Modern Family Recap: Open House of Horrors

This week on Modern Family, the neighbors have asked Claire to “tone it down” with the Halloween scariness, Mitchell has to deal with the consequences of accidentally telling Lily that her birth mom’s a princess, and Gloria has rage issues.

I didn’t know how MF would find a way to top 2010’s Halloween episode (the one in which Claire forces everyone to play a part in her elaborate haunted house), but last night’s episode did not disappoint! The show opens with a strange fight between Claire and Phil: Phil mentioned he didn’t understand why the neighbors would have a problem with Claire’s decorations because she’s “not even scary,” and Claire took offense to that. But then Phil says Claire should realize she had been overdoing it with the professional costume makeup and such, which would imply that she was, in fact, scary, so I’m not sure what Phil’s actual stance on Claire’s fear-inducing factor was. In any case, we now know Claire’s mission for the episode: make Phil weep tears of terror.  Meanwhile, Phil has chosen Halloween night to lead open house tours/trick-or-treating at a creepy-looking pre-war Craftsman… however, only kids have been showing up. He leads them on tours anyway, making them promise to tell their parents everything they’ve learned about the square footage of the house (and only then can they have their candy).

Cam and Mitchell are throwing a party to celebrate Cam having lost 30 lbs (could you guys tell?). But when Cam and Mitchell’s Halloween costumes arrive in each other’s sizes, Cam has no choice but to wear Mitchell’s bulky bull suit, obscuring his new bod. I felt bad for Cam, but I also could not imagine Mitchell pulling that bull suit off, even in the right size! Oh, also, one night when Mitchell was trying to put Lily to bed, she was peppering him with questions about her birth mother.  To make her (be quiet and) go to sleep, he told her Mommy was a princess. However, the who-Lily’s-mom-is thing was supposed to have been a “scripted” discussion that Mitchell and Cam would carefully plot out together… so, whoops. Lily is now obsessed with dressing as a princess for Halloween. For some reason, Mitchell can’t bring himself to tell Cam about the slip-up until the very end of the episode… and Cam reveals he feeds Lily lies sometimes, too. Mitchell and Cam have a beautiful and realistic discussion with Lily about how they don’t know who her birth mother is, but they know she wanted Lily to have a loving family, and she’s got one. Lily responds maturely. I, on the other hand, wept openly. They’re such a good family; they’re role models for parents of any kind, not just gay dads.

Gloria’s pregnancy problems continue: this time, she’s having rage issues and snapping at people for silly reasons. Manny suggests it might be the hormones, but she blames it on being Colombian. A flare-up with some teenage trick-or-treaters results in the Pritchett house getting egged, which only serves to infuriate her even more. She shouts, “You put egg on my house? I kill what you love!” Hehe — awesome syntax. But when someone insults her at Mitchell and Cam’s party (dude asks if she’s dressed as an “illegal alien” which, to be fair, is an obnoxious thing to say), Gloria freaks out.  She then starts to worry that her baby has changed her; she must have an angry baby inside her. Jay calms her down and reassures her that these are just Mama-Bear instincts kicking in, and it just means she’s going to be a good mother, again. Gloria seems relieved, although… doesn’t she think she did a good job with Manny? Why would she be insecure about raising this new one?

Finally Claire, still angry that Phil called her not-scary (and bored because the neighborhood children were too afraid to trick-or-treat at her house), decides to scare Phil. Unfortunately, he totally blows by her, leaving her unseen in a creepy Bo Peep outfit. But when Phil spots one of Claire’s props on the first floor, he figures out she must be there somewhere to scare him… just as a couple arrives for the open house. Phil gives a hilariously farcical tour, thinking Claire could be around any corner and ready to pounce on his unsuspecting potential clients. But when nothing happens, he’s confused. As he’s about to leave, the power goes out, the TV flickers, and the phone rings… but it’s Claire saying she’s at home with the kids! Phil is scared out of his mind! After a terrifying search throughout the house, Phil stumbles upon Claire, Alex, and Luke, who have been in cahoots, hiding in one of the bedrooms.

It’s official: Claire is the scariest adult woman I have ever encountered, on-screen or off.

Finally, Manny had accidentally set off the school’s fire alarm (while practicing Gene Kelly dance moves in the hallway). The evacuation inadvertently got the school bully, Durkas, out of a test, and as a result, Manny has been accepted into the cool kids’ trick-or-treating group. But when members of that group show up at Gloria’s Halloween party (having insulted/egged her in a previous scene), she chases them out of the house with revenge eggs. We later find out she missed most of the kids but got the one slow one: her own son. Whatever, Manny, I bet none of those kids have any idea what Singin’ In the Rain is!

Until next week…

Photos: screencaps ABC’s “Modern Family: Open House of Horrors”

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