Modern Family: Flip Flop Season 4 Episode 20 Review

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Was this the best episode of the season?

Modern Family didn’t do a lot of things that it had been doing all season this week. It didn’t use cliche ridden characterizations. It didn’t divide our attention more than two ways. It didn’t force it’s characters into unlikely situations. It didn’t rely on classic sitcom tropes to skate by. It didn’t use easy humor to trick us into having a good time.

This is because Flip Flop felt like a season one episode of this once great comedy. The families were split into only two groups tonight, instead of the typical four or so, allowing for the stories to fully develop and (gasp!) even breathe a little. Yes, the first half wasn’t the funniest the show has done, but it built to a hysterical, and even satisfying climax.

A major subplot of the season, Claire and Cam trying to flip a house, came to a head tonight as all their hard work ended and they tried to sell. But no one was biting, except Luke claiming he had a friend interested (which everyone brushed off as “adorable”). Phil naturally had his real estate buddies interested in the investment, while Mitch joined in by trying not to say “I told you so” to Cam.

But Luke’s friend was actually a fully grown man who volunteers at the school looking for a home. For a last attempt at selling the place, Haley checks out every piece of social media the potential buyer was on, and the family decorated the house as perfectly as they could, including hanging up a Black Hawks tarp, Mitch buying beer for the first time (“There’s so many to choose from!”), and Phil claiming the Die Hard building was in view from the back yard. Watching this all come together, and of course, fall apart, was some of the funniest work the show has done all season. It all worked out in the end, Mitch and Cam pretended to be buyers, and they made a profit, Phil getting to be top dog in town again.

The B-plot worked pretty well too as Manny’s father Javier (Benjamin Bratt) returned with a new woman. But it was not a bimbo as Gloria suspected, but culturally aware, ivy league girl. So naturally, Manny loved her. Also, for a nice bit of past comedy, Jay brought down the dog butler, which the new girl called “art”. With Jay and Manny in love with her, Javier reveals that he proposed to her already. But she freaks out when he gives her a new ring.

Yes, we descended into cliches here, as Gloria and the woman realized they were both intimidated by each other. However, this story cleverly wove things from the show’s past and brought the characters forward. So I can forgive some cliche material.

Flip Flop was a standout episode from this overall weak season (but to answer the question I posed in the beginning of this review, no, that still goes to Party Crasher, when Gloria gave birth). With just four episodes left, maybe Modern Family can bounce back just enough to get me watching season five. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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