Modern Family Recap: Games People Play

This week on Modern Family, Phil gets an RV, Cam and Mitchell become gymnastics dads, and Gloria and Jay learn the meaning of “competitive.”

The episode opens with very exciting news: Phil has done business with an RV dealer, and he got the family their very own decked-out luxury RV! They can take ALL the cross-country trips. The kids are ecstatic (a color I found strange on Haley, but sure). Claire is less so — she knows what will happen when the kids are confined to close quarters for an extended period of time: chaos. But she bites her tongue, and at first, the family trial-run trip to the ocean seems to be going swimmingly: Phil can individualize the air temperature for different compartments, the kids want to listen to classical music, Alex and Haley are not fighting about shirts; it’s utopia.

Which is why it was inevitable that the trip would take a turn for the maelstrom. In a scene that seemed like everyone was suddenly possessed, the kids started hitting each other, bickering, and breaking things — exactly as Claire had predicted. This culminates in a rare moment of Scary Angry Phil. He storms out of the RV, disappointed in everyone and frustrated that they can’t just have an awesome time.

But this gives Claire a rare moment of contemplation with the chastened kids — and they all start revealing what’s really eating them. Luke’s not doing well in math and is going to have to take summer school, Alex got dumped by two guys on the same day(!), and Haley, um, TRIED OUT TO BE A LAKER GIRL. And did not make the cut. Okay … what??? Haley’s newfound love and evident talent for dance bumped me, but I ultimately bought it; especially because it yielded a dance break on the show. As you might’ve guessed, Claire realizes the value of spending confined time as a family. Phil enters and, no questions asked, joins in the Laker Girls’ audition dance.

Meanwhile, Cam and Mitchell were those awful gymnastics parents we all saw on the Olympics telecast last summer! It was hilarious. Lily sticks the landing, and Mitchell freaks out — her talent has unleashed his ugly competitive side. All the other parents start to give him the side-eye. But it’s not until Cam intentionally sabotages a competitor girl’s hair bun, causing her to lose her balance when it falls out, that the crowd really starts to turn on them. Then there’s this whole strange misunderstanding where Lily comforts a fallen girl by taking out her hair pins, and Mitchell and Cam run in only to see the last part. They end up yelling at her in front of everyone, saying this is not the way she should be handling herself and definitely not how they raised her. They’re now banned from attending her gymnastics meets.

For her part, Lily was adorable! Who knew she was so graceful?

And finally, Gloria, Jay, and Manny break into the other relatives’ homes to search for Manny’s poetry notebook — he’s got a live performance tonight, and he doesn’t know where it went. (Gloria obviously has no problem figuring out how to get inside the houses.) But when Manny catches Jay and Gloria snooping around, trying to score dirt on the relatives, he’s disturbed. I was actually kinda surprised by their invasiveness — the medicine cabinet, really, Gloria?? By the end, it’s Manny who’s the real sneak. He devises an elaborate plan in which he makes Jay and Gloria think the relatives are purposely not inviting them to game night because they’re mean-spirited cheaters, but realllllly Manny had hidden their invitation. Then, when the adults start to come to terms with their need to change, Manny suggests they go work on themselves at a game night tonight; they can skip his poetry reading (that he never wanted them to go to in the first place). Gloria discovers her son’s machinations… and she’s proud. She raised a sneaky, street-smart kid.

Photos: ABC’s Modern Family

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