Modern Family recap: Toontown Abbey

Phil fears he's too old for roller coasters, Cam and Mitchell put Lily on a leash, and Gloria discovers slippers
Ep. 22 | Aired May 9, 2012

THE MORTALITY OF MICKEY MOUSE: The Dunphy-Pritchetts' trip to Disneyland left some in a good mood (like the concupiscent Alex) and others (like Phil) facing death in its giant, four-inch-wide cartoon eyes.

Peter Stone/ABC

Modern Family has reached that rare milestone shared by every great family sitcom: the Disneyland episode. The Russos did it. Roseanne did it. Even Cory and Topanga did it. And now, the Dunphy-Pritchetts have crossed into epic sitcom territory by taking the whole clan to Anaheim (or Orlando, since Disney World is equally frequented on TV) for a day of overpriced churros and Disney-themed puns.

It's the same story every time: come to Disneyland, ride Big Thunder Mountain, have a deep existential crisis. For the beleaguered, aging Phil Dunphy, the happiest place on Earth became a sad reminder that tea cups crack, enchanted castles crumble and even the king of roller coasters can fall victim to the perils of growing old. In a (souvenir Chip 'n' Dale) nutshell, that was the doozy of a dilemma facing Phil as he came to the conclusion that he just wasn't able to keep up with Luke due to his getting older. The happy reveal, though, was that Phil's body wasn't failing, but that he actually had the flu, which gave just a little more hope to the most enthusiastic manchild ever to step foot in the Magic Kingdom (except major creeper Peter Pan, who's been wearing the same pair of tights for 110 years).

Cam and Mitchell faced their own crisis in child rearing: Lily, who has acquired a propensity for scurrying, falls victim to what Cam calls a "child safety tether," or as Mitchell calls by its actual name, a leash. If you've ever been to an amusement park, country fair or Costco, you've definitely seen those awful terrycloth animal backpacks that parents force their rambunctious children to wear (I prefer spiked collars, personally). After an embarrassing tangle with another leashed child-dog (named Rex, no less), Mitchell decided it was too humiliating and let Lily free... only to have her immediately run away. Grandpa Jay, in his omniscient wisdom, knew the right way to slow the 3-year-old down, and it worked: He bought her a pair of Cinderella high heels, and the budding diva was immediately grounded.

The hilarity, of course, came from Jay's earlier encounter with Gloria, who refused to change out of her high heeled shoes, despite being warned of the insane amount of walking a person does at Disneyland (supposedly, the average walking distance for a day at Disney is around 10 miles, give or take the hyperactivity of your nightmarish toddlers). After pestering her enough times, Gloria admits to the pain, and Jay saves the day again, producing a pair of slippers that looked like the most comfortable footwear ever invented.

NEXT: Dylan gets Disneyfied, Manny gets stock options

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