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'Modern Family' fan recap: Fist fights and first class

Season 6 | Episode 15 | “Fight or Flight” | Aired Feb. 18, 2015

This week’s Modern Family saw the return of two beloved characters, a famous guest star, and … a new baby for the family?

At the top of the episode, Claire and Phil are on their way home from a visit spent camping in the woods with Phil’s cheerleading buddies. Claire, naturally, has been miserable the whole time, while an oblivious Phil thinks that they both had the wonderful time that he did. So when they are offered only one first-class upgrade, Claire hungrily snaps it up as her personal reward for putting up with her husband’s crazy antics.

Meanwhile, Cam and Mitch are throwing a belated baby shower for Sal (Elizabeth Banks), with a guest list that includes everyone’s favorites, Pepper (Nathan Lane) and Ronaldo. When Sal arrives, the boys offer her a drink, which she turns down, telling them that she’s on a water-only diet since she’s breastfeeding. She also wanders through the kitchen looking for plastic-free silverware for her son. This, of course, leaves the room in shock at who their party-loving girlfriend has been replaced with: a compassionate, caring … mother.

At the Pritchett household, Manny doesn’t feel well and suspects that he has a fever, but the ever-wise, knows-every-trick-in-the-book Gloria sees right through him. She knows that her oldest son is avoiding going to his cooking class because of another student who has been relentlessly teasing him. So she recruits a guileless Jay to teach Manny how to stand up for himself and use physical force to make sure that he is no longer bullied. Meanwhile, in typical Jay fashion, Jay only wants Manny to go to his cooking lesson so that he can get the lasagna. And the garlic bread.

The Dunphy home may be missing its matriarch and patriarch, but the kids are up to their usual antics. Luke needs a ride to go meet his newest girlfriend, and his sisters have discovered that, much to their dismay, he has decided to stop seeing his current girlfriend, Rose. So Haley and Alex decide that they’ll break up with her for Luke, by sending her an “It’s over” text message. But what they don’t expect is that she’ll respond sassily back to them. So the girls declare war.

Back at the baby shower, Sal has mysteriously ducked out, taking her car, but leaving … her baby? Guess she has not abandoned her old party ways, but chose them over her own child. And she left a note apologizing for ducking out but saying that it was too hard to stay. Mitch and Cam don’t know what to do with her son, but Cam thinks that it may be the answer that they are looking for, since having one child already has softened Mitch from the hard-shelled cynic that he used to … never mind. But Cam does see this child as a heavenly gift, citing Jesus, Moses, and Abraham, and noting that God seems to like working in “crazy baby ways.”

On the plane, Claire is glad to be relaxing in first class, a cocktail in her hand, and a confident, seemingly perfect new friend in the seat next to her. But things turn ugly fast when she realizes that the woman beside her is a power-hungry racist that she’ll be trapped with the whole flight. And Phil, in coach, is having the time of his life. He’s sandwiched between a professional magician, Edward LeGrand (Penn Jillette), and a professional masseuse. He’s in heaven with his solo magic show and shoulder massage—until Claire finds out that he’s thrilled in coach while she is miserable in first class. So, once again proving that he is one of the most endearing characters on television, Phil decides to switch places with her on the flight—opting to relieve Claire of her psycho seatmate and sacrifice his own happiness.

Back at home, Gloria forces Jay to teach Manny how to fist-fight, but refuses to let Manny know that she is behind his new warrior lessons. Yet the whole plan backfires when he gets to cooking class, punches his bully, then realizes that the kid baked him an apology pie after realizing that he was lashing out as a result of his parents’ impending divorce. Manny and Jay both feel horrible about the whole thing and Jay spills the beans, telling Manny that Gloria was really the one encouraging him to fight. The two guys go home and tell Gloria that there really is a bully in their life. Her. She laughs in their faces and sends them out for pizza, in one of the best Gloria-Jay-Manny scenes thus far.

At the same time, Mitch, Cam, Pepper, and Ronaldo are embroiled in a fight over who will get to keep and raise the baby. The latter couple even has a cute little name picked out, and grand plans to let him grow up playing with the servants! How precious! But their plan is foiled when—gasp!—Sal returns and tells them that she never abandoned her baby. She just left him behind to go talk to his father, a player on the Blackhawks. But she is freaking out about raising a child on her own, until all four guys tell her that she’s not alone: She has all of them to share as the baby’s father.

Luke, though, hasn’t had so much luck. His ex-girlfriend forwarded the text to his new girlfriend, and she’s not too happy. But don’t worry—he has Haley and Alex on his side. Until they read the text. And realize they love this new girl and vow to win her back, even if Luke has already given up.

The episode was classic Modern Family, with four simultaneous crazy antics for the Pritchett-Dunphy clan to take part in. Which leaves a pretty high bar for the first-of-its-kind episode, airing on Feb. 25, that is shot entirely on Claire’s computer screen.

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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