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Modern Family Review: "Open House of Horrors" (Episode 4.04)

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<i>Modern Family</i> Review: "Open House of Horrors" (Episode 4.04)

I don’t know what’s wrong with the kids in this California town. Claire Dunphy not only dresses up to the nines to give out candy, but she also seems to have an endless supply of candy and pulls the ultimate tricks on guests. Isn’t that what Halloween’s about? Apparently the guy she gave an actual heart attack to last year doesn’t agree.

For this year’s night of trick or treats, Claire is banned by the neighborhood association from doing anything scary. As she’s complaining about it, Phil mentions that she’s not that scary and “the type of person who can be twice as scary without wearing any makeup.” Just what every woman wants to hear.

“Open House of Horrors” was a good episode simply because this comment fueled Claire’s competitiveness, which is when these two are at their best. Overall the episode wasn’t particularly humorous, and this running gag wasn’t overtly hilarious, but it was a solid storyline.

Cam and Mitchell are throwing a Halloween party to show off Cam’s 32.4 weight loss. But when the costume shop sends over the bull costume instead of the matador costume in his size, he resorts to flashing his guests because, as he says, “No one’s going to see my bod in this bulky bull costume.” It is mildly funny, but what steals the show at this party is Lily thinking her mom is a drag queen princess. In a flashback we learn Mitchell told her that her mom was a princess to get her to go to sleep once. When Cam finds out, it gives them both the opportunity to have the real adoption talk.

On a sitcom, telling a kid she’s adopted could go a number of different ways, but I think Modern Family did it right. I could imagine this conversation actually happening between parents and a child. It would have been easy to never address the issue (more jokes about the princess) or to try and be too comedic, but they took this moment to be real and honest. Props.

Again the Jay and Gloria thread isn’t very engaging. Jay is upset because he lost his “moves” and couldn’t talk his way out of a ticket. And Gloria is on the warpath because her hormones (or possibly the angry baby inside her) are making her crazy. She does a good job playing crazy—and rocks a pregnant alien costume—but the story doesn’t really lead anywhere.

Claire finally gets the opportunity to scare Phil at his open house. Phil gets to use a When A Stranger Calls-style line (“You’re saying this call isn’t coming from inside the house”), and Claire gets the whole family in on the scaring action. What a better way to celebrate Halloween with the fam?

Best Lines:
“I was clearing my mind by practicing some of my Gene Kelly dance moves.”—Manny
“You put egg on my house; I kill what you love.”—Gloria
“Seriously, though, a Gryffindor letting his mom carry his Quidditch broom. How Hufflepuff is that?”—Phil

Discuss:
Seriously, though, who wouldn’t want to go to the Dunphy house to trick or treat?
Who would you listen to: devil Luke or angel Reuben?
What do you think Stella’s costume was, and why didn’t we get to see it?

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