This week, Modern Family went back to its roots, hitting the stride of its always-hilarious first season.

At the Prichard homestead, an annoying dog is pestering Manny and Gloria. As it turns out, their neighbor is dealing with his ex-wife’s old, stupid dog. The dog goes missing, and the neighbor blames Gloria and Jay. That might not be too far off-- Gloria comes from a family of butchers, and well, she doesn’t mind getting a little blood on her hands. Jay, meanwhile, probes Manny for Intel on the dog situation. He convinces Manny that Gloria may have actually have harmed the dog, and they go on a bit of a fact finding mission-- which paints Gloria as a bit of a maniac. Worry not; the fiery matriarch merely took the dog to a “better place” on a “farm.” No, really. Everything worked out. The dog is with a family and has space to roam, and the family gained a jar of pickles in the deal. It’s a win-win.

All of Lily’s friends were in pre-school, after the play group moms staged a coup to get their kid into the school early. Called Claire to check on pre-school, they get an interview set up at her kids’ preschool. They think they are in for a tough road in the interview process, until the pre school worker points out that they are a triple threat, in terms of diversity. They get into the Claire’s school that Cam has his heart set on, but Mitchell is convinced they should run with their luck and interview at the fancy school. As they saunter through the decadent grounds of Billingsly Academy (“It’s like Hogwarts!”) the two run into their competition, a lesbian couple with an even more diverse background. Scrambling and nervous, (these two? Never!) Cam improvs a Native American role in the meeting, and thus, Lily is destined for the smaller school.

Meanwhile, the Dunphy family has a hard time tearing themselves away from their PDA’s to enjoy a simple breakfast. They’ve got too many gadgets, Claire says, and so she implements a ban on technology for the week. No IM, no phone, nothing. Phil wants to turn it into a game. The Dunphy kids are dropping like flies in the bet-- Alex gets a sub par (B) grade on a paper, and Luke hears about a zany Youtube clip, and the two of them are back at the computer once again. Hayley, however, remains strong. My favorite moment in this scene? Phil’s realization that Hayley had power--“She’s kinda scary.” Scary as she may be, the girl was certainly inventive. With Phil remaining as her only competition, Hayley convinces him she’s used the phone, and cons him into thinking he’s in the clear to surf the web. Not so fast, Dunphy. She carved a phone out of soap and duped the whole family.

This was a solidly hilarious episode, especially after last week’s dud. With so many excellent quotes this week-- especially from Cameron and Mitchell-- it’s almost hard to pick my favorites, but here goes:

“Boobs Laurie, or adult braces Laurie?”-- Cam

“Leave it to the gays to raise the only underachieving Asian in America,”-- Mitchell

“Holy crap, we’ve been Shawshanked.”-- Phil

“You should mention how she always perks up when we watch Charlie Rose.”
“That was one time, and he was interviewing Elmo.”-- Mitchell and Cam

“She left the head out there to send a message to the other rats.”-- Jay

“I’ve learned a few things in my 12 years. Don’t skimp on linens, don’t compliment a teacher on her figure, and when it comes to my mother, don’t ask questions I don’t want to know the answers to.”-- Manny

“Disabled interracial lesbians with an African kicker?”
“Did not see that coming.”-- Mitchell and Cam

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