Modern Family – Moon Landing (S01E14)

Minnie Driver is the guest star in Moon Landing, the latest episode of Modern Family. She plays a career bitch from Claire’s past who’s climbed the corporate ladder and is subtly rubbing Claire’s nose in her success.

Of course, while Claire’s out reconnecting with her old friend, the Dunphy household is in meltdown. Phil’s decided to grow a moustache after someone “Tom Sellecks” his billboard, Haley and Dylan are alternating between on and off, while the other two kids are bringing empty booze bottles into the house. And rats too. So when Claire decides to bring her friend home, the family aren’t prepared to impress a stranger. Far from it.

Cam corners Jay for a game of racquetball and some old-school homophobia. Jay reveals he’s been dreading the match because of the locker room environment – “To me it’s a locker room, to him it’s a showroom.” Cam makes matters worse when the two bump asses in the locker room. He calls it a ‘moon landing’ (hence the title), and makes Jay even more uncomfortable when he describes a ‘splashdown’.

And in an all too brief storyline, Mitchell ends up working as Gloria’s lawyer when she has a car accident. She’s convinced she isn’t at fault, but Manny gets a message to Mitch that Gloria’s a terrible driver and was responsible for the accident.

I’m feeling a vibe that Modern Family is struggling (but only a little) to match the easy humour that marked the earlier episodes. Alan Sepinwall has marked the episode as “a mixed bag” this week, although it must be a considerable challenge to build in three seperate story threads each week – one for each branch of the family.

That doesn’t mean to say Moon Landing wasn’t without comedy gold – here are some of my favourite moments from the episode:

  • One of Phil’s real estate billboards gets defaced with a moustache, so naturally he decides to ‘grow’ one. “I’m betting these things are coming back in a big way. Buy low, sell high. People are gonna see this thing and say ‘That guy’s high…'”
  • Manny tells Mitch about Gloria’s road rage. “She can’t take criticism about her driving. Once an old lady yelled at her at a crosswalk; she honked so long the horn ran out.”
  • Dad, what’s Jagermeister? – “You know how in a fairy tale, there’s always a potion that makes the princess fall asleep and the guy starts kissing her? Well, this is like that, except you don’t wake up in a castle, you wake up in a frat house with a bad reputation.”
  • Jay repeatedly rubbing his ass on a stranger’s back in the locker room – until Cam walks in and says “I’ve just seen the sauna – how big of a hurry are we in?” Jay grabs his stuff and runs. “Biggest hurry of your life…”
  • And Phil Dunphy wouldn’t get far on Mr and Mrs “I know your mom pretty well, she’s probably taking a walk in the park to calm down.” Like hell – she’s binging on hamburgers!

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