Modern Family: Season 2, Episode 9 “Mother Tucker” (B+)
After an episode that brought all of its characters together for a family celebration, it’s just as fun to see them divided back up by immediate family unit. I’m tempted to say that Phil’s storyline was the strongest since his empathy with the impossibly dumb Dylan does really come from the heart. Phil’s clueless conversation with Haley on the phone while they were feet away from each other was very typical and funny. My favorite scene was the very subtly-handed throwing out of his girly sweatshirt when he saw a girl wearing it during the end credits. Cameron’s inability to perceive the degree to which his mother was touchy-feely with Mitchell is no surprise since both mother and son have the same eccentric mannerisms. Mitchell’s plan to expose her inappropriate touches was ill-advised, but fortunately Cameron did eventually realize and explain to her that their bathtub setup was exactly the kind of behavior about which Mitchell was complaining. The sight of Gloria popping her shoulder back into place immediately after dislocating it during a ping-pong game was pretty hilarious, as was her eventual slew of apologies when she discovered that he actually had something that needed to be operated on, prompting him to wish for the glory days of her not caring about his supposed pains and discomforts. Manny, as always, was more adult than kid, researching the symptoms diligently on the computer and acting as more of a parent than a child to Jay when the patriarch was freaking out.