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'Modern Family' recap: Don't push it!

Season 6 | Episode 2 | “Do Not Push” | Aired Oct 1, 2014

Now that everyone has recovered from their perfect summer, long honeymoon, and appearance anxieties, Modern Family brings us a solid second episode in its sixth season. In a nutshell, “Do Not Push” does the opposite of what the title suggests. Jay and Gloria debate the type of gift they should get each other for their anniversary, the Dunphys take Alex on a college tour, and Mitch and Cam attempt to replace their family portrait with a very excited Lily.

This is a stronger episode than the premiere, for the most part. There are a ton of funny moments as well as some deeper character reveals. Once again, the writers nicely tie all of the separate family stories together with a common theme; “Do Not Push” in particular does so both physically and thematically.

If you are trying to avoid spoilers, do not push on!

At the opening of the episode we are with Cam, Mitch, and Lily, preparing to replace their family portrait. This will be the first portrait with Lily; she has been making it known that she was missing from the old one by placing self-colored pictures of herself on it.

This turns out to be a slight problem when Mitch and Cam realize she is smiling strangely, as kids unknowingly tend to do (I know I was involved in a fair share of incredibly embarrassing school pictures). After several miserable attempts, the smile worsens and is compared to a Pomeranian. Lily’s faces, especially the Pomeranian expression, are priceless.

Lily’s fathers try to make her acknowledge her silly face, to no avail. In desperation, they tell her that she is showing an offbeat smile, trying to dance around offending her and failing terribly. She storms off and refuses to take any more pictures.

The Dunphys are visiting Caltech for Alex, with the whole gang along for the trip. Claire has a hidden agenda of persuading Alex to attend Caltech because it is near their home. Alex doesn’t exactly have the same mindset (quite the opposite, in fact). She wishes to go to school at MIT on the East Coast to get away from her family. Alex actually proclaims this to Claire before heading off on her own part of the tour.

While Claire and Alex are touring the school, Phil, Haley, and Luke decide to take part in an on-campus experiment. They end up in a waiting room with a mirror and a button openly displayed with a sign reading “DO NOT PUSH.” As you can guess, Phil, Luke, and Haley are the last people that should be in that room.

They go back and forth and determine that the button is the experiment they are partaking in. They really try to fight their urges to push the button. After we are taken through some deep emotional issues with Haley, violent swinging of a chair, and several angry (and sadly pointless) verbal threats aimed at a nonexistent monkey, the three Dunphys elect to send the scientists (and the monkey) a message by pressing the button.

While they learn that they were way off base and that the button controls a broken air-conditioner, Alex makes a connection with another prospective student. He expresses how much he’d love to go to school near his family, yet he doesn’t want to miss out on Caltech. While on the phone with Mitch, Claire tells him not to be too pushy with Lily because it will only drive her away. Light bulb! She takes her own advice and is pleased to hear that Alex has warmed to considering Caltech after all. Meanwhile, Mitch and Cam begrudgingly hang one of the portraits taken to please Lily.

Jay and Gloria are celebrating their anniversary. When Jay learns from Manny that Gloria bought Jay the expensive watch he has been longing for, he feels self-conscious over making her a sentimental clay bunny in a pottery class he has secretly been taking. Manny convinces Jay that she will love it.

Gloria excitedly opens the gift and is confused as to the bunny’s meaning. After some poor phrasing from Jay saying that she will appreciate what he put into the bunny (meaning his hard work and love), she smashes the bunny open to see what he literally put into it. Jay, trying to withhold tears, blames the “jeweler” for mistakenly forgetting to put the “bracelet” inside the bunny. He disappears, and Manny explains that Jay made the bunny for her since he used to call her “Bunny.”

When Jay returns with the bracelet that Gloria wanted, she gives him a bookmark made out of the tickets from their first movie together. Jay is clearly disappointed, knowing that the watch he so desires is right there. Gloria mentions just making sentimental gifts in the future. Almost instantaneously, much to Manny’s chagrin, they elect to keep the watch and the bracelet, too.

Modern Family rocks its message this week and delivers a ton of laughs in the meantime. Everyone contributed to the episode in a meaningful and comical way. I’m sure that’s just what the scientists’ monkey that Phil curses wanted too! I give this episode 4.5 buttons out of 5.

Favorite Quotes

“Obviously, nothing is more important to me than her academic whatever, but with Alex, the important thing is keeping her close for the next four years.” —Claire

“Awesome! Christmas on Neptune … every other year?” —Phil

“All right, she looks like Pepper’s Pomeranian. We have to say something.” —Cam

“We only have one basement. There’s no place for you to move when your life bottoms out.” —Phil

“One out of a million dropouts become Steve Jobs. Do you know who become losers with no jobs? The other ninety-nine thousand!” —Haley

What did you think of “Do Not Push”? Let us know in the comments!

Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9/8C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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