If you don't factor in any plotline except for the boys' night with Phil and Dave (a.k.a guest star Matthew Broderick, who plays a gay man quite convincingly), "Mistery Date" would definitely be one of the best Modern Family episodes in a while. Sure, the show has done a handful of plots chock full of dramatic irony where we know one character is gay or straight, but one of the Dunphys definitely doesn't, or, like Phil's encounter in this episode, an outsider thinks a Dunphy is interested in them when we know they don't play for the same team. Just off the top of my head: Claire had a night out with Cam and Mitch's friend who turned out to be straight; Manny's pal who he met online revealed at the end of an episode that she thought Cam could be "the one"; the whole Is Shorty Gay? saga -- so yeah, it's been done. But what made this plotline so funny was Ty Burrell, and how his interactions with Dave were actually kind of Phil-lite in terms of what we sometimes see from his character. I'm shocked at how well he downplayed his accidental come-ons and innuendos. I seriously cracked up every scene he was in.
As for the other family members... where do I begin? I don't know what Jesse Tyler Ferguson did to piss off the writers, but I genuinely found him painful to watch in this episode. Of course, he had no loving connection whatsoever with Cam (a classic Modern Family trope at this point), Jay was a grumpy old man who is slightly afraid of change, Gloria is super pregnant and emotional (not sure if you knew), Claire and Alex were utterly predictable and lame and even Luke and Manny hanging out at bar mitzvahs wasn't nearly as funny as it should have been. Whatever. For the sake of salvaging what worked in the episode, here are the best lines of the night, presented without comment:
"Do you want to go to the contestants mixer?"
"No, I don't want to humanize them."
"I know this sounds crazy, but I feel like my whole life has led to this moment"
"You made a very similar speech to get my mom to stop for those churros."
"You met him at hookup central, of course it's a date-date!"
"Such a hurry, this one!
"She knows I need this every so often. Long as I clean up afterwards, she's fine."
"Was I the only one listening to Uncle Menachem's toast?"
"Wow, your hand's shaking. Remember, Dave: It's just a game!"
"Well, I guess this is something we're doing!"
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