself useful, and that bathroom will probably turn out superb. Plus, again, helping out Mitch was just a kind move. The fact that he noticed Mitch’s nervousness through how Mitch tugged at his eyebrows was perceptive and powerful. Good going, Jay. Even if you’re going to be faced with a mess back home.
That dive on top of Pam on top of Cam was everything. Lily, terrified of the recently dumped Pam’s tirade against her ex and against men, finally helped Mitch and Cam breathe a sigh of relief when she went to defend Cam against Pam’s body slam. Lily may be sassy, but she understands her parents.
Funniest Phil Line
“Pressez-vous le square orange.” I just loved this line as Phil’s interpretation of French. It reminded me of, way back when, when he believed he spoke “teen” just because he interpreted “WTF” to mean “Why the Face.” Honestly, Phil probably thought he was speaking French here! You never know.
Snarkiest Lily Moment
Though she wasn’t the biggest fan of Aunt Pam, she did help her in a way, by rolling what Pam was smoking by the window. Lily’s indignant, “Hey, I rolled that,” was perfectly timed and delivered in the scene. Pam’s definitely no role model, but she’ll probably be valuable to Lily when it comes to, well, some subjects.
Best Out-of-Context Screencap
Did Everything Turn Out Okay?
Yes, for everyone except Pam, who’s still not fully recovered from her breakup. At least she hugged it out with Cam, and Mitch got to stop feeling useless after using Madonna’s lyrics to great effect — both for himself and for Pam. And though Gloria, Manny, and Joe may have ended the episode still cleaning things up, Jay’s delay should help them get the bathroom back in order. And finally, Phil and Claire made it out to head off on their trip, even if Phil had to carry Claire on the way. (Just a hint, Phil: Paris is the City of Light.) As for Haley and Andy? They came out just fine, with stacks of hundred-dollar bills ready to go for the waitress who manned the diner for 12 hours that night. If I had an MVP-of-the-night category, that waitress would win over the entire family.
Parents just don’t understand… and neither do kids or spouses in this hit ensemble comedy