TV Recap: Modern Family, “And One to Grow On”, (5.11)



8/1/2013, 9PM, ABC

Phil tricks Luke into carrying on a tradition among the Dunphy males; ballroom dance classes. Disappointed that he’s not being sent off to “autopsy camp”, Luke castigates his father for dragging him out, and then both Dunphy men end up going to jail, where Phil deals with the fact that his son isn’t a cardboard copy of him. Meanwhile, Claire is forced to decipher a long-ago riddle she made up to help her better remember where the family’s emergency money stash is and bail Phil and Luke out of jail; Jay and Gloria plan a joint birthday for Manny and Joe, and the teenaged Delgado might end up going dateless, as he keeps trying to date girls who’re far out of his league; Joe attaches himself to Andy the Manny, leaving Jay to try desperate measures when his son recognizes Andy instead of him as dada; Hayley tries to teach Alex how to drive and must deal with her sister’s extremely cautious style, something Hayley only wishes she had when she commits a parking violation that leads to her father’s arrest; and Mitch and Cam try to arrange for a reception venue for their wedding only to have the perfect place swept out from underneath them mid-booking, force Cam to apply some underhanded moves – most of them involving one of his old students, who has booked the joint for her sweet sixteen party after plans for a joint one fell through. Now Cam and Mitch have to convince the two girls to start speaking again, go through with their original sweet sixteen plans and abandon the inn to the two of them.

Desperation and comedy are usually strong bedfellows. For centuries, comedy and embarrassment have been strongly intertwined, and Modern Family continues to mine that rich vein for silly little belly laughs.

The strongest bit of humor stems from Cam and Mitch’s endless travails as they try to talk Mitch’s ex-student into giving them access to the Carriage House, the reception hall of their dreams. It’s the right kind of silly and manages not to verge into creepy – though I have to admit I’m looking forward to the end of this season and the end of their endless wedding plans.

The Pritchett/Delgado side of the plot is a little convoluted. Manny’s nonexistent girl problems seem to exist just to give Gloria something to do, and even then the root concern lies with Jay. He hasn’t had real problems with girls since he was a young kid way back in season 2.

The Joe and Jay idea has better legs, and it works out in a more sensible manner, too, with some bright spots for Ed O’Neil to play out.

The less said about Phil and Luke’s plot, the better. I have no clue why they need to repeatedly remind us that puberty has turned Luke into a surly nightmare, but I’d really appreciate him growing some new attributes ASAP.

But for those keeping track, 2/3rds of the Dunphy kids were less horrible than usual! Alex and Hayley even felt relatable and like the teenagers they are!

And One to Grow on doesn’t deserve any birthday whacks…but then again it could’ve stood a little more time to mellow and, yes, age for a little while longer, a good, flawed, but funny episode.

The Roundup

  • ”THEY USED TO CALL ME KING OF THE DIPS”. At this point, I just want an entire show about Phil Dunphy.
  • “That was definitely furry.” Julie Bowen needs to do more physical comedy on this show….or maybe just physical comedy that actually works and makes me laugh?
  • Can Hayley be the family peacemaker forever? Anything would be better than the monstrosity that has been her storyline this season.
  • We’re reminded again that Claire was pregnant with Hayley before she and Phil got married.
  • For the interested, the cast will be chatting live during next week’s episode.
  • Next week: Gloria attends a high school open house and gets into an altercation with a “Mean Mom” (guest star Jane Krakowski) . Meanwhile, Mitch deals with the judgmental attitude of his new neighbor and one of the Dunphy kids goes into therapy! Finally! In “Under Pressure”.
[notification type=star]66/100~OKAY. Stick around for the stinger, it’s worth it. [/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.