Modern Family: Growing Pains

Once again, Modern Family delivered a laugh-out-loud funny episode. With the whole gang gathered together for Alex’s middle school graduation, there were just so many hilarious gags and jokes that reminded me why this is one of the best comedies on TV, with one of the best ensemble casts.

First, let’s talk about Phil and Claire. Phil wanted Claire to have an emotional breakdown on the day of Alex’s graduation so that it would be over with and wouldn’t interfere with his trip to Vegas with the boys that was scheduled for the next day. But Claire held it together, until she and Phil got stuck – like, physically stuck, because the gate was broken – at Jay’s and it looked like they’d miss the whole ceremony, and Alex’s valedictorian speech.

Meanwhile, Haley tried to save Alex from social suicide by convincing her not to deliver a great big middle finger of a speech to her classmates, Cam freaked out after Mitch completely understandably laughed at his expense, and Jay embarrassed himself by getting Botox. The episode was such a great mix of physical comedy and razor sharp quips, I’d like to watch it again just because I’m sure I missed a few jokes while I was laughing.

Watching Cam fall face first into Lily’s inflatable baby pool was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, but the writers managed to make it even funnier by having it spark a disagreement between Cam and Mitch. Mitch thought it was funny, Cam thought he shouldn’t have laughed. Later, when Cam walked face first into a glass, and then screen door, Mitch, Claire and Jay all laughed. I think I would make a good Pritchett.

Of course, Cam lost any leg he could have tried to stand on when he had to stifle a chuckle during Alex’s graduation after Claire and Phil hopped a fence and tumbled all the way down a hill, Jack and Jill style. It was the kind of thing that makes me love this show so much – everyday conflict that is simply hilarious, but never makes you feel like the characters don’t belong together.

Jay’s Botox job gone wrong was just as hilarious. His face went all droopy and weird and everyone thought he was having a stroke. I got such a kick out of watching him try to hide the embarrassing truth from everyone. And Phil and Claire got some truly funny moments as well, especially when Phil threw Claire over Jay’s gate cheerleader-style, and the sight of them riding a tandem bike to the graduation.

Amidst all the comedy, there was heart, too. I’ve always loved the relationship between Haley and Alex, and I like how the show has made some subtle changes to it as the characters grow up. They’re very different, but as they get older they’re coming to accept each other. It nice to see Haley acknowledge that she’s a little jealous of Alex, that she has her own insecurities, and it was nice to see Alex kind of grow up and realize that her big sister doesn’t have it all going on.

The final scene was so great – Alex bailed on a family dinner because she’d been invited to a party after delivering the cliched speech Haley told her to make, rather than the bitter, self-righteous one she’d prepared. For Phil and Claire it was a sign that they were losing their baby to the horrific teenage years, but for Alex it was an important moment of acceptance. The way they smothered Haley when she nonchalantly said she was hungry (and therefore, wouldn’t mind eating dinner with the family) was hilarious. Such a good moment.

There were so many good lines and moments, this list of highlights is going to be incredibly long and probably won’t even scratch the surface. But here goes:

  • “It was kind of a grande deal, I was up against an actual Puerto Rican.” – Phil
  • “‘Guys, I can’t go to Vegas because my wife’s freaking out!’ Trust me, that is not a phone call that you want to make to a bunch of ex–college male cheerleaders. They will mock you with a hurtful rhythmic taunt.” – Phil
  • “I haven’t felt this dumb since I bought that bracelet that was supposed to give me better balance.” – Jay
  • “It’s ironic that I stand up here representing my classmates when for the past three years, most of them have treated me like I’m invisible. It’s my own fault – I was obsessed with good grades instead of looks and popularity and skinny jeans.” – Alex, rehearsing her original valedictorian speech
  • “In order to give a good speech, all you need to do is take a song and say it. Like, ‘Don’t stop believin’,’ or ‘Get this party started’.” – Haley
  • Haley: “If you do this, you’ll be a social piranha.”
    Alex: “Yes, I’ll be an Amazonian, carnivorous fish.”
  • “That’s because no one would eat with him in the cafeteria!” – Haley, on why Gandhi did a hunger strike
  • Jay: “Why does everyone always assume I’m having a stroke?”
    Claire: “Age.”
    Manny: “Diet.”
    Gloria: “You forgot to bring my bread.”
  • “He’ll be here all week, folks. Literally, because you’re not coming home with me.” – Cam
  • “Like the lady juice for the wrinkles?” – Gloria
  • “What do you mean, a ‘false alarm’? Your face looks like a candle.” – Claire
  • “What were you thinking? You’re a veteran!” – Cam, upon hearing that Jay got Botox 
  • “Do you think he had his butt done too? It looks fantastic.” – Phil
  • “What’s the plan, MacGayver?” – Jay, when Cam tries to fix the gate
  • Gloria: “He thought we were gonna use it all the time, but I keep hitting my boobs with my knees.”
    Jay: “Champagne problems, right?”
  • I loved Mitch’s face when the school principal called the students “oldsters” instead of “youngsters.” 
  • “It’s the juxtaposition of absurdist comedy against the backdrop of a formal setting. Not a big-boned man falling into a pool.” – Cam
  • I also loved Alex’s sarcastic “Seriously?” after everyone applauded her “Don’t stop believin’, let’s get this party started!” speech.
  • Sidenote: I loved Haley’s dress in this episode. So cute. 

So, what did you think of “See you Next Fall?” I thought the episode was so strong, I’m surprised it wasn’t the season finale – but we’ll still be treated to one more Modern Family episode next week, and then we’ll see them next fall. 




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