Modern Family Recap: ‘Someone to Watch Over Lily’

Jay attempting to give Manny some confidence before a camping trip. Mitchell and Cameron deciding who should get Lily in case of an emergency. Claire wondering if Luke is going to end up like Phil. Gloria piercing Lily’s ears. Haley and Alex bonding over vandalism. There were tons of intersecting stories in last night’s Modern Family, and it was refreshing to see the show working at the same well-written mad pace that it mastered so well in its first season and struggled with this year.

As mentioned above, “Someone to Watch Over Lily” was about who Lily would go to if, God forbid, something should happen to Mitchell and Cameron, who’s side of the family is out because of, among other reasons, frozen cows and not paying taxes for two decades. So that leaves the Pritchetts and the Dunphys, neither of whom makes Mitch and Cam feel particularly content — especially after they witness a typical morning at the Dunphy house, which consists of Phil setting things on fire (“Son of Jor-El! Everybody stay calm!”), Luke juggling with knives, Alex getting locked in the garage to find rat traps, and Haley calling Claire the worst mother ever.

So that leaves Gloria, who’s all too happy to have Lily (“Nothing’s going to happen,” she tells them, “But if it did, we would be so happyyyyy!”), and Jay, who’s trying to install some confidence in Manny before the boy goes on a weekend camping trip. Both Jay and Gloria were in fine last form; Jay makes one for the best, and most believable parents on television, while the joy that spreads over Gloria’s face when she sees Lily is contagious. Mitchell is fine giving his daughter to them — until he sees that Gloria had Lily’s ears pierced (he thought she said “hair rings” rather than “earrings,” which is why he didn’t originally object; if you Google “hair rings,” the first website that comes up contains this sentence: “This is a picture of a fully extended penis with no hair ring,” which is gross but not about what you’re thinking; it’s referring to chinchillas. Probably not what Mitch was alluding to).

Back at the Dunphys, Claire has taken Luke to a child psychologist to make sure he doesn’t, well, end up like Phil, who finds out about the secret meeting thanks to Claire’s calendar. It’s usually Claire who’s the emotionally hurt one, so I liked seeing Phil take over that role and I loved his pretending to be stupid act in the parking lot — “Oh no, where’d everyone go?!? Oh, just a blink.” Luke, as usual, was also on fire, dishing out these gems: when referring to Phil’s receptionist, “One time, she gave me a Woody…she remembered he’s my favorite character from Toy Story,” and later, in a line that doesn’t need context, “She’s like the best doctor ever…I didn’t even have to take my pants off — found that one out a little,” to which Phil responds, “I’ve been there, buddy.” I honestly believe that among an extremely talented cast, where every actor pulls their weight, it’s Luke who’s most deserving of not only an Emmy nomination, but a win, too.

After a mishap involving Cameron falling from a rock-climbing wall and Phil and Claire leaving Luke in a parking lot, with their son eventually returned by a newly-wed couple who Phil wishes “congratu-tov,” everyone convenes for the announcement of who gets Lily. And the winner is: Jay, who Manny vouches for to Cameron, and Gloria, much to Claire’s confusion, considering she and Phil have raised three healthy children…two of which are in jail for vandalism.

Oh, did I not mention the story of Alex rebelling and Haley vandalizing? It was that kind of an episode of Modern Family, where there’s so much going, and so much going right, in 20 short minutes that it’s tough to cover everything. Here’s hoping next week’s “Mother’s Day,” about Gloria and Claire planning a hike with the kids, is just as good.

Josh Kurp wishes he were half as cool as Luke.

Modern Family Recap: ‘Someone to Watch Over Lily’