Modern Family recap: Welcome to Relaxistan

Fizbo returns, and Jay takes a trip to Relaxistan with Phil
Ep. 08 | Aired Nov 16, 2011

FIZBO TAKE THE WHEEL Haley and Alex join Cam on a bumpy ride

Peter Hopper Stone/ABC

One of the many things I love about Modern Family is that a good episode will make your own life seems more hilarious -- and I don't mean that in a negative way at all. Take the first few seconds of last night's episode, for instance, when Claire reached into a box of "old and outdated clothes" that were going to be donated to a neighborhood family (who had lost their house and belongings in a fire) and she pulled out a shirt that looked exactly like the one she was wearing. Small moments like these are what I love about this show because they're a reminder that we all need to laugh during life's could-be ego-crushing moments. (Also, am I the only one whose mother has at least half a closet of expired fashions that she refuses to toss for one reason or another? There aren't many things about Claire that remind me of my own mother, but those rare moments where she does make me love her a little more.)

Now that I've successfully gone on a tangent in the first 100 words of a recap, I'm going to cross that off my bucket list and move on with the rest of the episode.

So, this week, as I mentioned before, the family rallied together to help another family who suffered a tragedy. Lucky for the fire victims, Wonder Woman and Mr. Wonder Woman organized a charity drive to help them out. But let's be honest here, the real good deed in this episode was the one Modern Family writers did for viewers: giving us the return of Fizbo!

Now, we all know (some first hand) that sleep aids cause sleepwalking or "sleep driving," but as Mitchell explained, Cam "sleep clowns." (If this term doesn't make the Oxford English cut next year, I'm launching a complaint.) And before someone says something -- yes, I'm willing to forgive the somewhat gratuitous method of Fizbo's return because, well, it's freaking Fizbo. Add him a list of running gags that I continue to find hilarious.

Elsewhere, Jay's back went out while lifting boxes (speaking of gags I still appreciate -- No. 2: old man problems) and had to ask Phil, a licensed masseur, to work his uncomfortable magic. Phil, however, while happy to help, was preoccupied with work gossip after two employees left to start their own agency.

During the massage, Phil was offered a position at the new agency, leading to a little confusion. Before Phil got the "OMG"-worthy text, Jay accidentally let an "I love you" slip while Phil's magic fingers were entrancing him. (Yes, I worded that to maximize awkwardness.) So Jay thought Phil was reacting to his statement -- not the job offer. Later, when Phil and Jay talked about what happened, Jay was shocked to learn that Phil wanted his advice on the offer. (He said he should go for it.)

I often praise Phil -- er, Ty Burrell -- for being the chewy comedic center of the show, but I also never give Ed O'Neill and Jay enough credit for being the much-needed heart. In an increasingly competitive comedic landscape on television, that's what often sets Family apart. And this whole storyline highlighted that perfectly.

While all that was going on, Claire was having a hard time accepting the fact that Mitchell and Gloria were getting along so well because it was making her feel left out. In trying to make sense of it, her mind turned their relationship into a creepy mother-son thing, a theory she of course she shared with Mitchell, who then shared with Gloria, who later confronted Claire, but only after she ran to Jay, who ignored her until she talked herself into aforementioned epiphany. Whew. The lesson here? When in doubt, it always comes back to childhood issues.

NEXT: The week's best lines

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