Modern Family: Oh, Fudge!

I’ll admit it, I was not a fan of New Lily when we met her. Sorry, OK? I know, saying “I found her rude and lacking in comedic timing” was a bit overboard, but I really did miss Old Lily.

Since the first episode with new, toddler Lily, she has slowly grown on me. I’m still not OK with the lack of explanation about how she grew so quickly (I mean, lack of explanation other than “This is a fictional TV show and we all know it, they wanted a kid who actually talked, so stop being such a loser and get on with your life”, obviously) but I’m starting to understand the benefit of this Lily. She can be funny. Case in point, I loved last night’s episode of Modern Family. In fact, I thought the show went three for three this week in funny storylines.

Bleep My Kid Says

“Little Bo Bleep” featured dear little Lily uttering her first curse word, much to the horror of Mitch. Cam’s reaction? Laughter. Because if Cam has two weaknesses, they’re for kids cursing and old people rapping. It was a pretty basic storyline, but one that delivered a lot of laughs for me. I liked that Mitch and Cam both reacted in ways that I thought were true to their characters, but without heading down the tired path of having them argue over the situation too much. Mitch simply didn’t want Lily to keep saying the word, and Cam wasn’t able to rein in his giggles.

The pressure was on, too, since Lily was about to appear as a flower girl in a family friend’s wedding. (The dresses lit up. That was quite something. I can only assume this family friend or relative was a gypsy, based on my knowledge of TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.) Cam teared up immediately, as someone like Cam does at weddings, and upon seeing her beloved daddy cry Lily did the one thing she knew would make him laugh – she dropped that F-bomb! In the church! In the middle of the ceremony! Everyone laughed, and Cam carried Lily out like the ticking bomb she kind of is. Like I said, it may not have been the world’s most original story but I still thought it was one that was utterly hilarious.

*For those concerned, the young actress who plays Lily was actually saying “fudge” the whole time. So calm down, Parents Television Council and other lunatics. Yeah, I’m looking at you, “No Cussing Club.”

Puggle Problems

Meanwhile, Jay’s dog Stella was one suicide watch since she kept jumping into the pool despite not knowing how to swim. The result? Absolutely hilarious. I will never not find Jay’s intense love for this dog hilarious, as well as Gloria’s not so quiet disdain for it. It’s a great reversal of what you’d expect from them and provides a lot of comedic material.

While visiting Claire at her city council debate, her opponent (a puggle expert, who weighed in even though Stella is a French bulldog) suggested that Gloria’s palpable dislike for Stella could be driving the poor thing to suicide. Right before the wedding, Stella jumped into the pool again. Unfortunately the only person around to save her was Gloria, who was already dressed to the nines for the wedding. Overcome by guilt, she jumped in to save Stella, and afterwards they all realized that Stella was actually just trying to get to the vent where her favorite squeaky toy was trapped. Funny mix up, right? Not for poor Gloria, who had to attend the wedding with wet hair.

Angry and Unlikable

The last funny storyline revisited Claire’s decision to run for city council. Right before her debate with Duane Bailey (David Cross, who has an incredible knack for playing characters who both make me laugh and immensely annoy me) she found out that polls revealed people found her angry and unlikable. So the family took on the task of helping Claire change her behavior so that she’d come across better.

What I liked about this storyline was that it acknowledged something that many viewers of Modern Family often say – that Claire’s character often comes across as shrill, annoying or – there’s that word again – unlikable. And in some ways, they’re right. She’s the one that has to rein in her goofy husband and keep two of her three children from doing stupid things. She has a sarcastic sense of humor and rolls her eyes a lot – something I personally relate to and, yeah, some people hate that. While I do think Claire’s character can be a bit much at times, I like that she’s flawed. I like that you can see how Jay, Claire and Mitch are all so alike and have all partnered up with people who aren’t as practical or acerbic as they are. (Remember Pritchetts vs. Dreamers?) Claire isn’t an unlikable person to her family, but on a public stage she can come across that way.

Unfortunately for Claire, being peppered with harsh criticisms from your own family right before a debate – one that’s televised on the public access channel, no less! – isn’t exactly a confidence booster. Luckily, Claire has Alex. They had a couple of really cute bonding moments this episode, and Alex reminded Claire to be confident and powerful as she took on her opponent. At first, she was. And then it all went to hell.

Duane brought up Phil’s hotel debacle from last Valentine’s Day, when he was arrested after accidentally entering the wrong hotel room and, er, preparing to see his wife. Both Claire and Phil tried to explain and defend the situation, but they were too flustered to do it well. The result? A hilarious YouTube clip that went viral and got autotuned. Yes! The only thing better than Phil Dunphy actin’ a fool is Phil Dunphy actin’ a fool while autotuned.

So what did you guys think of the episode? I thought it was hilarious – and I really want to see more of Claire’s political campaign. Personally, I hope she wins. The timing seems right for Claire to make a change and work outside the home, and it would provide some fresh material for not only her character, but the whole clan. Now, check out a few of my favorite quotes and moments from the episode:

  • “Some voters find Claire angry and unlikeable. To those voters I would say…wait till she reads this.” – Phil”It’s my fault. I let her out, and then I got caught up in my couponing.” – Manny
  • Claire: “How’d you get so smart?”
    Alex: “I’ve always assumed adoption or baby switch.”
  • “This is my new favorite show.” – Cam, watching the debate disaster on public access
  • “Oh, now we’re political? We leave town on gay pride weekend because we don’t like traffic.” – Mitch, when Cam suggests they use marriage rights as a reason to skip the wedding
  • “You still have so much left to smell!” – Gloria, trying to convince Stella not to kill herself
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About Jill

Pop culture junkie and TV aficionado. I write sharp and snarky TV recaps at www.couchtimewithjill.com
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