Modern Family recap: Super Dunphy

Phil tries an extreme stunt, Mitchell and Cam experiment with extreme dieting, and Claire finds herself extremely fed up.
Ep. 03 | Aired Sep 28, 2011

'DON'T LOOK AT ME' Phil pursues his tightrope dreams, but it doesn't come easy.

Richard Foreman/ABC

After being treated to an hour of Modern Family last week, doesn't 30 minutes of programming (22, minus commercials) just seem like NOT enough? Sigh. At least the gang made the most of the time they had with an episode that found Gloria jealous of a dog, Mitchell and Cam on his-and-his diets, and Claire aiming to create an army of super-Dunphys. (It's only now that I realize how much Claire and Klaus from The Vampire Diaries have in common. Weird.)

So, let's start at casa del Pritchett, where Gloria's dreams of beaches and Diet Pepsi were interrupted by the crude sounds of snoring. Being that she sleeps next to a man Jay's age, I think she should thank her lucky peanuts that's the only sound she was hearing at night. But it turned out that it wasn't even Jay who was responsible for the offending snores -- it was their new (completely adorable!) dog. (I could be wrong, but I didn't catch a name.)

Meanwhile, Cam was starting a juice cleanse and, as a result, was experiencing a "slow descent into madness," which I honestly thought was what we'd been watching for the last two seasons. Mitchell wanted him to delay starting the diet, knowing that crazy Cam was comin' 'round the mountain, but decided that if he couldn't reason with Cam (he should have known better than to try!) then he'd join him in the cleanse. Hungry loves company… and Nutella.

At the Dunphy household, Phil decided to take up tightrope walking after he and Luke, who would spend most of the episode over-stuffing himself with junk food that came courtesy of Mitchell, saw a cool documentary on television. Dear God, no one ever show these two an episode of Sister Wives.

Elsewhere, Haley was displeased to learn that Alex would be joining her in second-year math, and Alex was displeased to learn that her sister, a senior, was still in second-year math. Sorry, in second-year math again. Despite initial grievances with their situation, Alex and Haley came to an agreement. Alex would help Haley cheat on her homework and major tests of knowledge in exchange for a slice of popular-people perks. Claire took the credit for the apparent peace treaty (though, she was unaware of the terms) because she had lectured them on how she'd hoped they'd work together in class, be "super-Dunphys." The only thing "super" here was how far Haley has gotten in her education despite apparently being another child left behind. Now, I'm no Pascal, but, really, Haley? Eight, a prime number? Maybe she should try tightrope walking.

The girls ended up being caught in the act, but they weren't the only ones who got into trouble with authority in this ep. Claire engaged in a battle with a power-hungry curb cop at the girls' high school. I love any chance we get to see Claire's Haley-eque mean girl side emerge from her responsible-mom shell. It's always a cold reminder that we're more like our moms than we like to admit, and, I imagine, a reminder to moms that they were the Originals. And even though Claire's back-talk resulted in her being restrained in PlastiCuffs, it was well worth it to see her get a chance to refer to something as a "SpongeBob tie." That's such a mom insult! I loved it.

Back at the land of juice and not much else, Cam was struggling with the "diet stages," which included "soap actress," "rush of epiphanies," "despair," and, of course, "rage." (I'd argue that raging Cam is the funniest of them all, mostly because it reminds me of my favorite ass-kicking clown, Fizbo.) Mitchell tried to gracefully un-invite Cam to his boss's party, but, um, that didn't work out. And neither did actually going to the party. It seems Cam wasn't the only one a bit "unhinged" from the extreme dieting.

Mitchell had a big emotional display at the party after hearing a sad story about a sea lion named Snorkels. And we're not talking Dolphin Tale audience-level sobs, this was a full meltdown. He ended up running into the ocean in madness, and Cam chased after him. It made for a cute moment, and it reinforced the fact that these two will always be there for each other -- through thick, thin, and diet dementia.

NEXT: The week's best lines!

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