Modern Family Recap: The Butler’s Escape

This week on ABC’s Modern Family, Luke wants to quit magic, Jay has trouble sleeping with Gloria, Cam has his first day of being a music teacher, Mitchell has to take care of Lily for a day, and Alex picks on Claire.

Let’s start with the Dunphy household. We get our first glimpse into what Phil and Luke’s normally adorable relationship will look like as Luke moves into his teenage years. In a reversal of the old “I’m going to make my child play sports” story, MF has Luke throwing a fit because Phil won’t let him quit magic. Phil decides to give Luke a test: if he can work his way out of The Butler’s Escape, it’ll prove that Luke’s not quitting just because magic has gotten hard. The Butler’s Escape looks like this:

Modern Family: The Butler’s Escape

I totally thought this episode was going to end with Phil screwing up and accidentally really trapping Luke, so it pleasantly surprised me when Luke escaped right away, no problem at all. By the end of the episode, we got to dig a little deeper with Luke’s character: it turns out he’s been being bullied at school for doing magic. Luke and Phil have an amazing heart to heart, only sliiiightly undermined by the fact that Phil does the whole thing while stuck inside The Butler’s Escape vest. Bullying is such a hot topic right now, so it made perfect sense that MF would use Luke as a vehicle to give voice to this necessary national discussion. I hope at least one bully out there is now concerned that he’s been messing with a potential TV star.

Meanwhile, over at Jay and Gloria’s, Gloria is still pregnant. I wasn’t aware that this is a thing in real life, but apparently pregnant women have sinus problems and tend to snore loudly. Gloria’s gotten so bad (and, er… large), that Jay and Manny haven’t been sleeping well. Jay tells Gloria he’s taking a trip to San Francisco, which we later learn was a complete lie! Jay had actually checked into a nearby hotel for the night! Of course Gloria caught him in the act — apparently Manny had been studying in the hotel lobby (as kids do… what?) and happened to see Jay walk in. In an epic communication showdown, Gloria forgives Jay, even though he tells her she is “huge and loud” in bed and that it feels like he’s been “sleeping with Rush Limbaugh.” This storyline confused me a little because Jay’s whole thing was that he had been avoiding confronting Gloria because he didn’t want to get yelled at. But isn’t Jay and Gloria’s entire relationship built on yelling and yelling back? Maybe Jay’s having some kind of sympathetic pregnancy that’s making him extra sensitive. Also, I would not have been nearly so forgiving if my husband called me “Rush Limbaugh.” Ew.

Since it was Cam’s first day of school, Mitchell was in charge of taking care of Lily for a day. Cam was SO. EXCITED. to start teaching the kids — he even pre-planned this shirt so he could have the entrance line, “Here comes treble!” (Note: I would have LOVED to have had Cam as a music teacher).

Modern Family: The Butler’s Escape  Given his choice in apparel, it wasn’t a huge shocker to find out the kids didn’t respond well to Cam’s unbridled enthusiasm. It did surprise me, however, to see Mitchell having trouble taking care of Lily, since Mitchell normally seems so together. I would have thought Mitchell would have built in plenty of struggle time when driving Lily to school for the first time, but apparently his type-A tendencies do not extend to domestic tasks. When Cam and Mitchell are reunited at dinner, Cam is a mess, but Mitchell seems to have pulled it off: dinner is on the table, the pesky light dimmer switch is finally fixed, Lily’s alive… but then we see the true reason for his success: Claire had come over to bail him out! After Claire interrupts Mitchell’s bragging so she can take credit, Mitchell and Cam bond over how hard it must have been for Mitchell to call Claire in and deal with her insults.

Which brings us to the final portion of this recap: Claire, Claire, Claire. She’s all over the place — trying to smooth relations between Luke and Phil, giving Jay some Gloria-advice, saving Mitchell and Cam’s marriage, and getting ripped on by teenage-monster Alex. The most we saw Claire do for herself this episode was fill out a crossword puzzle. I would love if Claire were to get a job or fulfill some kind of passion, since last season’s politics thing kinda fell by the wayside. But in the interim, we’ll have to settle for her being the Superwoman of fixing her largely ungrateful family’s problems, including her own issue with Alex. The key to getting Alex off her back? Sic Haley on Alex via Skype. Done.

Photos: ABC via beta.abc.go.com

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