‘Modern Family’ 2.17 Recap: Two Monkeys and a Panda

Season Two hasn’t been quite up to snuff for ‘Modern Family’, and the latest episode is a fine example. I’ve seen bad episodes before, but this is the first one that I’ve found boring.

My typical naming convention for these recaps is to pick a funny or memorable line of dialogue and make that the title. I couldn’t do that this week because nothing stood out. Nothing.

Phil finds some old spa gift certificates that he and Claire won at a charity auction and tries to convince her to go. She’s too busy, so she declines. When he can’t get an extension on the certificates, he decides to go instead.

The gag is that Phil is a man and yet he’s at the spa with a bunch of women. It’s not a particularly funny premise. With a more masculine character like Jay or a more awkward character like Alex, it could have worked. With Phil, it’s not funny. It just seems natural. He’s a schmoozer and he’s not what you’d call a man’s man.

Phil talks to the women at the spa and learns how to better respond to Claire when she’s upset. He acts differently when he gets home, she hugs him, and this will all be forgotten next week.

Jay takes Gloria to look at some spots in a crypt, but Gloria wants to be buried in the ground when she dies. The storyline takes a potentially funny turn when Jay meets the people selling the space, but nothing much happens.

Jay seems to have this idea that it will somehow matter to him who his neighbors are. Perhaps he plans to come back as a ghost? I just can’t relate to this story.

Finally, we come to Cameron and Mitchell, who are tackling a really tough issue. Lily’s last name should have been Tucker-Pritchett, but Mitchell filled out the adoption papers so that her last name is just Pritchett. It’s a betrayal of Cameron’s trust, and Mitchell has to admit that he wasn’t sure Cameron would still be around.

Like I said, these are some big issues. These are issues that really can’t be covered in six minutes. It all happens so fast that we don’t have a chance to get emotionally involved in it, and so the resolution seems overdramatic.

‘Two Monkeys and a Panda’ is another miss from ‘Modern Family’, and the first episode for both writer Carol Leifer and director Beth McCarthy-Miller. We have plenty of shows left in the season, but I’m beginning to worry about the direction they’ll go.


  1. Finally caught up with this. There were a couple of funny moments, but I agree that it was a disappointment. What troubles me is that this makes two episodes in a row where Claire just behaves like a total neurotic bitch for no good reason. I really don’t want this to be her character arc.

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