I love when Modern Family explores a little of what Jay (Ed O’Neill) was like as a father to Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). In just over two seasons the writers of Modern Family have told us enough about these characters that we feel as if we’ve known them forever. Yet, when they tell a story like the one in “Egg Drop” we’re able to discover something new and meaningful about them.
Part of Jay and Claire’s dynamic is that they are highly competitive with one another and they always have been. Competing is part of their bond so when Luke (Nolan Gould) and Manny (Rico Rodriguez) have the same school science project to complete, an egg drop in which the egg is dropped and must land without breaking, it gives Jay and Claire the chance to compete to see which who can create the better project.
Turning Claire and Jay against one another was Luke’s plan all along; get the parents to do the homework for them. His plan works until, of course, Manny cracks just before they’re able to finally get away with it. The resolution to this plot is a bit of recycling from the Alex and Haley dent in the van door story from “Punkin’ Chunkin” but the Jay-Claire dynamic gives the story more resonance.
We’ve heard from the beginning how Jay treated Claire like the son he never had; sorry Mitchell. “Egg Drop” explores that idea a little with a sweet moment where Jay admits to nurturing Claire’s competitive side because it was part of her that he could relate to beyond gender. He couldn’t help her with aspects of life that father’s don’t understand but he could relate to being driven and competitive and he used that to forge and maintain their bond.
Jay and Claire’s story isn’t as laugh out loud funny as the other stories but it is still the best story of “Egg Drop.” The other two stories are more comic and less resonant. Phil (Ty Burrell) is now a partner in his own real estate firm and he’s putting on his first major promotion; a major seminar. Enlisting the help of Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Gloria (Sophia Vergara), Phil has planned a fast paced multimedia presentation; including confetti cannon.
Of course, the seminar is a debacle as Gloria and Haley fail to show up on time and Phil ends up running everything himself from his introduction, to his closing question to his banner and that blasted confetti canon. The resolution of the story finds Phil bonding as family with Gloria in a way she understands; anger. Gloria’s family is hot-blooded and she’s often criticized her new family for repressing such emotion. When Phil finally explodes at her she feels as if she’s really part of the family.
Finally, Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) are trying to adopt a baby but first they must endure a clueless young pregnant girl named Lindsey (Zoe Jarman, Huge) who pushes every one of Mitchell’s buttons. Watching Mitchell hold back from insulting Lindsey is like watching a man trapped in a burning building try to endure the heat of a flame. Jesse Tyler Ferguson is wonderful at comic fuming.
Once Mitchell is back on his best behavior it’s Cam’s turn to get upset. Lindsey wants her baby to grow up in a musical environment; the baby daddy is a musician. So, she asks Mitchell and Cam to perform a song. When she prefers Mitchell’s singing on “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” over Cam’s his facade of calm begins to crack until he’s accidentally crooning a tune that convinces Lindsey that she should keep her baby.
- I enjoyed the runner about Haley being unwilling to give up her egg drop design secret. It was a small but funny showcase for the oft-underutilized Ariel Winter.
- No big name guest stars this week unless you count Huge actress Zoe Jarman. This left plenty of room for the main cast which is always a good thing.
- Best joke of the night was undoubtedly Cam and Mitchell’s literal song and dance act for Lindsey. It wasn’t a great version of the Elton John–Kiki Dee disco classic but the set up and payoff were quite funny.
- I also loved Phil’s slow burning realization that his seminar is so thorough that attendees may not need a realtor afterward. Ty Burrell is wonderful at arriving at comic conclusions at just the right moment; brilliant timing and facial cues.