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This episode was all about imparting wisdom…and how badly that can turn out sometimes. Phil’s “teachable moments” shouldn’t be considered wise words of wisdom from an adult. They’re more like evidence of said adult being complete a doofus, and thankfully by the end of tonight’s episode, Phil learns the difference between being mature and being stubborn, Jay learns the difference between being too cool for preschool and being a good dad, and boy, oh boy, does Claire learn the difference between the three Herms at the office. But parents, whatever they’re like, whoever they are, will always want to impress their children, and that’s why they attempt these “teachable moments,” even if in the end, they really don’t work out. And maybe that’s way too deep a way to look at an episode of Modern Family, especially one this thin, but hey, it’s true. So with that, I’m splitting up the family by teachable moments this week, which means we should start with:
Gloria and Mitch and Cam
Sure, Gloria’s not trying to instill a “teachable moment” on her, um, sons-in-law, but she does bestow a good amount of wisdom on them this episode. After she loses her spot on during jury duty because of her over-enthusiasm about the job, she ends up helping Mitch and Cam out of their party pickle. See, Mitch had invited the pathetic Raymond, who’s still getting over a breakup of a long-term relationship, and it’s driving guests away.
And so, Gloria thinks she can channel her unused jury-duty energy into solving the issue. Her analysis: Mitch must be in love with Raymond and won’t stop worrying until Cam is out of the picture, which is why he invited him. Mitch, of course, knocks some sense into this assumption, explaining that he’s just nervous about the fact that he would be the Raymond of the relationship if he and Cam ever split up. He’d be the one moping around going grocery shopping in his pajamas with nothing to do! But then Gloria catches him lying, calling him out for playing with his hair, his one tell. Because of that, Gloria explains, it’s not Mitch himself he’s worried about; it’s Cam. And Mitch admits it: Cam would be the Raymond of their relationship, because he’s just so…opinionated and attention-seeking. Luckily, before things get out of hand, Gloria steps in and reminds them that they might as well keep Raymond invited to the party — after all, what’s so bad about letting a guy in need of some happiness attend? (Teachable moment mission accomplished!)
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Jay and Joe and The Learnin’ Barn
And then there’s Jay, the one parent who’s least into impressing his child. Because Gloria had to go to jury duty, Jay has to head to The Learnin’ Barn with the wide-eyed Joe. Instead of committing himself to the job, he brings along Margaret, an assistant who happily announces, “I couldn’t have children.” (Wow, Jay, couldn’t you have found someone who didn’t have such a personal connection with kids?) Eventually, Jay gets over the hippie vibe of the place and even starts to feel a kinship with Larry the Lonely Leopard, as read by Joe’s teacher:
…with this adorable reaction from Joe (and the Jay-dubbed “Big Ears,” whose ears really aren’t that big) that I couldn’t help but screenshot:
Unfortunately, Jay gets mocked by Big Ears and leaves feeling down, until Joe reveals that Jay was a hit with the whole class, and they’d love to have him back. Aw, Jay! Good job parenting — now all you have to do is convince Big Ears to give you your wallet back!
NEXT: Claire tries to be a good leader, but mint chocolate chip ice cream cake gets in the way