TV Recap: Modern Family, Other People’s Children (5.17)


MF Children

March 12th, 2014, 9PM, ABC

This week’s Modern Family’s all about surrogate parenting. Gloria and Claire take Lily out shopping for a flower girl dress for Mitch and Cam’s wedding, but each adult is so preoccupied filling the missing emotional holes in their lives (Gloria wishes she’d had a girl and is frustrated by her lack of girly shopping time; Claire isn’t very girly thanks to her being raised by her dad) that they lose their bored charge in the mall; Jay and Luke try bonding over building, and Jay tries to afford Luke with advice that the jokey Luke isn’t prepared to accept; Mitch, Cam, Alex and Manny make a visit to a museum, where Cam and Mitch feel intellectually inferior to the art-loving teens; and Phil teams up with Andy the Manny to create an anniversary gift for Andy’s long-distance girlfriend Beth, which causes overzealous romantic Phil to throw Haley into the mix and causes sparks to bloom up between the nanny and Haley.

Sometimes watching Modern Family is like indulging in a particularly sophisticated episode of “I Love Lucy”. Most of the plots this week were on target, and they build toward things that are relatable and frankly adorable. The message of ‘be who you really are’ underneath layers of pretension is a solid, well-thought-out one to promote, and it’s nice to see different aspects of these well-known characters get explored, such as Gloria’s desire to parent a girl and Cam’s anxiety over seeming dumb in front of others. Each character learns that it’s better to be grateful for the quality time they actually do have to share, and that their relatives like them just fine as they are. And what message is more valuable in this day and age?

All of the plots flowed well and were equally amusing for different reasons; most notably, Luke read like Luke again, and was enjoyable and a pleasant part of the program. The show also does well when it actually addresses the problems it’s made for itself, including its characterization of Alex and the confusing muddle that is Haley’s life. You can see plots starting to progress again after stalling over the winter break to best draw Mitch and Cam’s wedding out to the May sweeps period. And that is, admittedly, quite the relief.

It’s also nice to watch characters that don’t normally have much interaction bounce off of one another. Alex and Manny and Cam and Mitch are an unusual combination of characters, but they manage to work together and even take a plot in a different direction. Phil with Andy the Manny was a new choice, too, and I enjoyed that idea a lot; of course hopeless romantic Phil would do about anything to make other people happy. Every storyline had an excellent, worthy scene, and every storyline was, in short worth watching.

Other People’s Children comes very close to being the best episode of Modern Family this season. It does a good job using the entire sprawling cast in a funny, memorable way and will make you laugh long and hard.

The Round-Up:

  • ”I took an art class once, but that was just to look at naked Italian dudes.” And with that, Mitch gets quote of the week.
  • I see you building towards a Haley/Andy pairing, show. It’s long been hinted that the two of them might get together, judging just from the banter they exchanged during Andy’s first episode.
  • Andy and Phil reenact the Oscar-award winning Sandra Bullock picture ‘Gravity’ for their amusement.
  • Lily, in a moment of Disney corporate synergy, wants to dress up as Belle during her dads’ wedding.
  • Next week: Features a repeat of October’s “The Late Show”.


[notification type=star]GRADE: 95/100~AMAZING. An all-around funny episode that’s memorable and just a little bit touching. [/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.