“Modern Family” returned to ABC’s Wednesday lineup after a Thanksgiving break. This episode feature Hayley picking up trash for community service, a one-up showdown between Phil and Jay, and Cam as a cat in a tree.
Jay and Phil have to take Manny and Luke to a friend’s olympic-themed birthday party, so Jay petitions Claire to babysit his pregnancy-minded wife at Costco.
Phil introduces his father-in-law Jay to the fathers of the party guests, and the story charades begin. When Phil is the life of the party at Jay’s expense, Jay quickly turns the tables and tells humiliating stories about Phil dancing to Olivia Newton John on the lawn. Phil and Jay take it to the party’s inflatable boxing ring, and duke it out. Phil’s pent-up aggression leaves Jay with a few too many shiners and a big blow to his pride.
At Costco, Gloria stands aimlessly in the frozen food aisle, so Claire grabs a sweater from the clothes section while she lectures her about being mindless due to the baby. Gloria finally comes to her senses, and the two proceed to checkout. Finally, on the walk to the car, a security guard detains Claire for walking out with the sweater she used on the frozen food aisle. In a meeting with the store manager, the allegedly absent-minded Gloria fakes a labor scare by pretending her water broke. As the two rush out to the car, the manager apologizes profusely for any stress caused to Gloria, and the women drive off without further questioning.
Gloria admits that her water didn’t actually break right as Claire speeds through a red light. As fate would have it, a police officer turns on his lights to pull them over, so Claire asks Gloria to fake labor pains again. It’s evident who the truly forgetful one is.
Like mother, like daughter in the criminal sphere, Hayley was getting around to her community service from assaulting a police officer after a night of college drinking. Her sister Alex seeks to snap an embarrassing photo of Hayley to avenge an unflattering Facebook photo that she took of Alex. Alex is unsuccessful, and in the end, Hayley gets the final snapshot, another bad picture of her little sister.
But the best part of the episode? Cam’s and Lily’s favorite picnic tree in the park is about to be chopped down, and Cam makes it his duty to stop the tree choppers. After occupying the tree for hours, Cam gets a call that the lead in the community production of “Cats” can’t make it, and Cam must fill in. A reluctant Mitchell fills in for Cam while he goes to the play, but the tree people and the police demand he leave his post. Mitchell calls Cam to come immediately, and he shows up in his skin-tight cat outfit to climb the tree and teach Lily to stand up for what is right. Like all cat-in-a-tree stories end, Cam has to be rescued and returned to his rightful owner- Mitchell. The next day, the newspaper printed that Cam had saved the tree, but reviews of his “Cats” production were less than heroic.
You win some, you lose some, but viewers didn’t lose any laughs during this week’s “Modern Family.”