Modern Family left 2013 with a bang and began 2014 with a bust. This episode was unfortunately underwhelming—something reflected by its title, “And One to Grow On,” reflects this week’s quality.
The Dunphy parents lie to their kids to either trick them into doing stuff or avoid them. Phil lies to Luke about taking him to an autopsy camp in order to trick him into going to ballroom dance class. Claire lies to Alex about being too busy to teach her how to drive (she really just can’t stand how slowly Alex drives) and pays Haley to teach Alex. Out with Luke, Phil gets arrested for Haley’s countless parking tickets and ends up in jail. Claire needs to bail him out, but she can’t remember where Phil has hidden their emergency cash. The problem is that Phil uses a mnemonic method to hide the money but changes the hiding place every month. She spends the day trying to remember terrible Phil puns until she eventually finds it and bails him out. Phil and Claire are seemingly out of trouble, but when Luke and Alex learn about their lies, they are infuriated with their parents. Haley saves her two parents by laying on another incredible lie, winning Claire’s admiration.
In wedding-planning world, Mitch and Cam have set a date (March 28; I’m counting down the days!). They are trying to book a venue, but Mitch takes too long to think about it, and it gets booked by Cam’s teenage student for her sweet 16 party. Cam does some reconnaissance work on the girl. It turns out she was supposed to have a joint sweet 16 with her best friend at a different venue, but they fought over boy drama and have split their party. Cam hatches the plan that if he can get the girls back together, they’ll go back to their old venue. They meet where all teenage girls meet—the mall—and work their espionage and manipulation to mend their friendship. They succeed, but alas, the girls prefer their new venue for the party, putting Mitch and Cam back at square one.
While this show usually has unity with themes and storylines, this time around the plot and jokes felt a little scattered and forced. The scenes with Claire running around the house, trying to solve Phil’s riddles became boring after two jokes, yet lasted for many more. The storyline of the Dunphy parents getting caught lying then being saved by a lie felt very amateurish for what is usually a very deep and polished show. The one stand-alone saving grace moment was watching Mitch and Cam pick sides over teenage girl was right. Seeing grown ups act like teens is almost always ridiculously hilarious.
Below are this week’s hits and misses:
Mitch, on Pepper making a positive comment about the venue: “That’s true, he doesn’t throw the word ‘adequate’ around lightly.”
Haley: “Where do you think she’s calling me from, the closet and blinds union? Why would closet workers and blind people even have a union together? Think!”
Luke, responding to Phil’s love of Footloose: “More like Footlooser.’”
Luke, unable to drop the dancer words: “Just because you’re a dancer, doesn’t mean I have to be one too, cha cha cha.”
Cam, commenting on his plan to intervene in the teenage girls’ fights: “Friends fighting over boys, something we know a thing or two about.”
Mitch: “Except usually it’s gay men, not teenage girls, so we’ll have to adjust our approach just—not at all.”