Modern Family returns with two—count ’em, TWO—episodes of Dunphy family goodness. What an auspicious way to launch our Modern Family recaps.
Modern Family: “Schooled”
The Dunphys and Pritchetts are all at dinner, where they toast to various new school beginnings. Haley’s starting college, Lily’s starting kindergarten, and Jay and Gloria are starting parenting classes (per Manny’s request; he doesn’t think they were the best parents). Claire and Mitchell get in a fight about Mitchell making everything about Lily, and Claire ends up squeezing Mitchell’s nipples. So that happened.
Back at the Dunphy house, Haley and her siblings exchange heartfelt goodbyes, each in their own way. Alex promises she’ll try not to be too much of a nerd, and Luke dons an evil cyborg mask so Haley won’t see him cry. Phil and Claire talk to the camera, anticipating what it’s going to be like saying goodbye to Haley. Claire thinks she’ll be okay; Phil says he’s going to cry harder than the first time he saw Air Bud. Phil also reveals he’s going to give Haley Phil’s-osophy, a hardbound collection of all the life lessons he’s learned. That’s an amazing pun.
Cam and Mitchell are equally as emotional while dropping Lily off at her first day of kindergarten, but Lily seems totally fine. Two seconds later, however, they hear Lily screaming about a boy pulling her hair. Cam pins the boy against the jungle gym and yells at him in a show of violence that we were supposed to find humorous but actually kinda freaked me out. The teacher reprimands Cam, forces him to apologize to the boy, and demands to see Cam and Mitchell in his office. Once there, the teacher brings in the boy’s parents, who turn out to be two lesbian moms. After an antagonistic exchange, the teacher tells them to settle their differences outside of school. Cam and Mitchell agree to have the moms over to their house.
Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria attend the parenting class, clearly not taking it very seriously. Jay makes two racist jokes in a row, and Gloria announces that she “won” the swaddling competition. It’s refreshing for us to see Jay and Gloria bonding instead of fighting, but their classmates are not impressed.
As Claire and Phil move Haley into her new dorm, Haley is nervous about making a good first impression. Phil, of course, mortifies Haley by revealing he’s wearing a homemade “Haley Dunphy Moving Co.” shirt.
Cam and Mitchell sit down to reconcile with the moms, but they have nothing in common and do not get along. After another snippy back-and-forth, the moms start to storm out . . . only to find the kids have locked themselves in Lily’s room.
We return to the parenting class, where Jay quips that he would give his baby alcohol if it were teething. Having horrified the class, Jay and Gloria decide to bounce early.
Back at the dorm, Phil mistakes Haley’s roommate for Claire and squeezes her butt . . . just as her father enters the room. In a series of unfortunate events, Phil and Claire thoroughly humiliate Haley in front of her new roommate (really though — how did they not notice the My Little Pony sheet mix-up until right then?), and Haley asks her parents to leave. They part on awkward terms, and Haley barely acknowledges Phil’s-osophy. I wanted to do to her what Cam did to that little boy.
Turns out, Lily and the little boy could unlock that door if they wanted to, but Lily shouts that she loves him. Cam has probably the funniest line of the episode, in which he replies, “You love the idea of him; now open this door, sweetie.” At the promise of hot dogs, the kids open the door, and all is well. The dads and moms do have something in common after all: they love their kids.
Jay and Gloria return home to a role reversal: Manny is “disappointed” that they ditched school early. Manny reveals the real reason he wants them to go to parenting classes: he’s terrified something will happen to the baby if they’re not careful. Jay reassures Manny that this baby will have a different childhood than Manny had. Even though Manny was forced to be the man of the house as well as a kid, he and the baby now have Jay, so Manny only has to worry about being the kid. What a breakthrough moment for Jay and Manny!
Finally, we get the scene we all knew was coming. Claire and Phil drive home from dropping Haley off at college, choking back tears. However, we get to see Haley’s side of things, where she has no one to sit with in the cafeteria (wait, this is Haley?), and she ends up reading Phil’s-osophy to herself. When she calls her parents to thank them, revealing that she does care and will miss them, I cried in spite of myself. Oh, Modern Family, you really know how to play with our emotions.
Modern Family: “Snip”
This episode, we get to see how the show is going to handle having Haley at college and away from the family: video chat. It seems out of character for social Haley to have so much time to spend talking to her family via computer, but okay, we get it. We learn that Luke’s locker keeps getting pranked, Alex has entered a goth phase, Haley needs Claire to send her more clothes, and oh yeah, Phil’s having a vasectomy. It’s part of Phil and Claire’s plan to live a leisurely, child-free life in five years when Luke goes off to college.
Because Cam has had a lot of free time ever since Lily started school, Mitchell tentatively suggests Cam get a job. Cam freaks out, thinking Mitchell is accusing him of being a lazy freeloader. Cam does do a lot; he even has a secret master project. Cam storms off with a pre-packed suitcase.
Gloria has an ultrasound appointment in which the doctor offers to reveal the sex of the baby. Jay wants to know, but Gloria wants to be surprised. Also, Gloria is in denial that she’s started to gain pregnancy weight, and her clothes look ridiculous with her belly hanging out.
Luke forgot his science project at home, so Claire drops it off at his locker . . . only to fall victim to a gooey prank. Upon finding his now filthy mother, Luke is embarrassed and totally ungrateful. “Five more years” becomes Claire’s mantra.
At Mitchell’s suggestion, Cam and Mitchell stop by their friend’s boutique to pick up some shirts. As it turns out, their friend happens to need a new salesperson, and Cam would be perfect for the job. Cam accepts. It all seems too convenient until another employee (“Joe,” spelled Jeoux) loudly asks if this was the Mitchell who needed to get his boyfriend a job. Cam runs out, betrayed.
Gloria and Manny have lunch at the mall, and Manny laments the recent firing of his school’s music teacher. Manny had been buttering him up for years, and he was going to give him the lead in the musical Oliver! (which I could totally see him rocking!) Gloria offers to flirt with whoever the new music teacher will be. She stands up to reveal that pregnant belly hanging out, but Manny can’t bring himself to say something.
In the vasectomy waiting room, Jay, who has driven Phil, whines about wanting to know the sex of his baby. Phil can only concentrate on how nervous he is that it will hurt. When a post-op man wanders through groaning in pain, Phil panics and makes a run for it.
Claire comes home to find that Alex and her new goth friend Skylar are about to shave the back of their necks. Rather than reprimanding Alex, Claire grabs the electric razor and demands Alex go through with it. In a manic hand gesture, Claire accidentally catches Skylar’s hair in the razor, shaving part of it off. Skylar runs away now that her life is ruined. It actually didn’t look that bad to me.
We return to Cam and Mitchell, who are really having it out. Cam feels he does a lot around the house (listing “shopping” twice among the many things he does), and Mitchell is unappreciative. But when Cam hears himself saying aloud that his “master project” is a mermaid costume for their cat, he realizes how ridiculous his life has become. Mitchell comforts Cam, telling him they’ll find him something else. We also hear (for the first time?) that Cam loved being a music teacher but had to give that up when they got Lily. Hmm . . .
Jay catches up to Phil, and they have a heart-to-heart about what’s really going on: Phil is afraid the surgery will hurt. Jay says he’s afraid of things, too; he’s afraid Gloria’s going to have a girl. Jay doesn’t think he’s sensitive enough to raise a girl. Phil points out that Jay’s being sensitive with him right now, and Jay has to agree. If Jay can comfort Phil, he can comfort any little girl. Since it’s getting a little sappy, Jay takes the following too-perfectly-positioned picture.
Manny can’t take it anymore. He tells Gloria she’s pregnant and looks it. But she shouldn’t be scared to be pregnant because this time around, she has two partners: Manny and Jay. Gloria seems to accept this. Then all her tight clothes start popping off, and chaos ensues. I can only imagine the Tweets going on at that mall.Claire visits Phil right before he’s about to have his vasectomy. She just overheard the girls saying nice things about her on video chat (Alex didn’t really like Skylar anyway), and Luke brought her an apology rose. Maybe life with kids isn’t so bad after all. Phil admits he’s having second thoughts about the surgery, and together they decide to wait five more years. That’s a pretty end to this episode, but uh, they do realize that having another kid would mean a LOT longer than a five-year wait for leisure-time, right?
Finally, it’s Modern Family’s signature ending montage. Gloria comes home with (lots of) maternity clothes. Cam is the new music teacher at Manny’s school. Jay says he’s just going to have to pray for a boy.
Then the family members send around photos of each storyline’s most embarrassing moment: Gloria’s clothes falling off, Phil’s advertisement mishap, and Cam with the mer-cat. Adorable.