You can really tell when an episode of ‘Modern Family’ is written by someone who understands the show. ‘Good Cop Bad Dog’ was penned by Abraham Higginbotham and Jeffrey Richman, both of who are responsible for some of the best episodes of the season. It was directed by Fred Savage, and marks his first turn at the helm of ‘Modern Family’, but hopefully not the last.
The focus of this week’s episode is the very different parenting styles of Phil and Claire. It’s been clear from the beginning that Phil tries to be more of a friend to the kids than an authority figure, and this week Claire is finally sick of it. She decides that it’s time for a change, so she puts Phil in charge of disciplining the girls while she takes Luke and Manny out to ride go karts.
The thing is, Claire isn’t fun – at least not in the same way as Phil. She’s competitive and strangely commanding when she insists that fun be had. It doesn’t work out at all, but Phil’s incredibly aggressive discipline style doesn’t work out either. When Claire and Phil swap roles, it just gets scary for everyone involved. Phil is particularly funny in this episode when he goes into dictator mode. His reaction to a drain clogged with hair is classic.
Mitchell has a moral dilemma about some concert tickets that he purchased. The original plan was that he and Cam would see Lady Gaga together. With Cam sick, Mitchell has to decide whether to leave Cam alone by himself and see the concert, or to stay home and let the tickets go to waste. In the end, he goes, and it seems like Cam understands. There isn’t a lot to the story here, but there are a few funny moments.
Gloria goes a little over-the-top when she brings home a man named Guillermo who wants to talk to Jay about some business plans. Guillermo’s plan is awful and Jay tells him so. Guillermo ends up deciding to go back to school, though he has to live with his mother to support himself. That means he has to give up his dog, which Gloria decides to take off of his hands so that it doesn’t have to go to a pound. Without significant conflict, the Jay and Gloria side of things just feels a little bland.
‘Good Cop Bad Dog’ is a strong episode and a good way to lead into the end of the season.