Can I say how happy I am that Haley wasn't dumbed down past the point of no return last night on "Go Bullfrogs!"? The way Modern Family has been writing for her this season, I was surprised that getting into college would even be a reasonable hope for the eldest Dunphy child. Not only that -- she got along with her dad, wasn't entirely selfish and acted like a typical university-bound teenager instead of the desperate-to-drink party girl she was in Season 1's "Hawaii." Haley wasn't the only character last night who thrived in putting their guard down acting like themselves... and considering how funny the episode was, I'd hope to see more of this pattern in the future. Here's who else kicked it old-school:
Any reference to Claire's wild past is accepted with open arms, especially when we get to experience her unruliness in action. You could see her story's twist about a mile away, but that fact that she didn't realize her date was straight was both true to character and fun to watch. Truthfully, I was tired of hating on naysayer Claire and her uptight crusades against the local government (though I'm sure that'll be back in a week or two), and I'm thankful that she let loose instead of wasting her night drinking Pino with the other moms.
Mitchell and Cameron
Can every episode have these two mad at an outside force instead of each other? Because their fighting was kept to a minimum and their pot pie loving was at full blast, this may be one of my favorite Mitch and Cam storylines to date. I'm a little jealous that waitress Joanne gets to spend so much time with them in their splendor.
Another plotline you could see from the moment he opened his mouth, and I'm okay with that because Ed O'Neill was able to sell Jay being slightly obsessed with Colombian soap operas. I much prefer geek Jay to crotchety Jay or jealous Jay (for the umpteenth time), and Modern Family even snuck some sweet father-son moments with Manny in there.
While I'm not sure how a child was able to place a mail order, I do believe Manny would desperately buy a bogus piece of equipment in hopes of growing a few inches ([insert masturbation joke here]), just like Jay tried out Botox and balancing bracelets last season. The kid's at his best when he's uncomfortable with himself and dealing with heartbreak. I don't like to see him in pain or anything, but until the writers can find a better way to make Manny lovable and hilarious, I'll take what I can get.
One of the reasons Phil is such a lovable character is because he essentially never puts up walls. Last night showcased him at his very best: basking in the glory of his college days. I love that he still remembers his old college cheerleading moves and each of his lines were better than the last: knowing his high-five was ill-presumed as soon as he made contact, ordering 40 chicken wings, calling Haley's choice in a mate "a little cliché" because the extremely handsome 18-year-old looked "exactly like her dad," revealing his participation in Take Back The Night -- Ty Burrell has plenty of material for his next Emmy reel in this episode alone. And we've seen so much Phil and Luke lately, it's nice to know that he is just enamored with his other kids.
Sure, Gloria was there, too, but I don't have too much to say about her other than the fact that Sofía Vergara is getting increasingly better at landing her lines... and that there's still room for improvement. "Go Bullfrogs!" had very little extended family interaction besides the Claire-Mitchell-Cameron plotline, and the episode benefited from not trying to overlap everyone's stories. There was also an absence of Alex, Lily and (mostly) Luke, and I'd be interested in seeing that pattern continue in the future -- not necessarily cutting out the child actors (never thought I'd say that about anything), but leaving out some of the cast once in a while in order to make time for actually good story arcs and character development. Can't say I don't miss Stella the dog, though.
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