Modern Family Recap: “Leap Day”

Last night was Leap Day on Modern Family! And also everywhere, except I guess in New Zealand or other places where it’s already tomorrow.

Cam’s a Leap Kid, which means that Mitchell is charged with planning his 10th birthday party (or 40th, depending whom you ask). Mitch handles most of Cam’s overbearing directions like a pro, until he remembers that a Wizard of Oz-themed party might not be the most sensitive choice after Cam’s family just suffered a real-life tornado. By the way, I loved that in her one scene, Lily took on the role of Mitch and Cam’s marriage counselor/judgmental observer. “Wow.”

Mitch throws together a last-minute boat party that falls apart when Jay picks a fight with the captain. After Gloria was disappointed that he didn’t throw down with a Dutchman at a sports bar, he’s trying to assert his manliness. All that happens, though, is that the party is ruined. OR IS IT?

Meanwhile, here’s a character trait that should surprise no one: Phil’s really into Leap Day! But his plans to become a family of trapeze artists during their “special bonus day” are dashed by the menstrual cycle of the Dunphy ladies.

I was conflicted about this story. It was definitely funny and relatable – everyone knows what it’s like when that day of the month happens to fall on a day you had big trapezing plans. But did we really have to portray Claire, Alex and Haley as irrational shrieking harpies and repeatedly call them “monsters”? (If anyone accuses me of being oversensitive because I’m sync’ed up with the Dunphys, I will end you.) The story does ultimately redeem itself, both with the shot of Luke COVERED in fake blood and with the Dunphy women using their monthly ferocity to stick up for Phil’s right to trapeze.

Because, yes, they do eventually make it to the carnival. When Mitch realizes that Cam’s worries about the party were really about turning 40, so he provides the 10th birthday party of Cam’s dreams. Not only does the trip to the amusement part let Cam feel like a kid again, it also gives the Dunphys a way to be good to each other without actually talking about periods. And that’s what Leap Day’s all about.

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