One third of "Open House of Horrors" was a lot of fun -- and, of course, it was the parts that featured Phil and Claire. Ty Burell and Julie Bowen have mastered Modern Family's physical comedy, and when they weren't doing the same shtick where Phil accidentally gives Claire a backhanded compliment (we get it, show) they were on fire.
Then we had the same old Gloria being hot-headed; everyone thinking Jay is too old for her; Manny acting like an old soul; Mitch having no redeeming qualities whatsoever and Cam being high-maintenance. We've seen these tropes played out so many time, I don't think their plots are even worth going over... though, I am a fan of Fantasy Island shout-outs. In any event, rather than nitpicking and questioning everything I didn't like about the episode, let's just focus on how funny the Dunphy gang was, via their best quotes.
"What do you mean I'm not even scary? I literally almost scared the life out of a man."
"You literally scared a little saliva and a little urine out of him. That happens to me every time I see a monkey wearing people clothes."
Sure, Claire wanting to prove to Phil that she's actually quite scary was a little bit of a softball for their characters, but the tension between the two built well. The writers know how to write good slapstick scenes, and Claire unsuccessfully trying to pop out and scare Phil during the open house was definitely my favorite part of the episode.
"You don't get to be two-time nonconsecutive District Salesman of the Year without thinking inside the box. That's right, I said 'inside.' You know why? 'Cause why everyone's chasing each other around outside the box, you know what the box is? [Taps on head] Empty."
A classic Philism... and I like that he makes all of trick-or-treaters memorize boring information about the open house.
"You want some candy, right?"
"Mommy's she's got me!"
Excellent use of a Little Bo Peep's Shepard's staff, and I generally just like watching Halloween-loving Claire be horribly disappointed. Poor thing. Also cute: Manny having an Angel (Rueben dressed up as a baseball player) and a devil (Luke... as a literal devil) act as his conscious.
"Seriously, a Gryffindor letting his mom carry his Quidditch broom? How Hufflepuff is that?"
Modern Family loves its Harry Potter references and just about nailed this one.
"Hey that's just the divorce talking. Hang in there."
The best line of the night was Phil accidentally hitting on his colleague while on the phone and then immediately letting her down easy -- I talked last week about this show lacking subtly, so this tiny moment meant a whole lot, even if it wasn't totally restrained.
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