'Modern Family' Offers Lessons on How to Be a Man

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While grand productions like last week's Halloween episode and weaving storylines that culminate in the whole gang getting together for a family gathering are all good and fun, the real delight of Modern Family lies in the seemingly mundane, everyday moments we all encounter. Who hasn't been driven to insanity by the incessant beeping of a smoke alarm, or doesn't remember counting to three to hang up at the same time as their teenage sweetheart? (Kids: Just hang up. Don't play that game.) This week belonged to our dear Phil, feeling emasculated and a little worried after things slow down at work, but Luke shines as his sidekick. Read on for this week's lessons!

It's the little things. Jay fires one of his employees for letting Manny drive a forklift and drive it through a wall. Manny protests Jay's decision, vowing not to speak to Jay until he hires him back. Through all of this, Jay is trying to remember what super-specific anniversary he's supposed to be celebrating with Gloria that evening (he can rule out the first time she cooked for him, because that's next week) and where he needs to show up to meet her—information that Manny attempts to use as a bargaining tool. Jay holds his own and explains why his tactic won't work.

Our hearts melted and we gasped just a little when Jay said, "Nobody messes with my kid and gets away with it." Two beats later it sinks in for our little one as he turns to Jay and asks, "Did you just call me your kid?" Jay plays it off, but as brief and in-passing as it was, we know what a big step this was in their relationship.

"You can't get back on the horse until you fall off." It's nice to see the always-peppy Phil in more of a vulnerable role; this episode, we see him start to feel the effects of our very real, modern economic reality. After yet another one of his real-estate showings falls through, he eagerly steps up to the plate to take care of a sick Claire and Haley. His feelings of emasculation are most blatantly channeled through his obsession with changing the battery of a chirping phantom smoke alarm: "Changing the battery in a smoke detector is what they teach you in Man 101. So, of course, every time I hear that noise all I hear is, 'Beep beep! You're not a man! Beep beep! You're not a...'" It probably doesn't help that he greets Claire's hunky gym buddy at the door while wearing an apron while making ladyfingers...

Don't let your Vietnamese child participate in a racist "Savezilla" furniture store commercial. Trust us.

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Aylin Zafar is a freelance writer based in New York.

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