Jay is slumped over counter at an airport bar. He looks at the drink the bartender has poured for him and says, “Could you make it a double? I’m travelling with my family.” That line alone sums up the entire episode.
Back in the late ’90s, when ‘Married with Children’ was cancelled, it seemed like that was it for Ed O’Neill’s career. The character of Al Bundy followed him around, and he didn’t get a lot of high caliber work. It’s hard to separate him from the character he played for ten years, just like it’s sometimes hard to watch ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and not see Peggy.
O’Neill has finally found another great role in ‘Modern Family.’ Jay is a lot like Al, but less abrasive and more loveable. He’s the heart of ‘Airport 2010,’ which ended up being a fantastic episode all around.
The story revolves around Jay, who got surprised by Gloria with a trip to Hawaii as a birthday present. Not a bad setup, except there’s one more surprise on the way: the family. Gloria and the rest of the clan talk about the big plans they have, including morning hikes, luaus and even a talent show put on by the family for Jay.
It’s one of those situations where you feel bad about feeling bad. Sure, Jay loves his family, but he was looking forward to a week alone in Hawaii with his wife, which is a decidedly different vacation than one where kids and grandkids tag along.
Everything crazy that happened in the episode – Manny being questioned by airport security, Claire getting drunk, Mitchell forgetting his keys – worked wonderfully because Jay’s story was so grounded.
The one thing I’ve got to call out though is the part reserved for Alex and Haley. At the airport, Haley obsesses over a cute boy. At the end it’s revealed that the boy is 14 – way too young for Haley apparently. The actress is 19, but I think Haley’s supposed to be 16. The joke’s fine, but the tip-off doesn’t really work.
After obsessing over the boy, Haley finally decides to go talk to him. She asks him what he’s sketching and he reveals that it’s a comic book, for school. She mentions that she had the same assignment back in eighth grade, and realizes that he’s not yet in high school.
But who, in eighth grade, had to draw a comic of a dinosaur fighting a robot? I sure didn’t. I mean, I drew plenty of them, but they weren’t for school. It almost seems like the age wasn’t the original joke, like maybe the boy was written as mentally handicapped and they changed it up last minute. I could be wrong, but watch it again.