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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.

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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