Modern Family Review: "Best Men" (Episode 4.17)
As I settled in to watch this week’s Modern Fam, I found myself not caring too much about what would happen. This season has been too much of a rollercoaster to get excited about the show being on, only to be let down half the time. And then Elizabeth Banks knocked on the door.
Sal is back! Cam and Mitch’s crazy friend, who first appeared in season one, is getting married. Although they don’t spent much time together anymore (because they have a daughter and can’t drink copious amounts of vodka), she wants them to be her best men. It seems odd to bring back such a great comedienne for the role of “crazy drunk friend who finally settles down.” She had some nice quips (“I’m super excited, but I won’t be if you don’t want me to be”), but Sal is no Avery Jessup or even Season 1 Sal.
Her impending nuptials gave the writers a chance to say something about marriage equality. This small segment might have been the writer’s nod to that dialogue (“hashtag politics”), but it’s unfortunate that it didn’t try to actually say something about the issue rather than breezing by it on the way to another storyline.
And the next issue of the night: breastfeeding. Gloria is being ogled while signing for a package. Jay shoos off the delivery guy, who is obviously staring at her exposed breasts. He even says, “You don’t do that in front of strangers.” The incident was used as a topic to introduce Manny’s obsession with breasts, but on an issue that is so bipartisan, the half-hearted jokes were more offensive than an extreme parody would have been.
But back to the positive: Claire and Haley are having a moment. After complimenting her mother’s shoes, Haley agrees to a dinner date. Claire gives a perfect analogy of raising kids: it’s like sending a rocketship to the moon. One day they go around the dark side, and you have to wait to get the signal that they’re coming back. Haley is giving the signal. And Phil is a master with metaphors. But while connecting with a daughter she feels she’s lost, Claire realizes how little she knows about her other daughter. Alex is in a very cool band—and she sings.
While Claire is bonding with her daughters, Phil walks in on Luke being cagey with his laptop (“What are you hiding?” “Porn.” “Don’t lie to me!”). Turns out he’s trying to Facebook message a girl named Simone, so Phil takes over. They make plans for a date even though “kids don’t eat.” Fast-forward: turns out Simone’s mom, Valerie, was actually typing for her as well and Phil finds himself on a date. It’s the best of awkward Phil moments. And Luke gets the girl. Everybody wins!
Manny also has a date, with his new nanny, Dahlia, who is completely unaware. He has been drawing her in art and writing poetry about her; she is his muse with a “body that just won’t quit.” (Eww.) Manny tricks his parents into going to the movies so he can have time alone with her. Jay and Gloria thought Manny was obsessed with the female form because of Gloria’s breastfeeding, but when Jay finds Manny’s notebook, he realizes they were wrong. “This isn’t a nude descending a staircase, it’s a nude vacuuming a staircase.” (Double eww.) They rush home to find him sharing his heart with Dahlia, who sweetly rejects him, solidifying Gloria’s love for her.
And we’re back to crazy Sal … being crazy. Nothing really notable happens with this story except we learn her husband-to-be is also crazy and she gives a touching speech about Mitch and Cam’s love. Maybe a little waste of Elizabeth Banks’ talent, but she did get to have a showdown with Lily. Crazy Sal vs. Lily in every episode, always. Please, writers?
“Please, you’re at the hands of the master. I think I know how to pick up a 14-year-old girl … for you.”—Phil
“You still have 12 lines to go. Spoiler alert: I love you.”—Manny
“It looks like a Madonna video in here.”—Gloria
“If I’m playing board games on a Saturday night, you can shoot me in my cranium.”—Sal
Should Luke be an Axe’s spokesperson?
Do all the Dunphy kids sing?
How do we go about getting more Sal vs. Lily?