Modern Family – Hawaii (S01E23) – Episode review

The entire Modern Family clan arrive in Hawaii as the first season draws nearer to an end. The pretext is that everybody’s taken a vacation to celebrate Jay’s birthday.

Much has been made of the fact that Modern Family was lampooning the cliched sitcom device of sending the family off on holiday together. Meh, I get why telly critics will care about that kind of thing, but your average couch potato isn’t going to be putting the episode under the microscope in that way.

It’s either going to be funny or it isn’t. And I think rather than machine-gunning the viewer with gags throughout the episode, the writers wisely spaced things out and gave a little bit of depth to the proceedings. For instance, although there was much humour to be squeezed from Jay’s sudden worry about his mortality, but we still felt that Jay was genuinely worried about his health. That little scene where he reminisces with Gloria about his father was touching and made a difference.

Having said that, the whole extended family brought plenty of fun – from Cam finally telling Mitch that he’s not an adventure holiday kinda guy to Manny’s frustration at sharing a room with the vastly immature Luke. Elsewhere, Phil decides to rekindle his romance with Claire by having a second honeymoon: we have a great laugh when the couple duck into an adults-only pool to avoid the kids, and Claire’s discomfort allowing Haley to go off with some new friends is rewarded with a sozzled, sick daughter.

There’s always a great element of slapstick, and that moment was Cam and Mitch losing Lily in the elevators. She pops up three times behind different characters before Gloria finally spots her and matter-of-factly wheels her off to find her two gay dads. And speaking of Gloria, Phil’s long-held fascination with the busty Colombian goddess is well documented. The idea of him using his own wife’s sunglasses to gaze at Gloria’s body was utterly hilarious, utterly creepy and utterly Phil Dunphy!

Quotes from this episode

  • Phil: “In nature, fathers are known to eat their young. Is it because they’re delicious? No.”
  • Mitch: “But…the Lavender Ranch. It’s something two men are supposed to do together.”
  • Claire: “God, that feels weird and good all at once.” Phil: “I know, I was leaning up against that nozzle a minute ago.”
  • Mitch gets a massage. “What’s this called?” Cam: “Happiness.”

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