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‘Modern Family’ 2.09 Recap: “What Do Smart Girls Get?”

“Dumb guys go for dumb girls, and smart guys go for dumb girls? What do smart girls get?” This is Alex’s question when she finds out that Haley may be moving on to a new boy – her math tutor. Phil’s response, nearly under his breath, is “They get cats, mostly.”

If there’s one word that nicely sums up the episode ‘Mother Tucker’, it’s “uncomfortable.” Things get a little weird for the characters and even the viewer as ‘Modern Family’ goes a little out of its normal comfort zone. Still, we’re treated to a solid episode just in time for those family get-togethers.

In the Dunphy house, Haley finally decides that it’s time to dump Dylan. This doesn’t seem to affect her quite as much as it affects Phil, who is distraught at the news. Things get really weird when Phil acts as a shoulder for Dylan to cry on.

Phil and Dylan go guitar shopping and end up sharing an ice cream sundae, apparently. It’s a bit like a date, though Phil and Dylan definitely don’t see it that way. Phil’s preoccupation with Dylan gets a little obsessive later in the episode, and since he’s not telling his daughter about their communication, it feels really weird. It’s the type of storyline that seems more suited for ‘The Office’. That’s not a bad thing, just a little different.

Jay, meanwhile, is feeling under the weather and is having abdominal pain. Gloria mocks him as being a sissy American that can’t handle his own medical problems. She clearly can, as we see when she fixes her own dislocated shoulder.

Aside from Gloria being ultra-tough, which is always okay by me, the Pritchett story is a bit weak. Jay ends up needing surgery, Gloria feels bad about making fun of him and – well, that’s it. There’s not a lot there.

The Cam and Mitchell story is awkward and seems a little silly at first, but goes to reveal a lot about the incredibly affectionate Cameron and about Mitchell, who tends to shy from anything too romantic. Cameron’s more physical mother bothers Mitchell with her constant touching. Rather than confront her directly, Mitchell takes a strange and roundabout approach to get Cam to notice.

‘Mother Tucker’ is an episode that relies on the strength of Phil more so than the ensemble cast. Luckily, Ty Burrell manages subtle hilarity throughout and a nice heartfelt moment at the end.

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