'Modern Family' Steals from 'Arrested Development'

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To really know someone is to know their family, and while we have been privileged enough to understand part of the Dunphy crew, we've been missing out on a key piece to the puzzle: Phil's dad. Last night's episode of Modern Family brought back Fred Willard in full effect, and in turn brought us as viewers closer to Phil. Read on for this week's key lessons:

Just because your father "crank calls" you "like, three times a week" doesn't mean you have a close relationship. Phil's father shows up and surprises the family with an adorable fluffy dog, much to the chagrin of Claire. While storming outside in a huff, she discovers Willard's character crying in his RV and suspects trouble between him and Phil's mother. Phil, of course, is in denial that anything could be wrong between the two, and even more adamant that his father would tell him if something was, since the two are so close.



Agism will always be the most inescapable form of discrimination in society. After Dylan—whose dazed, clueless, but well-meaning performance is always a treat—discovers that his drummer has to move back to Portland because his parents got back together ("Ugh, that sucks," Haley sympathizes), Cameron offers up his musical talents. Dylan seems hesitant, gently saying "I'm just not sure we like the same sorts of music," to which Cameron indignantly replies, "Oh, what, because I'm gay I'm just going to want to play showtunes?"

Dylan: "No, because you're old."
Cam: "Well, that hurt more, Dylan."

But lest anyone ever doubt Cam's skills at anything—be it football or dancing at daycare—they would be wise to burn this scene into their memory:



Maybe it's not such a good idea to invite the star of a horror movie to your home late at night to talk to your son. The Jay/Manny plot line fell a little flat this week, and seemed to be borrowing directly from an Arrested Development episode (J. Walter Weatherman, anyone?)—but only a quarter as funny. After seeing Mitch's old drama classmate at the dentist's office and learning he's now a big movie star, Jay dragged Manny to see the film during school hours. The movie, of course, turns out to be an entirely inappropriate slasher film, which drives our soft-hearted, pure Manny into near hysterics. Jay's attempt to ease the situation is well-intentioned, but ultimately misses the mark.

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Aylin Zafar is a freelance writer based in New York.

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