Thanksgiving Lessons From 'Modern Family'



In lieu of a traditional Thanksgiving-themed episode with a big family gathering and a big lesson, this week's Modern Family focused on life's tricky little situations. Cam's mother—Mother Tucker—comes to visit, and Mitchell finds that she gets a little too close for comfort; Haley breaks up with Dylan (!!), Gloria thinks WebMD is ruining Jay's health, and Phil changes his name to P-Daddy (or Vitamin P, if you prefer).

This week's lessons:

Don't underestimate the emotional damage of The Text Message. When Haley and her new tutor start making out, Claire jumps at the chance to get the perpetually dazed-and-confused Dylan out of the picture. She pushes Haley to break up with him, much to Phil's dismay; he warns Haley to at least handle the breakup carefully and be wary of breaking Dylan's heart, and shares his own story of heartbreak, being dumped by the "varsity water polo girl" in high school. No sooner is he finished with his story when Haley dryly informs her parents that she and Dylan are finished:

Haley: It's done. We broke up.
Phil: What?!
Haley: I texted Dylan. It's over.
[Haley's phone gets a text message alert.]

"I bet that's him!" Phil says as he snatches the phone, reads the message and holds it out in indignation for Claire to see. "Sad face emoticon! You can hear the hurt through the phone!" he yells as he storms off.

If you're trying to get your partner to see that his mother's touchy-feely nature is out of line, it's probably best not to ask her to touch your fanny with her "magic fingers." Cam's mom Barb has been particularly handsy with Mitchell throughout the years, and her interactions with him grow more and more inappropriate throughout the show. Tired of the kissing, butt-grabbing, and massaging, Mitch decides to try to show Cam exactly how friendly his mother is by having him catch her in the act. When his attempts at having Barb strike at the right moment fail, he makes up a story about a knot in his rear that needs to be worked out, asking her to put her magic fingers all over his "fanny."

Cam is nearly in tears as he confronts Mitchell about his behavior, asking him to identify where Barb has touched him using Lily's doll. Mitch and her later have a conversation smoothing things over, but it's only five seconds later that she's back at it again, fishing for her necklace in the tub in which he's bathing.

Sometimes it's okay to trust our Web-induced health-related paranoia. Manny turns to a health diagnosis website after Jay complains of stomach pains. Gloria, however, doesn't believe in doctors and hospital visits, let alone "crazy doctor websites." As Jay's condition worsens, he sneaks behind Gloria's back to ask Manny to investigate his symptoms further. Gloria—the woman who pops her own dislocated shoulder back into place—finds them and yells, saying it's all a self-fulfilling prophecy. Jay sneaks out to the hospital and Gloria and Manny get there in time to find out that Jay is about to go into surgery for appendicitis. A hysterical Gloria screams that she is responsible for almost killing Jay, yelling, "I will never forget you, Jay!!" as he's wheeled off.

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Aylin Zafar is a freelance writer based in New York.

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