As we near the end of season two, it’s safe to say that our favorite moments over the last twenty-something Modern Family episodes have almost entirely involved learning something new about these characters. And as if to win us back after last week (um, sorry, guys), last night’s episode dedicated a nice chunk of its energy to revealing new sides of several personalities. Some of these sides were scary. Some were really touching. And one involved a puppy.
The show’s previews focused on Cameron and Mitchell’s Lady Gaga show plotline and were soundtracked by “Bad Romance,” so we were a little nervous that the episode would be gobbled up by some kind of icky embedded promotion. But the guys’ story wound up being about as funny and sweet as anything involving “synergy” has a right to be. It was great to see Mitch so super pumped about the Lady Gaga show because, frankly, it’s good to see him super pumped about anything. It was also good to watch him proclaim Gaga to be “the one gay cliché I allow myself” while primly crossing his legs, catching himself, then overcorrecting into a full-on high-school-jock crotch-spread. But it was even better to see him tip-toeing around his super-pumpedness in the presence of Cam, who developed a day-of-show mystery illness. Mitch rubs his feet, makes him tea, picks up dirty tissues with a giant pair of grill tongs (“The bed kinda looks like a Rose Parade float”), all while attempting to navigate the tricky issue of what, exactly, was going to happen regarding the big show. (“We could both go, but that’s not an option. We could sell them online, but there’s that Craigslist Killer … ”) He decides to just wait it out and then offer up some tepid excuse to Cam at the eleventh hour, and go with his snot-addled blessing. But when the time comes, Cam is zonked out on cough medicine and Mitch thinks he’s home free. Just as Mitch is about to head out the door, with Lily in hand to be dropped off with Auntie Bad Cop, Cam comes stumbling out of the bedroom, as furious as any man who’d apparently earlier chugged a bottle of cough syrup could possibly be. Mitch apologizes/backpedals long enough for Cam to take refuge on the couch and pass out. And that’s where he wakes up hours later with Mitch by his side, quietly reading and seeming like the dutiful caretaker — but for the glow-stick necklace still tucked under his shirt. Let’s just assume they filmed the episode before Lady Gaga put out “Judas” — otherwise, that’s a real missed opportunity.