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'Modern Family' recap: Boats and 'Bos

Season 6 | Episode 12 | “The Big Guns” | Aired Jan 14, 2015

Modern Family pits well-loved (or well-hated) neighbors against each other this week, as Claire and Phil fight to get Ronnie to move his enormous boat out of his driveway. Cam lays the framework to mold Lily into a clown behind Mitch’s back and it blows up in his face. Jay attempts to potty-train Joe despite Gloria stating that it’s too early.

The neighborly battle between the Dunphys and the LaFontaines continues on when Ronnie and Amber leave an eyesore of a boat in their driveway for several weeks. Not only is this boat huge, but it is as ugly as sin. Luke is the only one okay with the boat being around, since he gets to watch the girl next door sunbathe.

The bad blood between these two families is a lot of fun. Steve Zahn and Andrea Anders are a blast to watch as Ronnie and Amber. These two families could not be more different, yet they are equally crazy. What begins as a neighborly bribe with banana bread quickly turns into a turf war when they refuse to move the party boat (which is not on the water because people only use their boats on the weekend that way, and they wish to use it more often).

Phil calls the cavalry by recruiting his father (Fred Ward) and a convoy of retirees to visit. Their sole purpose is to annoy the neighbors enough with a full block of RVs and some very long, boring stories. Mr. Dunphy is all in on Phil’s plan to “smoke the neighbors out.” Unfortunately, this plans turns in favor of Ronnie as he coaxes the old-timers with some marijuana and ends up partying with them.

The next morning, Ronnie clears the air and offers a truce, to which Phil agrees … until the cops arrive, that is, summoned by who other than Claire (completely unaware of the accord struck by the two familial patriarchs)? The police enforce that the boat and the recreational vehicles be moved. Naturally, one of the retirees is “holding,” so he makes a walk for it (as opposed to a run).

The end tag of the episode shows Luke completely ignoring his blond crush as he retrieves the newspaper while blowing right past her. After spending days striking out while talking to her (pretty damn bad at times), Alex cooks up the ignoring plan for Luke. It works like a charm, as the LaFontaine girl really notices that Luke isn’t paying attention to her.

Jay wants to teach Joe how to potty even though he is still really young. Gloria tells Jay that Joe is not ready, but Jay is not having it. He goes on quite the journey in this battle. One of the best parts of the episode comes from Jay trying to buy diapers for Joe—but he is handed diapers for himself instead by a young clerk.

Nothing is working, as Jay tries everything from singing to games. Speaking of games, Jay teaches a very valuable lesson: Do NOT search peeing games on the internet. You’ve been warned!

As Jay is about to give up, Gloria and Manny point out how sweet it is that he is trying so hard. She understands that he is trying to make up for the lack of attention that he spent on Claire and Mitch while they were that age. He wants to do as much as he can for Joe so that Joe remembers that Jay was there for him. Suddenly, Joe uses the potty, to Jay’s amazement. He is so excited that he picks up Joe prematurely and gets a yellow bath.

It’s the Fizbo and Lizbo show at the Tucker/Pritchett house! Cam has Lily in clown training, even though Mitch is absolutely opposed (and oblivious) to it. They put on a show for Mitch after returning from Lily’s clown college, and it is atrocious. Mitch is embarrassed for Lily—until she starts to beat Cam (in a slapstick kind of way).

Cam is not prepared for Lily’s physical humor, but Mitch loves it. Soon the house is no longer safe for Cam, as Lily pops out from anywhere and everywhere to perform a mean joke, like a pie to the face while he is sleeping. There are also many other fearful acts for Cam to experience, similar to the Three Stooges’ antics. This leads to an intense paranoia for Cam, causing him to look carefully at everything he does.

Eventually, Lily admits to Mitch that she doesn’t want to be a clown (which is a blessing to him), but she doesn’t want to hurt Cam’s feelings. The fiery little girl acts out in hope that Cam will let her stop for being a “bad clown.” Cam walks into the conversation to hear Lily stating (acting is more like it) that her dad is a much better clown than she is, and that she isn’t ready to join the family business.

“The Big Guns” is a solid episode of Modern Family, and is appropriately titled. Watching three very different battles unfold for these families is a true pleasure. To sum it up: We have marijuana-toting old men, circus pranks, and peeing games discovered on the Internet. I give the episode four big guns out of five.

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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