Wednesday Comedy Roundup: Modern Family 4.20

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Modern Family Season 4, Episode 20: “Flip Flop”
Written by Jeffrey Richman & Bill Wrubel
Directed by Gail Mancuso
Airs on Wednesdays at 9pm (ET) on ABC

This week’s episode of Modern Family is delightfully funny, aiming for nothing but laughs it’s clear the episode is a platform for the creators to have fun and entertain themselves. “Flip Flop” is mainly about Cam and Claire’s house-flipping enterprise and with the B story showing Gloria being her usual feisty and territorial self, the episode lacks the emotional depth that usually brings the show to a close each week. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that this week, “Flip Flop” is a very strong episode with no faults. Having only two storylines provides leeway for a ton of group interaction and also invites a handful of brilliant guest stars to join in with the Dunphy-Pritchett clan.

Claire and Cam are adamant that Phil is going to sell their renovated property in no time but “the best realtor in town” Gil Thorp (Rob Riggle) wants to force Phil to sell at a loss. At a breakfast meeting we see arrogant Thorp tell Phil he’ll regret refusing this shrinking offer and Phil, who never misses a beat, claims he doesn’t know the meaning of word. Right on cue a waitress brings a very appetising breakfast for Gil and dry toast for Phil. Visual cues and gags like this are what Modern Family do best. It isn’t until half way through the episode, the adults take Luke’s suggestion seriously. He continues to mention a friend who is interested in the house and the adults play it off as him being his adorable self.  Whilst this is all happening Mitch is hilariously struggling to hold his tongue, the scenes were he talks to the camera away from Cam are always highly enjoyable. When they do realise his friend is in fact an entrepreneur who volunteers at the school, or in Phil’s words “an adult with money”, Haley does some online stalking and finds out all they need to know about Zack Barbie. Not only does this scene move the plot forward it also provides us with a funny reference to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (a film that has been referenced before in Modern Family). With all the information they need, the gang get to work on “Barbie’s dream house” with a lovestruck Haley in tow. Outfitted with a Blackhawks banner, amongst other stuff Zack (played by Anders Holm from Workaholics and recently The Mindy Project) is more than impressed with house and is more and less ready to make an offer there and then. Until of course Cam and then Haley slip up and reveal that they in fact know his dog’s name, his birthday and his plans to attend Coachella.

At the Pritchett household, we see the return of Benjamin Bratt as Javier Delgado and Gloria angry at him for subjecting Manny to another one of his bimbos during a visit. The new bimbo turns out to be a sophisticated art expert (played by Criminal Minds’ Paget Brewster) which makes Gloria even angrier when she bonds with Manny. It’s no secret Manny loves talking culture and books and when Gloria sees him discussing this with Trish, she instantly feels the need to try get involved but ends up humiliating herself in a game of charades. This dynamic takes a drastic change when Trish reveals her anxieties about matching up to Gloria after Javier gives her his grandma’s ring. Realising she has the upper hand, she screams “Welcome to the family!” with open arms, oh Gloria.

“Flip Flop” may lack a bit of emotional depth and meaningful conclusions, but writers Jeffrey Richman & Bill Wrubel provides us with some fantastic dialogue. Highlights include Jay being unable to resist a comment about the stripper Javier took fishing: “I bet she was comfortable with the pole” as well as Cam mentioning the men who worked on the house: “Paco, I wish you could be here right now … He’s on the roof fixing a shingle that he should have gotten right the first time”. However Phil was absolutely outstanding this week and had a number of memorable lines: “I don’t have good news, but I want you to like me” he stammers before he states there are no buyers on the horizon. “Prepare to Phil the agony of Dunpheat! Both names!” he yells to Gil Thorp on the phone. However, it’s his moment of triumph that is probably the Phil highlight of the episode. Tricking Gil into believing the house is slipping away from his buyer, Phil turns the tables and attempts to monologue which Gil subjected him to: “First, you’re going to buy me a lovely dinner …no, that’s not it.”

Other thoughts / observations:

– Is Trish here to stay? Adding her and Javier could be an interesting dynamic.
– He may be playing a similar character to the one in Workaholics but it’s still great to see Ders in some different comedies; he is particularly funny in The Mindy Project. Interestingly enough, when Adam guest starred in Community 
he essentially plays his Workaholics character also.



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