Modern Family 9×09 Review: Tough Love 

We open in the Dunphy household where Phil has decided to go to Yosemite for a week in order give himself a dose of confidence.  We are treated to a bit if physical comedy with a life raft blowing up on the kitchen counter.

Over at the Pritchett-Tucker household we learn that Pam is suffering from a neck injury and Cam and Mitch take their adorable nephew off of her hands while she seeks treatment. Mitch accuses his husband of being a gullible pushover. Mitchell accidentally switches a lifelike baby doll with their nephew. Thus leaving, the infant in young Lily’s charge.

Meanwhile at Jay and Gloria’s, Joe is having a sit in with a living room blanket fort. Manny enters with his movement professor.  Yes, there are movement professors — they teach Alexander technique, Leban’s framework, and other such stage business. Manny brought her there to be alone. Gloria is in denial that Manny is involved with her. A few quips at dinner flame her mama bear instincts.  Later that evening, Manny and Jay speak candidly about his relationship. Later that evening, Gloria goes downstairs intent on putting the hammer down on Joe, and instead discovers her two sons snuggled up together, sound asleep.

At the high school, Cam mans the detention hall.  A student named Shane secretly films him making a scene of himself and posts it online. Cam confronts the kid, Shane apologizes and claims to be a be a baby-faced cop working undercover.  It appears that Cam has been swindled once again. He confronts the kid at a drug exchange later and we find he was actually telling the truth.

Claire is overwhelmed juggling issues at work, and tries to drive an 18-wheeler despite being obviously uncomfortable and probably not having a commercial driver’s license. Predictably, Phil ends up in his plush hotel room. He confesses that he didn’t leave his real-estate partnership, and that he was asked to leave against his wishes. Claire calls him and shows up to surprise and reassure him.

The episode was pretty messy, but ended up being stirred into a sweet, satisfying bowl of feels. That being said, it very was hard to suspend disbelief with this episode. Modern Family has always been so original, and yet the troupes on this episode are old and overused. I don’t care for the storyline of a professor dating her barely legal college student.

They missed a lot of chances for laugh out loud moments with Phil’s failed camping trip. The Dunphy kids were absent this episode, with one quick cutaway to Hailey. In this scene, they once again portrayed her as a screw-up. The constant jabs at Hailey have been getting quite old for some time now.  The title didn’t really match the theme.  One would think that with less characters to mess with the story would have been much tighter. Not so it seems.

Modern Family airs on Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC. 

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