Modern Family Recap: Bad Hair Day

This week on Modern Family: Claire attends her college reunion; Manny deals with singing rejection; and Cam and Mitchell wind up with a lady-wig glued to baby Joe’s hair.

Claire’s college reunion allows us a glimpse into that wild child past she’s always alluding to. Upon arrival at the party, she and her old friend (played by Bridesmaids co-author Annie Mumolo!) immediately start ogling Claire’s ex-boyfriend, a dashing British professor. It’s clear why Claire didn’t want Phil to come with her: This guy is suave, intellectual, and summers in Europe. Kind of the anti-Phil. But Phil does show up, and Claire warns him that her ex—the one that dumped her just before she started dating him and that she might not be over—is present. Phil proceeds to loudly stake his claim (I believe the phrase “I legally own her” was used at one point), until he realizes he’s been talking to the wrong dude, a benign little guy named Tater. Tater admits he’s always had a crush on Claire but never got to date her. When Phil spots his true competition, the erudite Professor Cooke, he’s shaken up. I mean . . . look at Claire with him.

Claire assures Phil that she couldn’t be happier with the life she has, but she “just wanted a little peek” at what could have been. Conveniently, Professor Cooke’s wife enters at that very moment. She’s haggard, put upon, drinking a lot of alcohol, and ranting like Mrs. Thenardier from Les Miz. Claire quickly sees enough to send her gratefully running back to Phil’s arms. I thought it was interesting to examine the honest dynamics of a marriage. Mainstream network show Modern Family was able to admit that even once you’ve entered into a lifelong relationship contract, it’s not like you don’t wonderrrrr . . .

Over at camp Mitchell and Cam, the men are having a photo shoot for an Oscars party and dressing Lily as different movie stars. (They admitted this was an extremely cliche thing for a male homosexual couple to do, and I breathed out. We’re allowed to laugh now that we know they’re self-aware.) Soon, cranky Lily is swapped out for baby Joe. Lily sweetly volunteers to play assistant.

Uh, and glues the lady-wig to Joe’s head!

This marks the first time we’ve seen her fathers genuinely (rightly) angry with her, which I found unsettling. I prefer network parents not yell at their kids ’til they’re at least eight years old. After trying—and failing—to steam the wig off the baby’s head, Mitchell and Cam have no choice but to cut it off, effectively scalping him.

Meanwhile, Manny is lying on the floor of his bedroom cloaked in a field of gray (or something? I couldn’t quite follow his imagery) because he keeps getting rejected from solos in choir. Gloria sends Jay to comfort him, and the two men go shopping, as men do. Jay contrives to have Manny take a city bus home, and while on the way back, Jay pulls up next to the bus and demands Manny sing in public. Jay shouts that he thinks Manny isn’t getting rejected because he actually has a bad voice; it’s that he chokes at his auditions because he’s afraid to sing in front of people. Manny faces his fear and sings, and the people of the bus somehow smile instead of yelling at him to shut up. I wish that’s what real life were like.

Oh, and in the end, Cam bribes Manny with a solo if he tells Gloria he cut Joe’s hair. Manny bribes Luke with a feather pen if Luke claims he did the haircut. And Luke blackmails Jay into taking responsibility, lest Luke blow the whistle on the pro-bowler Jay’s hiding on his bowling team. Jay takes the fall, and Gloria, who has been trying to create a new image of herself as low-maintenance, accepts the blunder graciously.

I think the person this storyline taught us the most about was actually Lily. You don’t want to cross her!

Photos: ABC’s Modern Family via

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