This week on Modern Family, the adults head off to a classy New Year’s Eve Palm Springs getaway, while Alex and Haley are left in charge of the young’uns. Sort of.
Upon arrival at the hotel, the Dunphy’s and Camchell(?) are not impressed. Apparently Jay hadn’t been there since 1974, and not much has been updated or cleaned since then. It’s one of those places that whenever Phil opens a drawer or a door, he feels the need to quickly close it, and when Claire asks him what was in there he just says, “Nothing!!” Ah, Modern Family, accurately capturing the good and the gross of family vacations.
Jay has prearranged a New Year’s Eve dinner at the hotel, but each of the younger couples separately makes plans to ditch out early and have what they’d consider to be a fun night. Cam and Mitchell want to go to this gay nightclub their friend told them about. A strange bellhop tells Claire and Phil that there’s a hot springs not too far from the hotel, which Claire convinces Phil would be romantic. We find out that Claire and Phil have not had . . . relations in a month, and she’s trying to get something going. I kinda get creeped out when TV moms and dads talk about sex, especially when it’s with, like, Phil Dunphy. But I guess it’s healthy for the show to address!
Oh, and because we have to specifically justify why this family who generally loves hanging out doesn’t want to be together on a very sentimental holiday, we find out that each couple thinks the other tells the same story over and over.
Cam (re: Claire): “We should start calling her ‘ranch house’ because she doesn’t have a second story.”
I thought that was funny. Moving on.
Before Cam, Mitchell, Phil, or Claire have the opportunity to fake sick and leave the dinner, pregnant Gloria starts falling asleep and Jay has to take her upstairs. The younger couples seize the opportunity and head off to their respective adventures.
Cam and Mitchell arrive at the nightclub, only to find they’re being ignored by the younger, more attractive gay men. At first, in a rare moment of Mitchell being the fun one, Mitchell pushes Cam to loosen up and dance, but when the two somehow get hit with a wet towel, they run away. They end up at an old-timey bar with old people, and Cam and Mitchell finally feel both young and appreciated.
Claire and Phil valiantly hunt in the dark for the hot springs, which Phil guesses might have been a ruse on the part of the strange bellhop in order to ensnare them and kill them. Claire, freaking out, blurts, “I don’t want to have an adventure. I don’t want to have fun. I want to have sex with you!” She’s embarrassed, but Phil presses her to elaborate.
CLAIRE: Do you know that it’s been a month?
PHIL: No it hasn’t.
CLAIRE: Yes, it has. Day after Thanksgiving. I remember because I came in under-budget on all of my Christmas gifts, and you know how that gets me going.
Girl after my own heart. Anyway. Claire and Phil trek on, reinvigorated, and ultimately do find a hot spring and strip down. Unfortunately, they were right to question the motives of the strange bellhop—this hot springs happens to be the site of Nude Year’s Eve—a naked party for people who want to ring in the New Year. Phil and Claire are ambushed by naked strangers, and they spend the rest of the night trying to avoid touching skin with them. That’s probably happened to someone’s parents (in California) at some point. I think this plot point was a great combination of big, physical comedy and relatable emotional storyline. Modern Family at its finest.
The adults reunite with new stories to tell!
Randomly, after Jay puts Gloria to bed, he ends up playing poker with the hotel owner and her friends, including Billy Dee Williams (The Empire Strikes Back). Wait. What?
As for the kids? We finally got the Haley POV story I’ve been waiting for, as Haley and Alex babysit Luke, Manny, and Lily. Luke invites some girls over, including a blind date for Manny, and his sisters are taken aback. Little brother’s getting older, and they don’t know how to deal (or how their parents would expect them to deal) with him bringing a girl into his room and closing the door. But when Haley and Alex finally decide to invade the makeout sesh, Luke gets mad, and Haley finds herself shouting mom-like things at him, “You hate me now, but someday you’ll thank me!” She catches herself, and for the first time, we hear a moment of genuine (not in front of a disciplinary figure) contrition from her: “I think I owe Mom a huge apology.” Yes, Haley, considering you’ve been the epitome of a dumb, bratty teenager, you should probably start working on that.
Oh, and no one has been paying any attention to Lily.
Photos: ABC’s Modern Family