Modern Family – Travels With Scout (S01E21) – Episode review

Here’s a funny revelation before I begin a review of this week’s Modern Family episode. I hadn’t seen the show in ages when I stumbled across a promotional photo of the show’s cast. My instant reaction was sheer joy.

It’s funny how, after twenty-something episodes, we’ve come to embrace this kooky, diverse family and their hilarious antics. Of course, a bit like Glee, it’s easy to be annoyed when Modern Family encounters a less-than-perfect episode. We’ve had a few of those, but they haven’t dented the overall appeal of the show. They certainly haven’t had me writing doom-and-gloom pieces about the end of their run…

Travels With Scout was a raging success, for me. Phil Dunphy’s dad (an exceptional family likeness played by Fred Willard) pays a visit in his RV and instantly a lot of questions are answered about Phil’s goofy humour. The pair spend much of the episode swapping goofy jokes and a very funny father/son dynamic. None of the jokes were remotely funny, but the mutual admiration society the pair shared was a lovely touch.

Of course, it was up to Claire to point out that something was up. I was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t go down the route of late-in-life parental divorce and the reason for Phil’s father’s visit was far more innocent.

Cameron ditches a dull party to rock out with Dylan’s band. This storyline was fairly easy to predict, but there was a certain joy in watching it play out. From Cam’s faking being a rubbish drummer, to his extended, extended, extended drum solo, to being swiftly kicked out of the band when their original drummer returned. Something about Cam’s big, gay exuberance just brings a smile to my face, no matter what he’s doing. I wish I had a big gay friend just like him 🙁

Disappointingly, not quite enough of the glorious Gloria in this episode. But Jay screws-up beautifully when he takes Manny to see a horror film. Manny ends up terrified and sleeping beside Jay and Gloria. Now, you might suggest that Manny’s far too intelligent to allow his fears to get the better of him, but I think he’s probably obsessive enough to worry himself stupid about getting hacked to death by a machette weilding maniac.

Attempting to reverse the damage he’s done, Jay contacts the guy from the movie – who he’d met in an earlier scene, a former friend of Mitchell’s – and asks him to come around and explain the movie process. Of course, a clever subplot has Jat disconnect the doorbell, so the actor has to knock on the window, which he does. Manny sees him and freaks out all over again.

Even though it’s not one of my all-time favourite modern family episodes, Travels With Scout delivered plenty of laughs from Modern Family’s brilliant crew. I especially love the dynamic in the Dunphy household at the moment. Claire and Phil are just the perfect caricature of suburban married life.

Quotes from this episode

As ever with my quotes sections, if you spot a better quote during the episode, let me know about it and I’ll include it here. Only got a few short ones this week:

  • Dylan: That was Bryan, he just quit the band. He’s moving to Portland, his parents got back together. Hayley: Aw, that sucks…
  • Cam: What, because I’m gay I’m just gonna want to play show tunes? Dylan: No, because you’re old.
  • Cam: Oh, silly me. I had the sticks in the wrong hands…(proceeds to play an amazing drum solo) Bandmate: Dude, you should label those sticks.
  • Phil: I always felt bad for people with emotionally distant fathers, it turns out I’m one of them. It’s a miracle I’m not a stripper.

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