Modern Family, Season 6, Episode 7, “Queer Eyes, Full Hearts”
November 12th, 2014, 9PM, ABC
Cam and Mitch meet a popular local news personality, Anne Gibbs, at a function. She instantly becomes intrigued by Cam’s life story and his career as an openly queer high school football coach and plans to follow him around with cameras the week of a big game, invoking Mitch’s exasperation as Cam presses him into service cooking a traditional pancake dinner for the varsity football team, then abandons him to show off for the crew. Meanwhile, Phil and Claire worry about their daughters; Alex has studied herself into a zombie like state and Claire’s worries about Haley’s cocooning in the living room are soon supplanted when she starts spending time with Andy the Manny in private. And Gloria hires a loquacious Spanish tutor for Manny, who’d really rather be taking French, which Gloria finds intensely disappointing. Gloria soon takes to flirting in Spanish with the tutor, which frustrates everyone involved, making Jay jealous and leaving Manny even more determined than ever to switch to a French class.
Balancing just on the right side of ancient situation comedy tropes, just funny enough to avoid becoming an annoyance, “QEFH” manages to be slightly funnier than your average episode of Modern Family. A lot of it has to do with Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and even more of it has to do with Sarah Hyland. Both put in incredible performances this week. Cam’s brief flirtation with fame is delightfully egocentric silliness – the show has the courage to directly reference Friday Night Lights and then gently poke holes in its sense of fatuousness. A batter-splattered Ferguson also draws plaudits with his sense of dignity, very much the Felix to Stonestreet’s Oscar for this episode. After last season the show’s doing a much better job integrating the cast, but it’s still nice to see Mitch and Cam close to front and center. There is even, if you squint, some social commentary underlying it all about how the media treats queer people as inspirational stories versus human beings.
The Haley and Andy plot neatly hems that last dangling plot thread from two episodes together and shows the twosome functioning as friends. A lot of that credit goes to Sarah Hyland, who has a total breakthrough as Haley this episode. She throws herself into the character’s emotion, into her grit and her determination, and has a great scene where she manages to dazzle her way toward an unexpected position. She has a great comedic breakdown scene that’s sadly excised to the credits – she should still stick it in her Emmy reel, it’s a real exemplary moment of acting. Haley’s come a long way from flirting with older men and being a college dropout with no ambition; kudos to the writers’ decision to stop treading water with her.
The Gloria plotline is a tad obvious, and a tad too easily solved. I’m also fairly sure they’ve shown that Manny understands some amount of Spanish, too – and fairly recently at that. But even then, Queer Eyes, Full Heart works and works well, amusing handily and winningly.
- Manny’s full name is Manuel Alejandro Delgado.
- Andy the Manny has been a recurring character for the past two seasons, first appearing in “The Manny” in season 4.
- The episode’s title is a pun on “Clear Eyes, Full Heart, Can’t Lose”, the slogan used by Friday Night Lights’ Panthers football team, specifically coined by coach Taylor.
- Next Week: Thanksgiving once more descends upon the Dunphy-Pritchett clans. Luke and Phil team up to cook dinner, which is enough to worry Claire into making a back up turkey, which she then hides to spare their feelings; Jay and Gloria, too, scramble to hide when their trip’s cancelled at the last minute and the entire family congregates at their house for dinner; and Lily refuses to wear a fancy dress to dinner and Cam must play ‘bad cop’ with his daughter and come up with a solution when Mitch refuses to intervene in “Three Turkeys.”
A funny, snappy little number, with some good comic moments and even a bit of underlying social commentary.