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'Modern Family' recap: White roses, dogs, and couches

Season 6 | Episode 9 | “Strangers in the Night” | Aired Dec 3, 2014

His name is George Glass. Classic middle-child syndrome has been wreaking havoc on our television sets from the moment they swept through America in 1947 (granted in limited fashion at the time). In this week’s Modern Family, Alex is no exception to middle-child problems—and those problems pertain to boys. However, her family suspects her lack of boyfriends is the real problem.

White roses have been popping up at the Dunphy residence as of late and the family typically assumes they are meant for Haley—except Phil, who claims he is being peeped on after washing the car in shorts (the flowers are obviously for him). Alex claims they are from her boyfriend whom none of them have heard anything about. Phil believes his youngest daughter and intends to invite the mystery boy to dinner. Claire, Haley, and Luke instantly call shenanigans, assuming that she made up a boyfriend à la the Jan Brady/George Glass storyline from The Brady Bunch.

Where the two stories differ is that Alex’s boyfriend is in fact a real person to begin with. This is never proven to the family, however; Alex has a breakup at the front door a moment before Phil mentions dinner. Everything that Alex tells her parents sounds like a fabrication. For example, the name of her boyfriend (now her ex) is Alec, and the only item that proves his existence is a monogrammed coffee cup—and the “c” in his name is smeared.

Phil and Claire attempt to talk to Alex and become even more suspicions when says she is already dating someone else. Her story yet again sounds improvised: Her new boyfriend, Teddy Keys, is a juvenile delinquent who works at a Mattress King store. As Alex tells her parents about Teddy, they hilariously notice a teddy bear on her bed, a set of keys on her dresser, a mattress label, and a criminology book. There are priceless reactions from both Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell in this scene. They are even more speechless though when Teddy picks Alex up moments later for a date.

Jay and Gloria are taking Stella the dog to an elite dog party. This party is a really strange display of canine affection. I’m a dog person through and through, but I can’t see myself rocking out in a dog conga line (don’t quote me on that). Gloria has enough issues with dogs, but throwing in the strangely obnoxious owners causes Gloria to flee.

Manny is at home with baby Joe watching children’s TV instead of the classic movies he actually wants to watch when Gloria arrives. He convinces her to return because Jay is planning to attend a Colombian citizenship party for several friends of hers the next day. They all go back to the dog mitzvah and find a stunned Jay. Jay takes Manny aside to scold him for ruining his scheme of getting out of the Colombian party driving Gloria out of the doghouse party.

The next day, Jay has an epiphany: Manny deliberately set him up for failure in order to watch The Sting while they are at the Colombian party. His realization comes to him as Manny is reading the back of the video case. The scene is really funny, with the best part being Manny’s confession that he did not plan any of it despite Jay’s sincere assurance. Jay is runner-up for this week’s best line award. As Gloria is rushing him to leave for the party, Jay hollers to her, “They’ve been living in a van for six years. They can wait a little longer.”

When you buys something new you tend to be overprotective of it for a while. I have been that way before. There’s no shame in it. Mitch and Cam learn how true and false this statement is when they buy a new, pure white couch and get stuck hosting Mitch’s dramatic co-worker Brenda on the very same day.

This couch is the holy grail of furniture. The only one allowed on it is Lily’s cat. Lily asks Cam why as he responds that the cat is also white. Lily delivers the best line of the episode when she storms off and shouts, “You chose me!”

Things grow to a new chaotic level when the depressed Brenda accidentally threatens the couch by dramatically waving two glasses of red wine while sitting on it and annoyingly recounting her broken marriage. This is merely the beginning as we learn that she has mucus draining problems and snores louder than a shuttle launch, among other messy baggage.

Just as Cam and Mitch are about to snap at Brenda, they catch Lily reading her a book to soothe her. While Cam and Mitch recognize that they have been a little theatrical regarding the couch, Brenda sneezes all over it. They walk away irritated, yet resigned, accepting that the only perfect thing they have is Lily.

“Strangers in the Night” is another solid outing for this season. The weakest storyline of the episode belongs to Stella getting her groove back, but it is still a lot of fun. Several scenes were cleverly written and acted out. The scene in Alex’s bedroom stands out in particular. 4 white couches out of 5.

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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