TV Recap: Modern Family, “Closet Con ‘13,” (5.8)



11/20/2013, 9PM, ABC

Claire talks Jay into attending a closet-building convention with her, where she wonders if he had a roving eye during her childhood when he runs into an old female friend. Meanwhile, Cam and Mitch take Lily to the Tucker farm for the first time, where, on top of Mitch feeling out of place among Cam’s country ways, they have to play strangers for Cam’s aged grandma. Phil takes out Jay’s prized Apollo 13 model from its secret hiding place and promptly breaks it into pieces, requiring an appearance from an out-of-towner and Manny and Luke’s help to set it right. Lastly, Hayley and Alex find themselves tied together when they compete for the attention of a pizza boy.

On any other show, the exposure of a years-old infidelity would be a huge, dramatic hullabaloo. Modern Family tries, naturally, to keep it as light as humanly possible. Ultimately, it’s just awkward. One expects the possibility of Jay having a convention-affair behind Gloria’s back to rear its ugly head. When it thankfully never does, the opposing thought occurs: why not? Claire retroactively permitting her father to cheat on her mom feels even stranger. There’s something wrongheaded and uncomfortable about it.

Modern-Family-Season-5-Episode-8-ClosetCon-’13The other plots are fairly charming and very classic sitcom. The best is Manny, Luke and Phil’s quest to rebuild Jay’s model, though it never reaches a proper climax. Nevertheless, Ty Burrelll holds the episode together with his mock-macho performance. The Hayley and Alex plot is a good variation on the two-characters-handcuffed-together plot, and adding Gloria to the scheme of things as a voice of reason was a nice touch. Alex and Hayley competing for the same guy does, however, feel a bit off; high school sophomores and college freshmen shouldn’t be dating or trying to date the same dudes.
The Mitch/Cam/Lily plot was ultimately very sweet. Cam and Mitch fight over a sensible and relatable issue, and both are equally right in their wishes-after all, they had to tamper down their love in front of Jay for years, just as Cam mentions. We’ve been hearing about the ranch forever, and it’s nice to see it in the flesh and blood (see: hay and cud). Cam’s mom was quite adorable. But it, too, needed more time to be fleshed out and could’ve stood a little more time lingering over the details of their foibles.

In the end, “Closet Con ‘13” is just what it says on the tin; cute and funny, but insubstantial. Perhaps it would have been better to concentrate on the two subplots versus the closet-related plot. Mostly, I just plain wish we’d spent much more time with our supporting players instead of the main plot. Though a bit bizarre for a Modern Family episode, the humor, particularly in the less central scenes, keeps things rollicking along.

The Roundup

  • ”We’re actually on deathbed #2!” Again, Cam gets the best lines.
  • Fred Willard appears again as Phil’s dad Frank.
  • Nice bonding moment between Manny and Phil.
  • Closet Con. Geddit? Huh?
  • We met Cam’s sister in this season’s “Farm Strong.”
  • Also whatever they pay Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, it isn’t enough; the girl can work a punchline.
  • Next week, the Pritchett/Dunphy/Tuckers are on Thanksgiving vacation next week, but you can see them on both Wednesday and Turkey Day in repeats! See you in a week!

[notification type=“star”]77/100 ~ GOOD. Though a bit bizarre for a Modern Family episode, the humor, particularly in the less central scenes, keeps things rollicking along.[/notification]


About Author

Staff Television Critic: Lisa Fernandes, formerly of, 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.