Modern Family – Unplugged (S02E05) – Episode review

The latest Modern Family tackles a modern-day parenting predicament – children who are increasingly oblivious to their families because of their addictions to electronic devices.

Naturally, this phenomenon occurs in the Dunphy household, and Claire decides to announce a ban on all digital gear. Phil tries to ‘help’ by making it into a contest – and letting the children choose their own prizes for if they make it through a week without their gadgets.

As you’d expect, it doesn’t take long before the children start to cave…followed by the parents. In the end, it’s between Phil and Haley, but Haley “Shawshanks” her parents by pretending to talk on the mobile. Except it’s not a mobile, it’s a bar of soap that she carved into the shape of a phone! 

Elsewhere, Cam and Mitch try to get Lily into a good pre-school after discovering that all the other parents faked them out about when’s good to start school. They find out that because they’re a gay couple with an Asian baby, they hit all the minority buttons that make them a catch for any pre-school. But will they choose the more modest pre-school or go for the “Harvard of pre-schools”?

And Jay becomes suspicious when the barking dog next door goes missing just after they’ve complained to the neighbour about it. And rightly so, since he played witness to his wife hacking the head off a rat and leaving it there “as a warning to all the other rats”. 

Definitely more gag-packed in the first half than the second, Modern Family continues to be one of my favourite shows. I just love the characters, their conceits and their silly interactions. I love how over the top Gloria can be, and how snobby Cam is and how sometimes Claire can be a bitch. As one reviewer on avclub often says – it’s just great fun to hang out with these characters. 

This episode brought up some great belly laughs – like Luke so busy playing DS that he ate his breakfast with his face in the bowl. And Haley’s psyche-out with the carved soap was brilliant, mostly because we were all sucked in too! I could grumble about Cam’s Cherokee Indian joke being overplayed, but it was a minor flaw in half-an-hour’s worth of great family comedy.

Quotes from Unplugged

  1. Gloria: “It’s easy for you to ignore it because you have the old man hearing. Manny and me, we have the young ears.”
  2. Cam: “This is perfect. Leave it to the gays to raise the only underachieving Asian in America.”
  3. Neighbour: “You know what’s ironic? You come over here complaining and I have never once said a word about that obnoxious parrot of yours that’s always squawking.”
  4. Phil: “I am completely on board your mother’s horse and buggy to yesteryear. For the next week I may as well be Amish. Jebediah Dunphy. Raising barns, witnessing murders, makin’ electric fireplace hearts.”
  5. Claire: “Honey, don’t take this the wrong way, but I have almost no faith in you.”
  6. Neighbour: “According to my credit card, my wife is in Europe searching for the world’s most expensive hotel.”
  7. Gloria kills a rat: “First you smash it, then you cut the head off. I go to church now.” Jay: “She left the head out there to send a message to the other rats.”
  8. Claire: “Isn’t it great how much time you have now that you’re not wasting it online?” Haley: “Oh my God, is this what you always sound like?”
  9. Manny: “Jay, I’ve learned a few things in my twelve years. Don’t skimp on linens. Don’t compliment your teacher on her figure. And when it comes to my mom, never ask questions I don’t want the answer to.”
  10. Cam: “Everyone goes to Billingsley for a reason. It’s the Harvard of pre-schools.”
  11. Mitchell: “Disabled interracial lesbians with an African kicker?” Cam: “Did not see that coming.”

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