Modern Family, Season 6, Episode 17, “Closet? You’ll Love It!”
Wednesday, March 4th, 2015, 9PM, ABC
This week, the Pritchetts, Pritchett-Tuckers and Dunphys learn a little bit about living in the past. Claire and Jay frantically try to compete with a fellow closet company by shooting a TV ad. Jay is hoping to make the spot live up to a famous (in his mind) commercial he did when his kids were young and forces Claire toss out the ad copy she spent all night working on to replicate it almost exactly, leading to an oatmeal-dull ad that forces Claire to confront her father on his lack of on-camera (and off camera) warmth – and Jay to force and keep forcing a creepily pleasant attitude. Meanwhile, Phil, Luke and Manny are tasked with destroying a camera drone that’s being used by a neighbor to spy on Gloria in the family’s backyard, a mission that gets personal for all three men when the owner of the drone publishes humiliating footage of them online – while Gloria, at the same time, tries to wean Joe off his binkie before her cousins come for a visit; Mitch and Cam worry that Lily’s going to be terrible at her singing recital – but it turns out Cam has an ulterior motive for his daughter to sound better than she does due to his rivalry with fellow recital dad - who’s recently married one of Mitch’s law school rivals, causing the competition to spiral out of control; and Andy is rushed to the hospital with stomach pains while waiting to attend date and his long-distance girlfriend Beth. While Haley, who bailed on their double-date because her date was annoying her, dithers over whether or not to visit Andy, causing Andy to realize something about his girlfriend and Haley to see him in a different light.
Another week, another strangely mixed bag of emotions stirred up by this show. On one hand, we have yet another story of anonymous voyeurism on a hapless woman, only in this case instead of encouraging it in an aw-shucks-boys-will-be-boys kind of way it’s seen as a form of dire male chivalry that only grows into a pitched battle when their egos get involved. I’ve spoken repeatedly about the retrograde sexism and racism, which is present in that plot a really uncomfortable moment where Jay sprays a POC away from his property with a hose while shouting ‘no menus’. Speaking of Jay, it’s sad to note this but his plot with Claire went nowhere, dead-ending after the kinda-funny sight of him with an orange toupee on his head in the retro-commercial. At least the Phil/Gloria/Kids plot has a few laughs in store to (badly) counterbalance the weird racism and sexism going on. As for Cam, Mitch, and Lily, their characterization continues to fall into a Flanderisation ditch, becoming meaner and meaner and nastier and nastier as each episode unfolds. And in the middle of all of that is a surprising island of coherent, well-written romance. The Haley/Andy storyline is the best thing Modern Family’s done since the kids have started to age into their late teens, at turns funny, heartrending and sweet, and it’s almost impossible to understand how a sitcom that’s otherwise failing so wildly could produce a storyline like this. But it’s true – somehow, in spite of everything, the show’s conjured up a tender little island of romance in the sea of increasingly irritating stories and subplots it’s been presenting. In this episode, it’s the only opportunity to enjoy characters interacting in a pleasant and realistically human way, a spot of happiness in an ocean of bad plotting and characterization.
- Lily’s Saturday routine: Ballet at 11, then a playdate, then karate classes at three.
- Gloria’s trying to wean Joe off of pacifiers as of this episode.
- We meet Andy’s often-talked about but never seen before this episode girlfriend Beth in this episode.
- Cam’s rival, Andrew, was leader of the Greensleevers and was pushed out by Andrew just at the height of the group’s fame.
- “If I’m your elephant, you have a shot.”
- “Get the hell off the space above my lawn!”
- The episode’s conclusion, where everyone tries to bounce their terrible taglines off of Jay and he loves them all, provides a lot of hilarity.
- Alex isn’t in this episode.
- Next Week: Modern Family takes a weeklong hiatus. See you in the middle of March!
Modern Family continues to be the ultimate mixed bag, giving us the worst and best a sitcom can offer in the same season. This episode is an improvement over last week’s, but continues to display flaws and imperfections.