MODERN FAMILY Recap: ‘Good Cop, Bad Dog’
May 12, 2011 by Haylee Fisher
We’re so close to the end of the season of MODERN FAMILY, I feel like every episode should be knocking it out of the park at this point and I just wasn’t in love with this one. This season has been so up and down for me, so maybe y’all can convince me at the end of this recap that I’m crazy and this episode was better than I’m thinking, OK? Let’s get to it!
The majority of this episode was concentrated on Claire and Phil, so I think that may be why it wasn’t my favorite. The two of them are so neurotic and anxious, they make me nervous watching them, which in turn makes them my least favorite couple on the show. I guess that’s a testament to the actors’ ability to portray them, because every interview I’ve seen with Ty Burrell (Phil) and Julie Bowen (Claire), they seem like lovely people.
Their storyline starts when their three kids and Manny were fighting. Of course they were, that’s all these kids do is fight, maybe to a little too much excess. I didn’t have a sibling growing up, so maybe my viewpoint is skewed, but did those of y’all with brothers and sisters fight as much as the Dunphy kids? Claire feels like Phil doesn’t back her up in disciplining the kids and wants to be the “fun” parent, so she decides they need to switch roles. Claire takes Manny and Luke go-carting for their good report cards (which for Luke is managing not to lose it) and makes Phil have the girls clean their bathroom before they can go out.
Haley and Alex did what every other teenage girl would do — threw some stuff under the bathroom sink and called it clean before trying to make a getaway to the mall. Phil runs after them and jumps on the car to stop them and makes them clean the bathroom on their hands and knees, complete with pulling hair out of the drain which make everyone – including me – gag (mine was more of a laughing-gag, though) and didn’t let them eat all day.
Claire, meanwhile, manages to run Luke and Manny off the go-cart course, proceeds to make them eat french fries, onion rings and milkshakes and then suggests they go ride a roller coaster – all in the name of fun, of course! After Luke throws up in the car, Phil tries to make the girls go clean that up as well.
Again, this story just wasn’t working for me. In my opinion, there was just too much yelling and forced out-of-character-ness. I don’t mean that the writers are writing them out of character (cough like GLEE has been doing cough), but Claire making them switch roles just wasn’t funny for me. What did you guys think?
In Cameron and Mitchell land, they have tickets to a Lady Gaga concert and Cameron comes down with the flu. Mitchell debates the whole episode about whether he should stay and take care of Mitchell or go to the concert. He even calls Claire to get her opinion and she says go, because she’s all about having fun, after all.
I did love Mitchell going around their bedroom picking up tissues with tongs – that’s something I would do. And his Gaga walk out of the bedroom later in the show had me giggling. But again, something was just missing for me. That’s not to say Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell) didn’t do a great job, though. Cam is usually the one to steal the show, but Mitchell was really given time to shine in this episode. It was nice to see him let loose a little bit and get some genuinely funny lines (more on that later). As much as I love Cameron and Eric Stonestreet’s portrayal of him, how about the writers give Mitchell more to do in the future and not just be the “straight” man (figuratively speaking) in the relationship?
That brings us to Jay and Gloria. Out of nowhere, Gloria has developed the habit of collecting “strays” — people that need work, money or in this case, some guidance. She practically blackmails Jay into giving entrepreneur Guillermo business advice with his Good Doggie/Bad Doggie dog treats company. I had forgotten Guillermo was played by Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda and he was completely unrecognizable in this role. Between the mullet and the coke-bottle glasses, he looked like a completely different person. The role, while small, was both hilarious and heartbreaking and I hope this opens up more mainstream success for Miranda.
But who really stole the show was his dog sidekick, Stella. Stick a cute animal in front of my face and I’m sold. Who knew a dog could be such a great actor? Those eyes she was giving Jay when he went to take her back to Guillermo were so sweet and I knew in that moment, Jay couldn’t say no. (Side note – Jay’s been such a softie lately, hasn’t he? Between his brother’s cancer scare and keeping the dog, he’s turning into a regular ol’ pile of mush.) Manny’s face when he handed her over was pure joy and I loved it. Hopefully the dog will continue to make regular appearances, even if it’s just in the background, which is not unlike what has been happening to Lily lately.
Every episode of MODERN FAMILY has a theme – a moral, if you will. Tonight’s theme about switching roles was not subtle and seemed to be drilled into us at every possible turn, including Gloria’s voiceover at the end. It was sweet how she said maybe we are the way we are because of the people we are with and shouldn’t have to change because of them, but after we’ve spent all episode talking about it, I felt like it didn’t need to be said again.
I feel bad about not saying any of my favorite lines last week, so here are a few from this week:
- “Ew, gross, what happened to you?” – Mitchell, finding a sick Cameron on the couch.
- “I’ve been looking forward to that concert for months; it’s the one gay cliché I allow myself” – Mitchell, who then attempts to sit more “masculine.”
- “All I want is when I go to bed at night is to be lying next to a man that is generous and giving, and that man doesn’t necessarily needs to be you.” – Gloria, which makes Jay change his tune about hearing Guillermo’s business pitch very quickly.
- “Do you want me to move the wastebasket closer to you?” – Mitchell, picking up tissues with the aforementioned tongs.
“No, it’s fine where it is.” – Cameron
“Really, cause the bed kind of looks like a Rose Parade float.” – Mitchell
- “We could sell the tickets online, but there’s that Craigslist Killer.” – Mitchell, who really wants to go to the Gaga concert.
- “Sweet and sour chicken!” – Phil, when he discovers the girls haven’t actually cleaned their bathroom.
- “But I’m nice and I put on the sugar jacket.” – Gloria, meaning sugarcoating.
- “Dad, we haven’t had lunch yet.” – Alex
“Neither have half the kids in Africa. Stop yapping and get back to work.” – Phil, making the girls clean the bathroom while he duct tapes one of their laptops shut.
- * “Can I just take a moment with her to tell her goodbye?” – Manny, about the dog.
“Tell her goodbye? You just met her!” – Jay
So what do you think, MODERN FAMILY fans? Did you like this episode better than me? Did you feel the moral was pushed too much or did it not bother you? What lines did I miss? Comment away!
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