Modern Family: Phil and the Kids to the Rescue

Wednesday's Hawaii-centric episode of Modern Family put the show's hard work on full display; it was the second-best episode of the season (after the beautiful chaos of "Fizbo"), and Phil and the kids stole the show.

Phil started the season as the obvious stand-out character (though the show has been good about distributing its zingers among the rest of the cast). Like many hapless dads who came before him (I'm thinking chiefly of Homer Simpson and, if you extrapolate the term "dad," Michael Scott), Phil's character works because he focuses on things so intensely and ignores everything else—including how ridiculous he sounds and looks. Never anything less than well-intentioned, Phil was determined to give Claire the honeymoon they never had, and as a result found himself ignoring Haley and convincing Claire to do the same. Later, he so genuinely wanted to free Jay from the hammock that he was willing to thrust himself full-force into the endeavor, falling into Jay and, eventually, giving up and nuzzling in close. That scene nicely encapsulated the essence of Phil: The word "foolish" doesn't exist in his vocabulary, he simply does what he believes is right, often in the fumbliest of ways. And when he does get derailed—like he did while staring at Gloria in Claire's sunglasses—it's a riot.

And for the first time in a long while, the kids were a highlight, not a distraction. It sounds cruel to say that Modern Family's young-uns aren't great actors, but it's true. It's not for lack of trying; the writers give them really great, often sophisticated jokes to work with. This may be because the kids aren't always quite clear on why the things they're saying are funny, but this week it wasn't a problem. All season long, the show has been building on Manny's fancy-lad-ness and Luke's complete lack of a filter—but only in small doses. Seeing Manny freak out over his linen suit and watching Luke gallivant around with a shower cap on his face while wielding a hair dryer brought all those previous jokes together beautifully. And once again, Lilly proved she's the most adorably straight-faced baby known to man. Seriously, could she be any more well behaved?

As always, Modern Family stuck the landing. Phil finally realized he couldn't recreate a honeymoon because he and Claire never had a real wedding, and gathered the family for a makeshift Hawaiian one. The kids are there, being sweet and silly as always. It's a wonder Modern Family isn't sappier, but with enough well-intentioned wit, it never will be.

What were your favorite moments from the episode?

Comments (5)
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I disagree abt the kids, i think they're all quite brilliant. There's something very natural and innocent abt the way they act, which is very endearing. Manny and Luke are my favs.
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The kids are good, especially Manny I have a nephew similar to him. Yeah, Phil without a doubt though was the funniest part of the episode and the series. When he fell on Jay in the hammock I thought for sure Jay had a heart attack, especially the way ABC hyped it the episode having a "surprise ending." This and Community are the best two new shows on tv.
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I like the part when Phil said that "the couples in the spa really looked relax, right until the moment they saw me looking at them". That's funny. Hehe
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It really was a fun episode, but, as always, Manny just gets more irritating, rather than cute. On a higher note, both The Middle and Cougar Town were top notch, as usual. Love all three shows!
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When the Dunphy family were walking to the pool but were stopped because it was for adults only, and Phil grabbed Claire's arm and said "Keep walking," leaving the kids behind. :D Also, "Why did you dress her in a jungle print?...She'll think she's back in Viet Nam." LOL
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