Modern Family, Season 6, Episode 3, “The Cold”
October 8th, 2014, 9PM, ABC
Nothing bonds a family more than nursing each other back to health from an illness that’s spread through the entire group like a bad strain of Ebola (and by bonding I mean it forces them in opposing directions while somebody whines that they need the heating pad in one room while another needs orange juice in yet another). This is the pain the Pritchett-Dunphy household experiences thanks to a nasty cold that’s been circulating throughout the family ever since Cam and Mitch’s wedding, somehow starting on Cam and Mitch’s honeymoon and then wending its way through every single member of the family – a cold that’s entirely Phil’s fault, as he sneezed all over the cake, into the champagne and then blew his nose on a napkin used by Mitch, the first to come down with the illness. And once he finds out there’s video graphic evidence of him passing the illness along to the rest of the family he spends time trying to greenscreen out all evidence of his illness out of the tapes with Luke’s help – or face the wrath of his angry family.
Meanwhile, Claire, the cold’s final victim, suffers under the weight of every symptom every other family member got in a single case; Jay and Gloria team up to help Manny through football-related performance erosion by teaching him alternate coping skills that are diametrically opposite of each other, pressure that’s not easily eased because his performance will make or break Cam’s winning season as a coach. When they both fail, Cam’s left out in the cold with a difficult decision to make; Alex and Hayley hash out Hayley’s feelings for the returning Andy the Manny, then Andy and Hayley finally talk about their lingering feelings; and Lily makes a competitive new friend who brings out Mitch’s protective side; after he hurts her, Lily’s the one who’s upset.
Well, the whole illness plot is somewhat unique…grotesque but unique. If you can get beyond the stomach churning aspect of Phil sneezing all over everything then you can enjoy the sight of him trying to edit the footage together in a Zapruder-like manner will provide more chuckles. Mitch’s plot is relatable if worthy of a groan, Manny’s plot is mildly amusing and at least reaches a resolution, and the Andy/Hayley situation remains intriguing if adorably frustrating.
Otherwise, the show ends up the way it always tends to end up – with a family-wide implosion during a private function that results in reconciliation. Yet most of the plots don’t get a solid conclusion, beyond the Manny one; by the end of the episode even Claire remains sick. More closure would have been appreciated. And you just know there’s going to be more going down between Hayley and Andy. All in all, typical episode of Modern Family – with a whole lot more bathroom humor than usual. Sadly it doesn’t end up elevating the program in any way, nor does it make the product more watchable. A confusing and yet mildly amusing episode, “The Cold” could be a lot worse than it turns out. But the production’s been starved instead of fed – a cardinal sin with both illnesses and sitcoms.
- ”I’m not sure I loved being called ‘Miss Thing’”. I have to repeat that I love what they’re doing with Luke’s character after last season’s disaster.
- Phil was also patient zero in the ‘pink eye apocalypse’, which apparently started during the show’s Hawaii trip.
- “Kick it like you kicked sugary drinks last summer!” …He did, Jay?
- Next Week: The Dunphys deal with close quarters while living out of a motel room while the house is treated for mold; Gloria turns into a mama bear when Manny dates a girl who’s older than him and Cam worries Mitch is a jinx as his team embarks on a winning streak in “Marco Polo.”
Weighed down by gross-out humor and burdened by dangling plot threads, this episode almost feels like a two-parter that never reaches its proper zenith. Offensively inoffensive, it needs some brass and polish…not snot and spit