Modern Family Review: "Career Day" (Episode 4.21)
Just four episodes left in the fourth season of Modern Family. It’s been a season of ups and downs, but with this episode it’s clear that the show has plateaued. It wasn’t a bad episode—there was a Gil Thorpe storyline that wasn’t 100 percent obnoxious—but “Career Day” was just OK, which is basically what we’ve learned to expect from this show.
The episode centers on Luke and Manny’s Career Day at school. Phil gets to speak about the love of his life: residential real estate. Always over-the-top, Phil creates an interactive video for his presentation, only for it to be wrecked by his archenemy Gil Thorpe. The kids love the Gil Pickles (not a match to the Phil-o-cases), and Phil leaves in a huff.
With the extra time, the teacher asks Claire to talk about being a stay-at-home mom. She gets into a fight with a middle-school student, which somehow leads to Gil offering her a job. She and Phil have mini cut-away fights about it. But in the end he wants her to be fulfilled, so he encourages her to do it. She quits a day later.
A recent episode of How I Met Your Mother addressed the issue of stay-at-home moms and careers. Lily delivered a tugging-at-your-heartstrings performance of how she feels like being a mother is killing her dreams. It was touching, yet fit seamlessly into the comedy. Modern Family really missed an opportunity with their version. Not only did Claire not end up realizing her dreams, but her family goes right back to not appreciating her.
Manny didn’t invite Jay to Career Day, but we learn that Jay always wanted to write a spy thriller novel about CIA Agent Chuck Stone. Work and family and “life” (Gloria) got in the way, so he didn’t ever get a chance to write it. Gloria pushes him to write to prove she isn’t the reason his dream wasn’t fulfilled. The real reason: he’s a terrible writer. He gets as far as making a bacon lettuce tomato sandwich (or BLT as Chuck Stone calls it). When Manny gets home, he takes over and of course proves to be a novel-writing prodigy—is there anything Manny can’t do?
Lily lost her first tooth, so Cam and Mitchell get to play tooth fairy. The morning after she shows off her gift: a card filled with fairy dust, some stickers, a toothbrush and a $100 bill. The “tooth fairy” had too much chardonnay and it was dark. When Lily gets a letter from the tooth fairy asking for her money back, we get the best moment of the episode: Lily’s face when she’s asked to trade her $100 for $1. Cam and Mitchell want Lily to want to give the money back, so they enlist Haley to play the tooth fairy. But she tips her hand when she says all the children’s “teeths.” And Lily learns a lesson … somehow.
“A typewriter? When is your book signing? 1975?”—Gloria
“History is full of great rivalries: Athens and Sparta, Kerrigan and Harding, Phil Dunphy and Gil Thorpe. In this scenario he’s the Tonya; I’m the Nancy.”—Phil
How much money did the tooth fairy give you?
Would you read a spy thriller about CIA Agent Chuck Stone?