Modern Family Season 4 Review “Career Day”

Modern Family Season 4 Episode 21 Career Day (18)

As made clear by the title, “Career Day,” this week’s Modern Family trades heavily in standard family sitcom plots. Of course, that’s what the show almost always does, so it’s no marks against it; it’s all about execution, and for the most part, this week serves that up better than average.

The titular career day is, predictably, stressed over by Phil. I like the detail that even though it’s for his youngest child, it’s his first one, because only Luke wasn’t smart enough to invent an excuse to hide it. Also predictable is that he completely flubs the presentation, both in conception and delivery, the latter mostly because Gil Thorpe arrives and steals the show with his Gil pickles. It’s all pretty funny (I loved that Phil’s intro was “I’ve been in your house when you’re not home”), but scoots towards even better once Claire has a meltdown in front of that horrible child and Thorpe offers her a job. This led to my two favorite jokes in the episode, when Phil insists he has veto power, then Claire launches into all the dumb ideas he’s ever had, only to be cut off by a talking head, then joined back in right at the end. It was a great use of the form.

Meanwhile, in Mitchell and Cam’s house, Lily has lost her first tooth, and Cam accidentally delivered her a hundred dollar bill as the tooth fairy. It is, like a career day, a pretty common sitcom story, but it might be my favorite Lily story the show has done since she started talking. Her “Let me see that! I can’t read,” when they got the letter was great, as was Mitch’s constant sniping about the glitter. And to top it all off, it was solved by giving Haley a nice moment. This season’s included a lot of maternal development for her, both in becoming more like her own mother as well as just more responsible in general, and I really liked that she handled this dilemma pretty much perfectly.

What else? Oh, Jay is trying to write a book so Gloria will stop complaining about how he does nothing all day, and he ends up letting Manny write it for him. There’s not a lot here, but the one montage of him narrating what he typed (“TTTTTTTT”) was funny enough. All in all, “Career Day” was one of the better episodes of Modern Family so far this season.