'Modern Family' Lesson of the Week: Nothing To Fear...



Lesson of the Week: When in doubt, take three deep breaths and hope for the best.

Last night's episode, "Fears," began with Modern Family's cryptic documentarian posing a question to our favorite family: What are you most afraid of?

Phil: "That I'm too much of a perfectionist."
Claire: "Honey this isn't a job interview."
"Oh, man..." Phil groans, then turns to the camera and asserts, "Job interviews."

Phil was on fire this episode, but the rest of the clan wasn't far behind in comic genius either. Haley was almost paralyzed by the prospect of failing her third driving test (and Claire was scared just by the notion of having to drive Haley and her, like, totally awesome friends around for three more months). Alex masked the normal middle school anxiety about school dances by playing the "I'm smart, and boys are stupid and shallow" card. Meanwhile, Manny's desire to skip a friend's party because of his fear of roller coasters has Gloria in a pickle:

"I don't know where he gets his fear from, because his father's not afraid of anything! No bulls, no heights, no helicopters, no fast cars—"
"But go to dinner with him and wait for the check to come, then you'll see fear in his eyes. Like the waiter's a ghost," Jay makes sure to point out.

The funniest setups by far were Phil and Luke's attempt to look for treasure underneath the house, and Cam and Mitchell's dinner party with Lily's doctor (played by the hilarious Suzy Nakamura). Phil tries to maintain his "cool" factor in front of Luke, hiding his fear of the creepy-crawly creatures that lurk beneath the house, and it's almost too much for words:

After the incredibly painfully awkward first meeting with Lily's doctor, Dr. Miura ("...a very nice Asian lady"—"Irrelevant," Mitchell interrupts Cam), the couple invites her over for brunch. All's well and good until Lily utters her first word while in the lap of their guest:

Mitchell: Well, her first word was every gay father's nightmare
Cam: Mommy.

Mitch and Cam play the line between comical and genuinely sad and heartfelt to a T. On the one hand, Cam goes to town with their insecurities about not being a traditional parent couple, asking whether they can "ignore the giant panda in the room." And while the Asian stereotype jokes start to fly from there (ending in an epic exit from the driveway by Dr. Miuri), the fear of not being able to offer what a mother can is very palpable, making the ending scene one of the most touching discoveries all season:

Presented by

Aylin Zafar is a freelance writer based in New York.

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that affects children. Could marijuana oils alleviate their seizures?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy


A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.


Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.


A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.


'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Entertainment

Just In