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'Modern Family' recap: Meet the neighbors

Season 6 | Episode 5 | “Won’t You Be Our Neighbor” | Aired Oct 22, 2014

Phil is selling the house next door, and he and Claire are excited to have new neighbors—that is until they meet an awful couple looking to buy (guest stars Steve Zahn and Andrea Anders). Mitch and Cam want to remove Lily from her class because of how scary her teacher is (to them, too). Jay learns that Manny is dating the daughter of his biggest rival and forbids him from seeing her.

If you are trying to avoid spoilers, you should not scroll down!

Phil and Claire are incredibly excited that their neighbor is moving and that Phil gets to sell the house. Claire assumes that they (more likely, her) get to choose their neighbors. She is anxious and stages, along with their kids, that the Dunphys are basically the Cleavers or the Bradys.

When the house is all but sold to the perfect neighbors, a loud, crude family pulls up to check it out. This devastates Claire. The family is the total opposite of who she prefers to live next to. As they talk to the obnoxious family, Claire attempts to make the house/neighborhood appear deplorable with a loud freeway noise. However, the patriarch, who considers himself a doctor because he owns several chains of medical weed dispensaries, is impressed with the house and neighborhood. In a separate conversation with Phil, the father of the imperfect family elects to put 50 grand more on the offer to secure the house.

Phil and Claire invite the other couple over in a last ditch effort to sway them into placing a larger offer on the house through means of flattery. They embarrass themselves by consistently misspeaking in a sexual context, sending mixed messages that basically portray them as swingers. This causes their ideal neighbors to withdrawal their offer altogether.

Claire begs Phil to “misplace” the other offer, which he refuses to do. Instead, he visits his original neighbor to ask that he refuse the rude family’s offer for the time being. His neighbor agrees despite currently living in poor, dangerous conditions. Phil then pushes that offer through for his friend despite his own personal feelings (and Claire’s). The crazy family moves in.

Jay is working on an idea to “revolutionize” the closet industry. It is a sock dispenser (the prototype being made from an empty 12-pack box), which is designed to rotate your socks. Manny introduces his girlfriend Sophie to Jay. and she instantly keys in on the idea while showing genuine enthusiasm much to Manny and Gloria’s bewilderment. Sophie then mentions that her grandfather Earl owns a business called Closets, Closets, Closets, Closets, with which Jay is very familiar.

Later, Jay confronts Manny about bringing the granddaughter of his worst enemy into their home. It is clear how bitter Jay is over Earl abandoning him when they were younger business partners. Jay accuses Sophie of possibly lifting ideas from him for her grandfather and forbids Manny from dating her.

Gloria surprises Jay by setting up a meeting with Earl, hoping that they work out their differences. The conversation is very tense and does not get better as they argue about family. Earl even mentions that he slept with Jay’s ex-wife, which was met with an awesome response of sarcastic sorrow from Jay. Earl eventually shows up at Jay’s, and Jay is expecting an apology. Earl gets a look at Manny and realizes that he is no threat to his granddaughter (despite Jay swearing that Manny is a raging hormone in desperation) and happily leaves without apologizing.

Cam excitedly arrives home from a birthday party that Lily attended to inform Mitch that there is an opening in another classroom at Lily’s school. They do not like her current teacher Mrs. Plank and plot to get Lily out of her classroom. Mrs. Plank’s intensity is hysterically shown by Lily ripping a project of hers because Mrs. Plank doesn’t allow mistakes.

They show up at Mrs. Plank’s classroom to suggest that Lily switches to the open classroom. That does not go very well as Mrs. Plank intimidates them into stumbling over their words multiple times. They even suggest that Lily is at an academic disadvantage by being raised by gay parents. This conversation occurs as she writes “buffoon” on the chalkboard as the word of the day. Cam finally steps up and openly recommends that Lily switch classrooms due to her being able to thrive in a more supportive environment. The teacher unwillingly accepts the change but throws one more jab by correcting Cam after making a grammatical error.

When Cam and Mitch eagerly inform Lily that they switched her teacher, she is unhappy. Lily says that she wants to learn, cutting down the other teacher for not actually teaching the students important subjects. This is excellently demonstrated Lily’s friend in the other class who is under the impression that mixing blue and yellow makes “blellow.” Of course, they crawl back to Plank begging her forgiveness.

This is a solid episode. While it does not top last week’s episode, it is thoroughly enjoyable. I’m really looking forward to Zahn and Anders continuing as the Dunphys’ new neighbors. I give the episode 3 Closets out of 4.

Favorite Quotes

“I’m kind of in a delicate spot. Stuck between my wife and the guy next door, but I’m pretty sure I can satisfy them both simultaneously.” —Phil

“I’m going to have to handle this how my mother handle my two brothers: It’s either you two work this out or you kill each other.” —Gloria

“Just so there’s no misunderstanding, we want you.” —Phil

“If you banged DeDe, I do owe you an apology.” —Jay


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