'Modern Family': A Very Awkward Valentine's Day



It's been a year since Modern Family viewers first met Clive Bixby and his mistress Juliana, and their return wasn't a moment too soon. One of the best bits of Modern Family's first season was Phil and Claire's painfully awkward attempt at role-playing and seduction during last year's Valentine's Day episode—which ended in Gloria having to help free Claire from a particularly embarrassing and risqué situation getting her coat caught in the escalator. This year's attempt at recreating the-night-that-never was ends in similar (and perhaps even more horrifying) fashion. Of course, the rest of the couples have their own tiffs and problems: Cam and Mitchell argue over which of them Mitchell's assistant has a crush on, Jay and Gloria are back to scheming, and Manny continues to learn that emotional maturity and being a good guy isn't valued by women until much, much later. This week's lessons:

Someone always "wins" Valentine's Day. As always, everything is a scheme and a game with Gloria and Jay. Jay has an elaborate five-course meal he's arranged at their home, hoping to surprise Gloria after their reservation at the hot restaurant du jour, Ibiza, falls through. For Jay, the fun lies in making her "look like a big idiot" after making her frustrated and angry with his incompetence and then surprising her with a romantic night. This is something that an alarming number of guys find hilarious and think is a good idea. Note to men: don't do this.

At the restaurant, Jay instructs the host: "Here's 50 bucks, do NOT give us a table...You must also refuse my wife—she is very persuasive." Gloria is sent reeling into anger after they're forced to surrender their table at Ibiza to the Cameron and Mitchell, the real Pritchett reservation. However, little does Jay know that Gloria is the kind of woman to have some tricks of her own.

There's no denying the power of a Say Anything moment. Manny did his best in attempting to woo Haley: building her confidence and asserting her power as an independent woman, free from the hold of her new boyfriend David and the memory of Dylan. Just as we start cursing the name of this new "David" character, our favorite romantic, clueless sap Dylan drives up with a full band in tow to save the day with only the most tender, original song he could think to compose for Haley: "Imagine Me Naked."

Role-playing isn't easy. Everything about this scene between Clive Bixby and Juliana is perfection—Phil and Claire take awkward to a new level with their reprise of last year's hotel bar seduction.

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Aylin Zafar is a freelance writer based in New York.

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