‘Modern Family’ Does Some Role Playing

Ty Burrell as Phil in this week's episode of ABC's "Modern Family."

Well, Modern Family returns to its groove this week. It wasn’t a perfect episode–Mitchell and Cameron still hit all the wrong notes and the kids’ humor specialties were woefully underused–but it brought the kind of funny that put this show on the map.

The episode was very much centered on Phil’s humor. He and Claire decide to have a quiet, “classy” Valentine’s Day at Ibiza, but Claire decided to inject the night with some more excitement after seeing Phil enjoy a ride on Hoveround (the man loves any sort of technology, it seems). They ditch their fancy dinner to role play as Clive and Juliana in a hotel bar, but of course the key Claire pulls out of her bra gets mixed up with the key of the old lady sitting next to them. It was a little disappointing to see the joke coming from a mile away, culminating in Phil naked (except for his socks) with an ice bucket and champagne on a bed that was not his wife’s. I wish they would have turned things around on us twice so that there would have been an actual surprise, but the semi-stale joke doesn’t take away from the hilarity of Phil trying to role play.

Claire: “I’m going upstairs to my hotel room. Don’t take too long.”

Phil: “I never do.”

Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria are basically competing to see who can “win” Valentine’s Day, unbeknownst to each other. Jay has set up a romantic five-course dinner at home, but first takes Gloria to Ibiza (is there no other restaurant in town?) with no reservation so she can be all mad at him when he surprises her. In a twist I didn’t see coming, Gloria has figured out the plot and moved the dinner to the garage so she could surprise him and throw in a motorcycle. “I win!” she says gleefully. A perfect Jay and Gloria segment. Although I can’t tell if it’s funny or insulting when Jay does his Gloria imitation.

I’m tempted to not even bore you with Cameron and Mitchell. They’re fighting over something trivial—again. Who does Mitchell’s gay assistant have a crush on? Who cares? Only Cam and Mitchell, because the audience sure doesn’t. There’s honestly nothing  this couple does except bicker and walk on eggshells around each other’s feelings. The episode ends with them doing some quasi-French kiss on the cheek, and they’re seriously just roommates with an adopted daughter void of facial expressions.

Alex: “You know it’s pronounced Ibitha, right?”

Phil: “Yeah, this weekend I want to go see some baby pandas at the thoo.”

Alex: “Sure, I’m the moron.”

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