Modern Family, “The Day We Almost Died,” (6.11) - TV Review


MF Die

Modern Family, Season 6, Episode 11, “The Day We Almost Died”

January 7th, 2015, 9PM, ABC

The whole Dunphy clan, plus Manny, have near-death death experience when Phill almost rams their van into a sanitation truck while riding out to get breakfast. This results in those effected making sweeping changes to their lives: Claire becomes fawning and overly grateful for her life, trying to make amends for a pre-accident argument with Mitch, shelling out big bucks for their mother’s birthday and trying to live life by the moment, being less uptight in the process, which quickly gets Mitch in trouble; Luke, who didn’t even pay attention to the crash, decides to fulfill all of the items on his bucket list; Alex thinks the moment squeezed a confession from Haley and vows to stop mocking her sister for her perceived stupidity, then blows off a class for a makeover that turns into a humiliation conga line that deepens the rift between them when she learns Hayley was actually mourning the near-loss of her own phone – Hayley, meanwhile, promises not to fight with her sister but her oblivious behavior soon results in her becoming the victim of one of Alex’s judo throws; Manny, already feeling guilty because he didn’t stop the theft of Gloria’s phone in the park, collapses into depression and anxiety, refusing to get into a car again, and Jay tries to shock him out of it by encouraging –slash-forcing Manny to learn to drive. But Jay’s the one who ends up in a state of trauma when Manny decides to become a vigilante on wheels and nearly gets the whole family into another accident; and Phil decides to become blunt, tough and fearless , which leads him to buy a llama, humiliate his rival Gil Thorpe in front of some old clients and champion Cam in his decision to confront an appliance store after they deliver the wrong colored dryer to their house…which leads Cam to wonder if he finds Phil sexy.

Everyone’s experienced a situation like this one; that one near-accident that could have ended your life, that one swerve that could have destroyed everything. Most sitcoms would turn a situation like that into a very special episode, but Modern Family simply takes the concept and tips it onto its ear, then goes for full-on physical comedy with a couple of seconds of warmth and heart at its core. In an episode filled, as always, with multiple storylines, the best is given to Manny and Jay, because it’s funny and turns the tables so properly and perfectly on Jay. Take-charge Phil is fun, too, but it was squirm-worth to watch Cam question his attraction to Phil, and following it up with quasi-flirtation, in the light of Phil’s support of Cam and Mitch’s marriage and the blatantly brotherly feelings. It joins the Hayley-having-an-older-man fetish plotlines in the annals of the show’s most cringe-inducing plots. Speaking of Hayley, her plot with Alex provided some of the show’s sharper laughs but it petered out in the end – and Luke’s plotline bordered on being pointless for all of the focus it garnered.
Still, the episode does offer some good jokes. It’s not excellent by any stretch of the imagination, but it still manages to amuse pretty heartily. A just-above-average outing.

The Roundup

  • Mitch was one terrified of the dark as a child, until he was seven. Jay felt that his wife coddled the kid.
  • Items on Luke’s Bucket List: Mentos Jet Pack Ramp Climb, Hold My Breath For 5 Minutes, Build a Bat Cave, Chew More Gum, Learn French, Clone Myself.
  • Joe has a cell phone. Jay: “this is why the terrorists hate us.”
  • Hey! We haven’t seen Alex do judo in a century or two.
  • Gil Thorpe, Phil’s rival in all things life and real estate, was a long-mentioned facet of Phil’s life, but first appeared in season four’s Flip Flop. He’s appeared once in every season since, and is played by Rob Riggle.
  • Next Week: Phil and Claire’s argument with the Monster Trucks rages back to life when they drop an eyesore of a boat on their front lawn and Phil calls his dad into service to help them wage their battle. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria disagree over how to best potty train Joe and Cam sneaks Lily off to clown school in “The Big Guns”.

This one isn’t quite a car crash, but it’s not a smooth getaway, either. It is indeed a fun little adventure, however. Worth a record.

  • GREAT 8.7

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.