MODERN FAMILY “After The Fire” Review

MODERN FAMILY “After The Fire” Season 3, Episode 8 – When I’m watching Modern Family, I sometimes forget that Claire and Mitchell are brother and sister. I tend to think of them as independent heads of their own families and don’t often consider that their relationship more closely resembles the relationship that the kids have with one another than the relationship the adults have with one another.

It’s been a while since their sibling drama has been the focus of a story line and I really love the way Modern Family portrays this adult brother/sister relationship so I was happy to see it pop up again. Claire and Mitchell may be friends, but they are siblings first and her interaction with Mitchell is less controlled than her interaction with Phil, Jay or anyone else. Claire is always bossy, but she’s more methodical about her arguments with Phil and the kids. When she argues with Mitchell, she’s candid and speaks to him as if the rules are different between the two of them.

Claire’s jealousy of Mitchell and Gloria’s fun friendship was rooted in her own childhood family issues. Claire only realizes this when she falls back into her childhood pattern of going to “daddy” for comfort and decides to apologize to Mitchell – adult to adult. Of course, that’s when she finds out that Mitchell had already told Gloria everything, humiliating her. Gotta love Gloria for being brutally honest about liking Mitchell more than Claire and kind of not caring about Claire’s issues.

Upstairs, Phil finally had an opportunity to be useful to Jay as a masseuse. Phil’s massage room set up had me cracking up and even though he was simply saying and doing everything an actual masseuse would, Phil just sounded so ridiculous. When Jay let “I love you” slip as he was getting the massage of his life, I totally bought that Phil reacted to it as if it was the best day of his life. I was excited for Phil and looking forward to his printer stories being replaced by “I love you” stories.

Poor Phil missed the “I love you” he’d been waiting for all his married life because of a message inviting him to become partner in a new business. This twist was totally unexpected and actually so much more satisfying than if he had heard the “I love you” slip. What Phil got from Jay in the end was better than those retracted words of love. When the two of them sat down together to talk about major life changing decisions, Phil finally got the respect he’s always wanted from Jay. I wonder if Phil realized that.

Meanwhile, Cam was once again determined to break gay stereotypes, this time by proving that he could drive a truck. I love Cam, and I love when he talks about being a football playing farm boy, but I feel like we’ve seen a lot of Cam trying to prove his masculinity recently and I hope that’s not all his character has going for him this season.

Manny and Luke had been helping with “Randaid” by testing out a toy helicopter intended for the Rand’s youngest boy. This plot line didn’t really do much for me except to provide Alex an opportunity to step in at the end and show Haley that she could wield a powerful feminine charm over boys as well. Her line, “someday your fans will be working for my fans” was totally brilliant and well played. That nerd-girl knows what she’s talking about and she’s a force to be reckoned with.

I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s episode of Modern Family. It dealt with family relationships outside of the normal spousal conflicts that seem to have been the focus of some of the more recent episodes. With everyone gathered together to work on “Randaid”, we got a natural mix up of all the families which made this episode fresh and fun.