Here’s something strange – right before I went to watch last night’s episode of Modern Family, titled “After the Fire”, I heard a series of loud sirens in my neighborhood and opened my window to smell smoke – there was a big fire a couple blocks away. (From what I hear, no one was hurt.) So watching this episode with the smell of smoke in my apartment? Very weird.
“After the Fire” didn’t actually show any fire – it was about the whole family and neighborhood rallying together after a local family lost everything in a house fire. (Jill’s worst fear alert!)
I liked this episode because it allowed the family members to interact in groups we don’t normally see together, and that almost always brings the comedy. My favorite pairing is Jay and Phil, especially because this time their interactions were taken in a more surprising direction.
Jay hurt his back, and since Phil used to be a licensed massage therapist he offered to lend a hand. Jay was reluctant since Phil always makes a big deal out of stuff like that (loved the reference to the wireless printer, especially the scene they shot while on vacation) and then things really went awry when Jay accidentally let an “I love you” slip. At first it seemed like Phil was making a huge deal out of it – but then it was revealed that he’d actually been freaking out over a text message he received. Two former co-workers who’d caused a ruckus by leaving to start their own firm had asked him to come with them and partner. It was a big risk, and it was nice to see Jay actually give Phil some advice on the matter.
Meanwhile, Claire was freaking out over the idea of Mitchell becoming friends with Gloria and thus turning Gloria into their mom. Really, she just felt left out. I like that Modern Family, which is often rather warm and mushy, doesn’t really shy away from the fact that Claire and Gloria don’t really like each other. They don’t dislike each other, but their personalities are incredibly different. When this happens with friends you just simply drift apart, but with family you love each other anyway. It was interesting to see Claire realize that the mommy issues she thought Mitchell had were the same as the daddy issues she herself has. This storyline wasn’t as funny to me as the rest of them, but I dug Gloria’s honesty and the little moment between Claire and Mitch when they promised to still be on each other’s team.
I thought Haley and Alex were really great this week. They accompanied Cam on a trip to move a large truck. Cam was confident in his ability to drive a large vehicle, but when the chips were down he had some troubles. He interpreted Haley and Alex’s lack of faith in him as stereotyping and were offended, but it turned out it had nothing to do with Cam being gay. It was an interesting concept – Cam, as a middle-aged gay man, still sees stereotyping because that’s what he’s used to. But for Haley and Alex, who’ve grown up knowing so many gay people, it hadn’t even crossed their minds. As someone closer to Haley’s age than Cam’s, I found it poignant.
My favorite moment came when Alex rescued the toy helicopter Manny and Luke had lost from a gang of nerdy bullies. Turns out they’re big Alex Dunphy fans, which led to my favorite line of the night: “You have your fans, I have mine. Someday, your fans are going to work for my fans.” Looks like Alex understands that It Gets Better. It was especially nice to see Haley so shocked at watching Alex work her magic after having criticized her wardrobe all day.
There were lots of hilarious moments and quotes that I’ll list below from “After The Fire”, which I’d describe as a solid, but not spectacular episode. What did y’all think?
- Claire was wearing a shirt exactly like one in a box of “out of date” clothing another mom was giving away. That would totally happen to me. It was a button down! Those are supposed to be timeless!
- “If you want him to stop lifting stuff, put it in grocery bags and put a football game on TV.” – Gloria, about Jay
- “In my country, it is considered very, very bad luck when your house burns down!” – Gloria
- The return of Fizbo! Cam sleep-clowns. Amazing.
- I loved how Luke egged Manny on in trying out the toy helicopter meant for another kid and then immediately betrayed him when they lost it.
- Haley and Alex pretending to fight every time they want to get out of something, knowing Claire will banish them from the house? Genius. I love that the writers have slowly allowed these girls to bond as they get older.
- “Uncle Cam, as her future prom date, will you talk to her? You know fashion.” – Haley
- Phil: :You know, the Native Americans believed that burning sage kept the bad energy away.”
Jay: “Really? How’d that work out for them?”
- Claire: “Life is so fragile.”
Gloria (having just learned Claire knocked over a box of breakable items): “Yes, like a vase.”
- “I’m not even your favorite Colombian in this family!” – Gloria, after Claire acts shocked that Gloria admits to liking Mitch better
- “I have three kids, at least one of which is going to college. Worst case scenario, they all go.” – Phil, on why he can’t take a financial risk
- Phil telling Jay the massage he gave him had a happy ending.