Modern Family “Leap Day” Review

With tonight’s episode falling on February 29th, it was no surprise that Modern Family would have a “Leap Day” centered episode. I can’t recall if Cam’s Leap Day birth date had been brought up in any earlier episodes of Modern Family, but tonight, he turned the big 4-0… or, as Cam preferred, the big 1-0.

Mitch’s original idea to throw a Wizard of Oz themed party for Cam was incredible. All the decorations and theming that went into turning their home into a living version of the film made me wish that I had been invited to the party.

That’s probably why I started having a mini-meltdown when Mitch decided to change everything at the last minute. After all that work, Mitch decided he didn’t want to offend Cam with a tornado related film. Couldn’t they have just turned off the Vornado Tornado? I’m sure that among the things that Cam thinks about when he remembers the Wizard of Oz, the tornado is probably somewhere near the bottom.

As expected, Mitch’s last minute plans fell apart and Cam had a breakdown. Even though I wasn’t very sympathetic for either of them, I was glad that Cam was happy about his “10th” birthday at the amusement park. Plus, the look on that mother’s face when Mitch told Cam he was still that “sexy little 8 year old” that he fell in love with, was hilarious.

Meanwhile, the Dunphy family was all geared up to celebrate Leap Day by taking a leap off a trapeze platform. Turns out that Leap Day is to Phil as Halloween is to Claire. To Phil’s dismay, this Leap Day happened to fall on the start of his wife and daughters’ “monster” cycle. “Satan’s Trifecta” as Phil so aptly put it.

The gimmick of a woman becoming so emotionally crippled by a monthly spike in hormones while the man suffers because of it, has been a gag on so many other TV shows before. Honestly, I’m not very fond of this trope and I don’t think it’s just because I’m a woman. If you’re going to play the PMS card for comedy, you need to do something new with it. In that sense, I was somewhat disappointed that Modern Family couldn’t figure out a way to put a new spin on the standard girls-go-crazy-when-they-menstruate thing.

That’s not to say I didn’t laugh at a lot of the bits this storyline. Luke covered in Halloween blood for his “cut finger” was a riot and his panicked cry of “you’re all monstrating!” made me laugh out loud. I also enjoyed the end when Phil described the emotional rollercoaster he had been on which made him moody, anxious and hungry. Claire, Alex and Haley knew the feeling. I wonder if Phil realized why they were suddenly sympathizing with him.

I was surprised that tonight’s episode of Modern Family not only featured the expected “Leap Day” theme, but managed to squeeze in a reference to a Colombian soccer match on a day when the Colombian team had actually been playing in a game against Mexico. In tonight’s episode, Colombia was playing against the Netherlands, but I was impressed by whatever foresight or coincidence fell into place to make this reference so timely.

Before the episode started, my Colombian mother had been texting my husband the play by play of the Colombia vs. Mexico game. My mother, like most Colombian people I know, is kind of a soccer fanatic. So, the minute I saw Gloria in her bright yellow Colombia jersey, I was praying for an entire story line that centered around her borderline hooliganism.

Unfortunately, after the scene at the pub, there wasn’t much of anything having to do with soccer or hooliganism. As a matter of fact, this subplot mostly fizzled out until the very end when Gloria ended up punching the ship’s captain in the face. That punch happened to lead into my favorite line of the night, so it wasn’t all a loss. After Gloria shouted “nobody calls him grandpa!” Luke reacted with am impeccably timed “…I do” which just cracked me up.

In some ways, this was a flawed episode of Modern Family. “Leap Day” relied a little too much on familiar gimmicks which ended up making the episode feel a lot more like a standard sitcom than the usual Modern Family fare. Flawed or not, this episode made me laugh a lot and that’s enough to keep me coming back for more.