Modern Family, “The Closet Case,” 7.3 – TV Review

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MF Closet

October 7th, 2015, 9PM, ABC

In a misguided attempt at bonding with Dylan and pleasing Haley, Haley talks Phil into convincing Claire to let Dylan move into her basement mini-apartment. Phil immediately regrets lending his support to the cause when he repeatedly walks in on the two of them in bed together and finds himself trying to convince Claire to get rid of the kid for him, forcing the parents into a game of chicken and leaving Haley and Dylan in the catbird seat. Meanwhile, in reaction to their ever-tightening budget, Mitch starts working for Jay’s enemy – the ubiquitous Closets Closets Closets Closets – and must deal with Jay’s disapproval and anger, and Earl Chamber’s parallel eagerness to use him as a pawn in his endless rivalry with Jay. And Cam and Gloria argue on how best to advise Manny on his girl problem – they both fear that the girl assigned to him won’t decorate his locker due to the boy’s awkwardly-stated crush on her – with Gloria firmly in favor of coddling and lying to Manny while Cam thinks he should face the fact that his cheerleader crush isn’t attracted to him. Also, to help Manny cope with his crush on Carly Stevenson, Luke and Manny plot a trip to Alex’s college to flirt with one of Alex’s roommates.

Well, Dylan and Haley are moving hot and fast – I can predict the engagement and May marriage ahead, interrupted by an eventual appearance by Andy. Phil and Claire’s fight over the kids’ independence is one we’ve seen before, made oddly creepy by the fact that the entire plot revolves around the sex their daughter is apparently having nonstop with Dylan, a dopey ne’re do well it’s been fully established they both hate. The plot’s biggest problem is simple – Phil didn’t deserve to karma Houdini his way out of this one, and to be honest he should’ve faced more repercussions for his self-preservation. He’s my favorite character, but when the guy’s wrong he’s wrong, and even Haley seemed to be aware of her father’s pandering as the episode concluded.

The escalating war between Jay and Earl Chambers, meanwhile, finally goes physical this week; Mitch works wonders as the put-upon go-between who doesn’t want to offend his father but really needs the extra money from his rival. Cue the full-page bus ads and the public shouting matches, all enacted with a good amount of enjoyable zest.

Manny’s plotline, meanwhile, is both odd and unnecessary – if it was meant to be used as a stepping stone to firmly get Sanjay out of Alex’s life they could have easily split the teenagers up in last week’s episode. Gloria and Cam’s worry that Manny won’t fit in with his peers is understandable and grounded well within his typical tendency to be awkward in most aspects, but it seemed an odd thing to concern themselves with, especially when Manny wasn’t even at school to see his locker – being too busy hanging out with Luke at his sister’s dorm room.

“The Closet Case” is a decent episode – definitely not grating as the premiere was, and passably entertaining all around.
The Roundup

  • “Where’s the little Leprechaun?” “Upstairs getting dressed.”
  • “The scariest moment I’ve ever had in my life was that pantsless conversation I had with your dad through the dutch door.”
  • And pervy Luke is back. Yay?
  • Closets Closets Closets has appeared or been referred to numerous times throughout the show, starting in season four, though Earl Chambers made his first appearance last season in “Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?”.
  • Dylan’s mother lied and said his dad moved to the moon; he was, in fact, working at the mall.
  • “I have seen him eat a panda steak!”
  • ”Sexy Manny? I hope there’s a number to a good therapist in here!”
  • Did Alex swap roommates offscreen?
  • This episode marks the end of Sanjay Patel’s brief relationship with Alex.
  • Next Week: Phil can’t convince anyone else to help him take care of the duck eggs and finds himself manipulating Lily into helping out, Claire comes up with a great closet design idea but is afraid to suggest it to Jay; Gloria and Manny deal with awkward romantic problems and Cam relives his college days when a bunch of frat guys rent the upstairs apartment in “She Crazy”.
7.1 GOOD

A decent episode, only vaguely marred by plot choices.

  • GOOD 7.1
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About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of Firefox.org, has been watching television for all of her thirty-plus years, and critiquing it for the past seven. When she's not writing, she can be found in the wilds of the Northeastern United States.