Recap – Modern Family 1.11 “Up All Night”

Recap – Modern Family 1.11 “Up All Night”

Hello fellow Modern Family watchers! I will be taking over the recap reins for what is, in my opinion, the funniest new comedy of the season (back away Gleeks and put down the Slushees). What I love about this show is that even its weaker episodes are still better than most of the comedies on TV, and are still guaranteed to have a number of belly laughs. For me, the weaker Family episodes are those when the three family units don’t interact, like in “Up All Night.” That doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty to laugh at, and I did laugh. But, since the families were kept completely separate last night, let’s take their stories separately as well, after we look at the framing for the episode: adults acting like children.

Arrested Development?

“Up All Night” began with the children answering the question, “What irritating things do parents say to their children?” All four kids gave responses that would be repeated by their parents later in the episode, but of course the boys had the best ones. Manny: “That’s too much cologne,” and “It’s inappropriate because she’s your teacher,” (perhaps his crushed velvet smoking jacket wasn’t enough to impress his teacher?). Luke: “Don’t talk black to me,” (any guess who said this later in the episode?) and “I don’t even talk black, like ends words with izzle.” What irritated the kids about being talked to like this is that often times, the adults just act like big children themselves. As we would very soon see.

The Family Dunphy

Recap – Modern Family 1.11 “Up All Night”Phil and Luke entered the kitchen with Luke soaked to the bone and the two lauding their efforts at catching and taming the Water Weasel (a garden hose attachment that makes the hose fly around and spray water). Phil’s celebration of his son’s drenching was short-lived, however, as he pulled up lame with a pain in his side. The women in his family immediately wanted to know if he wanted them to call 911, not because they were concerned about his health, but because the town’s firefighters are hot. When Phil was moved upstairs in hopes of just feeling better (and avoiding the hot firefighters), he could not contain his agony: “There’s an alien inside me!” “It’s gotta be death. Death is coming.” So he finally acceded to Claire’s plea to call 911. When we next saw her, Claire had gussied herself up in a nice shirt, earrings and makeup. This did not go unnoticed by Phil, commenting, “I’m in agony and you’re looking for cute tops to wear? We’ve got a minute if you want to try on some tighter jeans. We want you to look your sexiest when the hunky gay firemen get here.” Not that Phil hates the firemen — they play basketball together, and he bakes for them!

Finally at the hospital, Phil was diagnosed with a kidney stone and would have to have surgery. Phil, still needling Claire for acting like one of their daughters in getting so goo-goo about the firemen, told the kids to “Promise me you’ll be nice to your new fireman daddy,” should something go wrong in surgery. Phil also said that he wasn’t scared of surgery, until he was reminded by Luke that he gets scared walking into spiderwebs, and when they were using a Ouija board and the wind blew a door closed. Phil knew there was something greater at work though, “We brought something forth!” As he was falling asleep, Phil told Claire that if he didn’t survive, he didn’t want the last thing she said to him to be a lie, so, thinking Phil was already asleep, she whispered that she did indeed dress up for the firemen. “I knew it!” Phil wearily exclaimed before he was knocked out. After a successful surgery, Claire again admitted that she dressed up for the firemen because she likes feeling pretty now and again. This apology was in one of Phil’s ears and out the other. He was just psyched that he now had a “Golden Ticket” with Claire! The longer he waited to cash it in, the better his reward. What would he want? Something small like Claire cleaning the garage, or a trip to circus camp? How about a trip to Paris with his buddies? Or better yet, a “fully articulating, five-function robot with ESP….And feelings.” Well, it was “goodbye Paris” when Claire saw all of the hot women on the hospital floor for whom Phil had been performing magic tricks. The boy wouldn’t get his toy robot.

Mitchell, Cameron and Tony Montana

Meanwhile, Mitchell and Cameron were trying to Ferberize Lily, essentially letting her cry herself to sleep. Cameron, the sensitive man that he is, would also cry when listening to Lily cry on the monitor. Since, unlike Mitchell, he “hates to hear another person suffer,” Cameron picked up Lily in the middle of the night and plopped her down in front of the ultra-violent movie Scarface (evidently she’s a big fan of the nightclub scene). This was just too much for Mitchell, so he installed a nanny-cam in Lily’s bedroom to prevent Cameron from picking her up. What could Cameron do? “I’m like a mother bear. When I hear my cub crying, I have to run to her.” On Cam’s last attempt to pick up his daughter, Mitchell, aided by the old “put pillows under the sheets to fake being asleep” trick (see Beuller, Ferris), hid in the darkness of Lily’s room and forcibly removed Cameron. Mitchell, having had to come home from work during Lily’s nap time to thwart Cameron’s efforts to soothe the child, realized that he was actually Ferberizing two babies. When Cameron couldn’t take it anymore and made one last dash to the room, Mitchell jumped on his back, causing the two to fall and injure Mitchell’s ankle. Cameron agreed that Lily can’t have “one happy huggy cuddly daddy and one frowny lesson-teachy daddy” so he promised to play more bad cop. All was resolved when the pair realized that Mitchell’s ankle needed immediate attention…from the firemen.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (with Lobster…and a Boat)Recap – Modern Family 1.11 “Up All Night”

We had heard mention of Manny’s biological, and disappointing, father, Javier. Well, he made quite the entrance. Played by Benjamin Bratt, Javier interrupted Jay’s planned night of shrimp flipping and onion volcanoes at Benihana by showing up with a new boat, lobsters (not caught with his bare hands, but bought with his bare hands), and a camera phone for Manny. Jay, knowing Javier had let Manny down too many times, was not about to trust him. However, Gloria allowed Javier to stay the night. And what a night it would be! Jay, upon hearing Javier used to play AAA baseball, allowed himself to be charmed by Javier with promises of a bar night with famous baseball players, riding motorcycles together, and a middle of the night trip (with Manny) to a baseball stadium to learn to hit a curve-ball, something that derailed Jay’s pro baseball dreams. Gloria pointed out that Jay was now no better than Manny — hoping Javier would live up to promises, but ultimately being disappointed. And that is what Jay ultimately was, disappointed, as he was left on the curb waiting for Javier to take him to the bar.

Nothing’s the Matter with Kids Today

In the end, Alex summed up the episode. She asked if kids should act more like adults in the real world, or those in her family. If the latter, the examples weren’t encouraging. There was Phil putting the Water Weasel down his pants, Mitchell being carried off by the firemen, and Jay being consoled by Gloria and Manny after being left by Javier. Sometimes adults are just like kids, so how hard could acting like them be? This was hammered home by the episode’s tag over the credits. After his stint in the hospital, Phil became fired up by magic again (undoubtedly thanks to the hot women for whom he was performing). When his card trick with Cameron failed (“The hardest part is when people forget their card!”), Cam showed Phil his own trick. He wadded up a napkin and beat his fist into Phil’s fist three times. On the second time, he three the napkin over Phil’s head. When Cam told Phil to open his hand, there was nothing there. The napkin had disappeared! The look of child-like wonderment on Phil’s face perfectly summed up the episode.

Again, I feel Modern Family works better when all of the families interact with each other. That’s not always possible from a story point-of-view, so we will get episodes like this one from time-to-time. Which is fine, because they are still very funny; they just don’t hit the heights of which the show is capable. This episode had some very humorous moments (Phil’s agony chief among them), I just hope the whole family gets brought together next week. Please leave any thoughts you had about the episode below, and check out the photos for next week’s episode “Fifteen Percent.” See you next week!

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