Did you miss last week’s rock and rollin’ episode of Modern Family? Check out a recap of “Travels with Scout” here.
This week’s episode, “Airport 2010,” begins, oddly enough, at the airport. Jay asks Gloria if it hurt when she fell from heaven and hit the earth. “What do you mean when I fell…oh! Because I am an angel,” Gloria responds. It’s Jay’s birthday, so Gloria is taking Jay to Maui, Hawaii for a vacation. She’s very excited for the trip, even though it cost her a fortune. As Gloria nuzzles on Jay’s arm, he silently points to himself and tells the camera, “It cost me a fortune.” The couple walk towards the gate waiting area when Claire, Haley, Alex , Luke and Manny jump out from behind the chairs. Surprise! The entire family is coming with Jay and Gloria to Hawaii! Gloria paid for everyone to go with them. Jay asks, worriedly, if the rest of the family is flying first class like he and Gloria are. “Of course not,” Gloria responds, “do you think I’m made of money?” “Of course not,” Jay sarcastically replies. Gloria tells Jay about all of the fun activities they are going o do: swimming with dolphins and taking a helicopter tour to name two. Jay confides to the camera that he’s not a fan of activities. He just wants to relax and read the eight Robert Ludlumbooks he loaded on his “book reader thingie.”
Out at the terminal curb, Phil is unloading all of the family’s luggage. “I know I’ve got a lot of baggage,” Phil tells the skycap, “but I’m seeing a therapist.” Cameron and Mitchell arrive, and are very excited for their trip, Cameron especially. This is his first trip to Hawaii. “People say I scream Hawaii,” Cameron states. “Who says that?” Mitchell asks incredulously. “People. You don’t know them,” Cameron retorts. Mitchell makes to pay the taxi driver, but realizes he doesn’t have his wallet! He thanks Cameron for the error, saying that if Cameron had just done what he asked earlier, Mitchell wouldn’t have been so overwhelmed and forgotten his wallet. Flash to four hours earlier. Mitchell is packing Lily’s clothes for the trip, and rattling off to Cameron the things he needs to do, including packing Lily’s toys. Cameron starts pulling one of Lily’s outfits out of the suitcase Mitchell is packing. When Mitchell asks what his partner is doing, Cameron explains that Lily has a play-date now with Jasper, a popular boy who is a legacy at Happy Time preschool. Mitchell asks why the play-date is now, right before they leave for Hawaii. Cameron explains that this play-date is a coup; this was the only time Jasper could do it. “Now we’re kissing up to a ten-month old?” Mitchell wonders. Cameron tells Mitchell not to worry; everything will get done. Oh, and they’re Methodists. Back in the present, Phil tells Mitchell they have enough time to run back to the house, so they load in Phil’s van and speed off.
Sitting in the gate area, Haley points out a cute guy to Alex. “he’s out of your league — he’s reading a book,” Alex teases. “I know!” Haley excitedly replies. Cameron arrives at the gate, and Claire asks him where Mitchell and Phil are. Cameron explains the wallet situation. Claire begins to freak out that Phil has left her there. He’s supposed to be with her to keep her calm about flying. Cut to four hours earlier when Claire is beginning to get agitated because Haley isn’t awake yet, she can’t find Luke, and she’s tense about the flight. Phil tells her there is nothing to worry about; air travel is much safer than road travel. “Yes, but it’s still a building on it’s side being thrown through the air,” Clarie tells him. “On a moonbeam!” Phil adds on. “You’re not helping,” Claire informs her well-intentioned husband. Phil asks her if she wants to take something before the flight, but she refuses. Claire wants to be fully aware in case one of the kids needs something. “What a mom,” Phil says, impressed, “Sometimes I wish you were my mom.” Claire asks him to not repeat that; she’s queasy enough already. They move toward the front door. Phil assures Claire that she’ll be OK, as the kids gather in the foyer to leave. Someone sneezes, and Phil says “Bless you,” as he prepares the security system. He punches the code and hurries everyone out in the fifteen seconds before the alarm is armed. Back in the airport, Claire walks up behind Luke, who is staring out the window, and hugs him. “You know what would be cool?” Luke asks his mom. “If the plane goes into a storm and it crashes on an island just like in Lost.” (I laughed quite hard here, with the great Julie Bowen/Lost inside joke. For those who don’t know, Julie Bowen, who plays Claire, appeared on numerous episodes of Lost as Matthew Fox’s wife.) Not pleased to be reminded of the possibility of the plane crashing, Claire pushes away her son and leaves. Cameron walks by Jay and Gloria, wincing in pain. Jay asks what’s wrong, and Cameron explains that he’s breaking in new hiking boots. When Jay asks why he’s bringing hiking boots to Hawaii, surprise!, the family is going hiking every morning, Gloria explains. It is Cameron’s idea, and at the end of the week, they’ll climb to the top of a volcano. Not pleased, Jay steps on Cameron’s foot as he turns to see Lily.
Later, Cameron finds Claire at a newsstand buying Dramamine for Luke, who always seems to throw up when traveling. As he speaks to Claire, Cameron keeps clapping in front of Lily’s face, explaining that he’s trying to keep her awake so she’ll sleep on the plane. He confides with Mitchell to the camera that there is nothing worse than a crying baby on a flight. Mitchell remembers recently flying home from New York when there was a baby next to him that was upset the entire flight. “It was hell,” he says. “I was on that flight with you, and I don’t recall…,” Cameron begins in reply as Mitchell looks at him. “Oh, you’re talking about me. That’s real funny,” Cameron realizes. “He wanted to see Billy Elliot but we couldn’t get tickets,” Mitchel explains. Practically in tears, Cameron continues, “All he wanted to do was dance. That’s my story!” “Five hours of this,” Mitchell says. Cameron continues, in a terrible English brogue, “I jus’ wanna dahnce at the ballay!” (Side bar: I almost fell off my couch laughing at this exchange because my wife was in the original company of Billy Elliot. Really, really funny stuff. At least for me!) Back in the airport, Cameron tells Luke he wishes he had Dramamine last time he flew. The plane was bouncing up and down, up and down — it felt like the wings were going to break off. Claire, now more freaked out, leaves Luke to open the Dramamine packet himself.
Phil and Mitchell are still driving toward Mitchell’s house, with Mitchell getting more and more agitated that they aren’t getting there faster. Claire calls, asking where they are. Phil is supposed to be at the airport with her to keep her calm. When she hangs up, Phil turns to his brother-in-law, and says, “She’s just a little tightly wound. Some people are born that way.” Illustrating Phil’s point, the seething Mitchell yells about Phil’s speed. At the gate, Manny is reciting facts about Hawaii (the country’s largest wind energy plant is on Oahu!), and plans to put them in his song. What song, Jay wonders. Surprise! The family are putting together a show for Jay’s birthday celebration. This is another blow to Jay’s enjoyment of the trip. He gets up as Cameron walks by, spraying a mist of water in Lily’s face to keep her awake.
Haley and Alex have followed the cute guy to the coffee stand. Haley sighs, “He’s perfect. He doesn’t put chocolate in his coffee. He’s so mature.” “What about Dylan?” Alex reminds her sister. “Dylan’s not that guy,” Haley responds. Flash to four hours earlier. Claire enters Haley’s room to wake her up so they can leave for the airport. When Claire leaves, Dylan rises form under a pile of blankets on the floor, much to Haley’s surprise. He explains that when Haley fell asleep, and since she’s going away, “I wanted to stare at you as long as possible.” Haley tells him he has to leave immediately or else her parents are going to think they “did it.” “As if,” Dylan mutters to himself. Haley tries to push him out the door as Dylan protests, “I am a prisoner trapped in a cell of loneliness.” Haley eventually gets him out. Dylan makes his way, quietly, downstairs. He avoids Luke, but has to dive behind the couch when Phil and Claire enter. Seeing the previous “get out the door” scene from a new angle, the Dunphys gather at the door. Dylan sneezes, to which Phil, not knowing hte source of the sneeze, says “Bless you.” Phil sets the alarm, and the family leaves. Before Dylan can get out too, the alarm sets, with him trapped inside.
Phil and Mitchell finally arrive at Mitchell’s house. One problem: Mitchell doesn’t have his keys. Cameron, in another attempt to keep Lily awake, jingles keys in front of her. It is then that he realizes that they are Mitchell’s keys. Phil tells Mitchell that being a real estate agent has taught him a certain set of skills. Sizing up the window, he determines it can be opened simply with a credit card. Confiding to the camera, Phil explains that real estate agents are really ninjas in blazers. Burglars leave clues everywhere, but not Phil, “I’m completely clueless.” Phil puts Mitchell on his shoulders, Mitchell uses the credit card, and they gain access to the house. When Phil enters, he slips on a toy truck. Mitchell comments that it is Jasper’s truck. Jasper? Phil sold his parents their home; how did they get a play-date with Jasper? He’s so popular. Mitchell, finding his wallet, just ushers them out the door.
The cute guy is now sketching in his notebook, like Leonard DiCaprio in Titanic according to Haley. The guy smiles at her and Alex, so Haley thinks it’s time to make her move. Right then, Dylan texts her. She quickly reads the message and dismisses it, “‘I’m trapped.’ Ugh. Such a drama queen.” Meanwhile, Manny is getting his shoes shined when a public address announcement calls him to Gate 22A. Luke starts spinning around in the gate area, impressed that he’s not getting dizzy thanks to the Dramamine. Jay asks him to stop when Luke almost spills his coffee, so Luke plops down on a seat, right on top of Jay’s eReader. “My Ludlums!” he yells. Luke apologizes, but Jay thinks the device might be alright. When he opens it, pieces of glass fall out. “Not fair. Just not fair,” he mutters.
Gloria and Manny are met by a TSAagent. Gloria tries to explain that he is not the Manny Delgado that is on the no-fly list, as she explained earlier at the ticket counter. “I’m just a boy trying to bring style back to travel,” Manny explains. The agent wants to ask them a few questions, so he leads them toward the TSA office, as Gloria yells out for her husband, “Jay! Jay!!” Jay can’t hear her as he is in the bar. The bartender pours him some whiskey. “Make it a double. I’m traveling with my family.” Phil and Mitchell are driving back to the airport. Phil comments that it’s probably easier being gay, because you get to live with another man. “Do you think you could get in the fast lane?” Mitchell asks. “I can totally get in the ‘fast lane,'” Phil replies, expressing his belief that he’d be a great gay guy. “No, I mean the road,” a frustrated Mitchell replies. Phil gets a text, which Mitchell reads. The alarm company says someone broke into Phil’s house. Cut to Dylan running away from the Dunphy home. Phil, obviously, is concerned, but Mitchell yells at him to ignore it and keep driving.
At the airport, Cameron tries to calm Claire by playing a game (in front of a Disney-produced The Karate Kid poster no less): they pick travelers and make up stories about where they are going. When Cameron gets stuck on the name of a gentleman’s wife, it’s Claire’s turn. “I see a woman wracked with fear and abandoned by her husband,” she says, describing herself. Cameron feels a bit abandoned, too, because Mitchell is blaming him for forgetting Mitchell’s wallet. Back in the car, Mitchell apologizes for being snippy with Phil. Mitchell needed Cameron’s help, but he was let down. “That doesn’t sounds like Cam,” Phil notes. Cameron tells Claire that Mitchell never asked for his wallet, only to get Lily’s toys and cancel the newspaper. Claire says that it sounds like Mitchell was asking for help. Phil says to Mitchell that, “it sounds like you wanted him to read your mind.” Cameron responds to Claire, “What am I, psychic?” “It’s nto about being psychic. It’s about knowing what your partner needs,” Claire replies. Phil tells Mitchell that all he needs to do is ask for help. That way, Cameron will know what he wants. Mitchell isn’t so sure, “You want to believe you’re on the same wavelength as someone. It’s a little disheartening when you find out you’re not.” This comment causes Phil to reevaluate what’s been happening with Claire and him. Cameron continues, saying he’d do anything for Mitchell, and that it’s hurtful Mitchell doesn’t know that, which gives Claire pause.
Haley has made her way next to the cute guy. She asks him what he’s drawing. He tells her it’s a robot. And what’s behind the robot? A dinosaur. That’s funny, she remembers doing similar drawings in the eighth gra…. “He was fourteen years old!” Alex laughingly tells the camera. “He’s my soul mate!” she mocks her Haley before falling off the couch in a heap of laughter. Jay is finishing his drink when the customer next to him rises, revealing Claire a couple drinks in herself. She explains to her father that she never used to worry about flying until a few years ago when she realized she had so much to lose. She asks why Jay is drinking. He tells her that he’s taking a break from his vacation as he doesn’t expect much alone time in Hawaii. Claire asks if he’s upset the rest of the family is going with him. It’s not that, he loves the family. He just feels like Gloria is going out of her way to not spend time with him. Claire insists that Gloria loves him — not every wife would spend money so the entire family could go to Hawaii. “Where does everybody think Gloria’s money comes from?!” Jay exasperatingly asks. Claire is left speechless.
In the TSA office, the agent continues to question Manny and Gloria. He asks Manny if he was in Japan for a tech conference in 2004. “I was four years old!” Manny responds. Gloria starts to lose it, wondering why they aren’t checking the old lady with a cane for a hidden ceramic knife that wouldn’t be picked up by metal detectors, instead of a child. The agent turns to her, saying she knows an awful lot about sneaking contraband on a plane. “Yeah, I’m Colombian,” she replies. “Have you ever been to Japan?” the agent asks Gloria. Back at the gate, Luke spins around in a wheelchair. Claire, clearly intoxicated, asks him to stop spinning. When he does, she asks Cameron to now make the airport stop spinning. Phil and Mitchell finally arrive. Mitchell apologizes to Cameron for his behavior. Claire apologizes to Phil, but all he can ask is if his wife is drunk. “Maybe a little bit,” Claire slurs back. Jay enters the TSA office, wondering what is going on. The agent asks why Manny is returning on a different date than Gloria. Surprise! The whole family is only staying for six days, but Gloria and Jay are staying longer so they can have some alone time. “I couldn’t love you any more right now,” Jay tells his wife. “I also found a topless beach,” Gloria whispers to Jay. “I was wrong,” Jay smiles and replies, kissing her on the head.
In the episode tag, the family boards the plane. The cute sketching guy, Mr. Jackson, is welcomed to the plane first. When Cameron, Mitchell and Lily approach, the ticket agent says, “Gorgeous!” “Thanks, it’s vintage,” Cameron replies, referring to his shirt. “I think he was talking about Lily,” Mitchell retorts. “You don’t know that,” Cameron responds. Alex tells Haley, “There’s a hottie for you at five o’clock.” Haley looks, sees a five year old, and embarrassed, enters the jetway. “It’s whale watching,” Jay tells Gloria, emphasizing the “t.” “Whale washing,” Gloria repeats back. “Close enough,” Jay replies. Phil drags a floppy Claire up to the counter, saying aloud, “Do your zombie impression!” The ticket agent asks if she has been drinking. “No, she’s hilarious. Do your Bride of Frankenstein!” Phil says as he picks up Claire’s limp body and loads her into the plane.
With the end of the season coming, and May sweeps here, it’s not surprising that Modern Family would be firing on all cylinders; and it certainly was this week. I loved this episode. Not only the Billy Elliot reference I mentioned above, but everything about it. The comedy was pretty off the charts, with all of the mini-plots delivering big laughs. There was witty dialogue (Gloria knowing about contraband because she’s Colombian; Phil mentioning some people are just tightly wound, and then Mitchell blowing up; Dylan’s professions of loneliness), great physical comedy (Phil tripping on the toy truck, Cameron spraying water in Lily’s face to keep her awake), and even a knowing, inside reference to Julie Bowen previously being on Lost. Further, even though the show bounced around incessantly between these different storylines, the episode never felt, at least to me, rushed or unfocused.
Rather, I felt like I was on a rushing train of comedy I didn’t want to get off (OK, that was a super-cheesy metaphor. Sorry.) I honestly can’t remember another show or movie that exacted so much comedy from an airport since Robert Stack punched out a Hare Krishna in Airplane. Of course, there were some nice sentimental moments as well, namely Jay’s realization that Gloria does love him. All in all, it made me very excited to see the final two episodes of the season set, and shot!, in Hawaii. I expect luau humor!
Alright, that’s what I ahve for this week. What did you think of the episode? What were your favorite moments? Do you rank this as a Top 5 Modern Family episode? Anything that didn’t work for you? Please leave your comments below. Be sure to check out TVOVermindfor sneak peeks and photos from next week’s Hawaii episode (Part 1) when they are available. I’ll be beack next Thursday with another recap. Until then, I’m off to Cancun to see if it lives up to the hype.