This week on Modern Family: Cam directs Manny and Luke in Cameron Tucker’s Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera; Phil, Jay, and Mitchell play golf; Gloria and Alex visit a psychic; and Haley and Dylan play house.
It was so great to see Cam in the part of his job that he’s clearly been waiting to exploit this whole school year: musical theater director. Although Phantom seems an absurd choice for children that young (not to mention—how were they going to do the chandelier?), it was totally worth it for the comedic effect. Cam’s leading man gets mono, and Cam happens to overhear Luke, who has been painting sets, singing like an angel (of music). But when Manny finds out Luke is to be the understudy, he embarks on a quest of cousinly sabotage, convincing Luke he doesn’t want to do it. Manny gets the part by default, but Cam (quite rudely!) makes him feel inadequate and tells him to try to mimic Luke’s taped performance. Manny hears Luke’s angelic voice for the first time and concedes; Luke should do the role. Luke performs (with perfectly timed camera angles so we can’t see his mouth moving), and his family cheers.
I found it improbable that Manny wouldn’t be a better singer than Luke. And that Cam would be so swept up in his role as director that he would act like an insensitive jerk to his own step-brother-in-law (“Manny, quick question, did you forget the notes I gave you, or did you just choose to ignore them?”), but here we are. It was amazing to see Cam’s desperate but poised interaction with a vicious student reviewer; I hope he got the write-up he was looking for!
Meanwhile on the golf course, Phil has asked Jay to give him some lessons. They “happen to bump into” Mitchell and his friend Pepper (Nathan Lane, remember?), who accept their invitation to play. Mitchell has been getting lessons from Pepper, whose father, Chaim Saltzman, was a great golfer. (“Or as he was known around the country club, ‘Chad Tradwell.'” Ha. There are Jews on the writing staff.) Mitchell wants to hustle Jay by pretending he doesn’t know how to golf (as his dad probably assumes), when in actuality, he’s become a great golfer. But over the course of the episode, the men end up having an emotional bonding experience about how fathers and sons don’t spend enough time together. What I took away was: NATHAN LANE! NATHAN LANE!
Alex doesn’t believe in “all unquantifiable phenomena,” including Gloria’s psychic. In a fun and different pairing, we get to see how strong women Gloria and Alex both roll their eyes at each other while maintaining the nicest face possible. But when the psychic’s prediction that Alex will meet a knight for a boyfriend partially comes true (the kid sitting next to her at Luke’s play is wearing a school mascot knights t-shirt), I can’t say I was that surprised. A little something for the faithful amongst MF‘s viewers.
Haley, Dylan, and Claire’s stoyline can be summed up as follows:
INT. DUNPHY HOUSE
Haley and Dylan babysit Lily and Fulgencio.
HALEY: Having kids is fun.
DYLAN: And easy.
HALEY: Maybe this is what I should do with my life.
Claire tries to intervene. Dylan and Haley get into a marital-type spat on their own, anyway. Dylan leaves. All viewers breathe a sigh of relief.
Photos: ABC’s Modern Family