Usually, I devote much of these TV write-ups to following an episode’s various plot threads and describing how they each develop and eventually resolve. It’s a somewhat formulaic, simplistic view of things, but so is TV; and for the most part, this usually allows me to run through all the points I want to make about an episode. Any explanation of what made last night’s episode of Modern Family great, though, is really lessened by that kind of analysis - its story heads in all sorts of directions, mostly without any sort of hierarchy, and still comes together effortlessly. It's not just an A, B, and maybe a C plot, it's a mesh that went beyond that. I'm still going to recount these storylines, but I don't think this does justice as to how perfectly the show's writers pulled off this high-wire act while still making the episode's actual events seem completely natural.
-Doesn't Phil look an awful lot like John Stossel when he's wearing the
-Ending of the episode’s simultaneous references to Say Anything
and Dylan’s ridiculous song is wonderful.
Probably the biggest glue keeping the episode together is Claire’s
plot, though it takes a while for this to become apparent. Claire is
meeting with an old friend of hers from work, who it turns out called
her up in order to show off her new promotion. While at first Claire
thinks that her friend is in fact jealous of her family, it becomes
increasingly clear that this isn’t the case, so Claire defensively
invites the friend back to her house to meet her wonderful family. It’s
at this point where we have some catching up to do, because this
spiteful gesture immediately blows up in her face the second they enter
This is because while Claire was out, things changed a bit around the
Dunphy household. Haley spent the day breaking up (fighting, really) with her boyfriend. This comes to a head when Claire returns home,
with Haley throwing Dylan’s stuff at him and yelling various invectives
before quickly making up and proceeding to straddle him on the stairs. Alex and
Luke spent their time attempting to sort out some old bottles for
recycling, many of which were not in fact empty. After some large-scale
spilling, the whole house reeks of booze and Luke removes his clothes
because he spilled some liquor himself, giving the impression that he’s a
fairly drunk child living in his own squalor. Good times.
Also contributing to this hilarity, but deserving a paragraph all its
own, is Phil and his moustache. A bus bench sign Phil advertises on is
defaced, giving him a bushy moustache and some irritation. It also
gives Phil an idea: maybe he should give a moustache a try. The
moustache helps him to converse with blue-collar workers, or at least
Phil thinks so. Then, the house’s water supply is temporarily cut off
so he’s forced to use a porta-potty outside, which gets its door blocked
in by Haley’s car. When Claire and her friend arrive home, not only
have her kids gone crazy but her husband is stuck in an outside bathroom
with a wonderfully awful pornstache. Truly a moment of greatness.
The other two families in the show aren’t left out, though, and spend
the day in a sort of swap with Jay and Cameron playing racquetball while Mitchell tries to sort out Gloria and Manny's car accident. Anything that causes Jay and Cameron to spend more time
together is a good thing from a comedic standpoint, and a fight about
being gay in a locker room is both a perfect fit for their characters
and fun to watch. The other plotline isn’t a letdown either, as it
turns out that Gloria caused the accident herself because she’s a
godawful driver; Jay only sent Mitchell to deal with Gloria because he was afraid, not for Mitchell’s advice as a lawyer.
Not only do none of the episode’s plots feel the least bit forced,
"Moon Landing" is also one of the few episodes of the show that made good use of the large cast. Deepening Claire’s character also
works to the episode’s benefit, just like the interaction between
Cameron and Jay. Admittedly, the main difference between this
episode and previous ones was the elegance of the writing, but if it’s that good, who cares if the show keeps repeating
“Five months later we were … four months away from having this little
bundle of joy”
-I’m a fan of the reasoning for The Supremes.
"I don’t take kindly to it when someone Tom Sellicks my bus bench."
"Everybody looks parked when you’re going 100 miles an hour."
"Doesn’t it bother you in the least that your gay son is the only one
tough enough to deal with your wife?"
-Keeping what Claire's job actually was as
unclear as possible is obnoxious. What’s the point of all the vagaries?
“What’s jagermeister” "You know how in a fairy tale there's always a
potion that makes a princess fall asleep, then the guys start kissing
her? Well this is like that, except you don't wake up in a castle, you
wake up in a frat house with a bad reputation."
"Where I come from they always blame the latino driver." “Where you
come from, isn’t everyone the latino driver?”
"A bunch of booze-drenched hill people"
"It was not my fault at all … it was the big cupcake."
-I enjoy how close the show came to rickrolling everyone who tuned
in. The taunt was better than actually following through with it."