Despite having not one, not two, but THREE classic sitcom plots, this still managed to be one of the funniest episodes yet. One of the things that's great about Modern Family is that while it has the familiar situational comedy of old shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, things always go in a slightly different direction than you'd expect.
And of course Modern Family has this kid:
"We're not gonna play Good Cop-Mom"
And now to run through the plots. First we have the Dunphy clan: Claire calls in a plumber for some irrelevant reason, and gets locked in the bathroom with said plumber after the earthquake. Unsurprisingly, it's MORE chaotic outside the bathroom, with Alex and Haley running around scheming, Phil trying to cover up his own stupidity, and Luke being, well, Luke. This plot had one of the most giggle worthy moments ever, when Alex interrupts a shouting match between Haley and Claire about being grounded. [I tried to transcribe it, but you just have to see it]. Alex is one of the funniest young characters on tv, now or ever. She's on par with my personal favorite, Maeby Funke. Although Luke had me on the floor with his "I got scared because the cabinet didn't fall down."
"It was the 90's, we'd just lost Princess Di"
My favorite plot this week was Cam-Mitchell's, as they use the earthquake as an excuse to get out of a party held by Pepper Saltzman (Nathan Lane, probably the only actor who's more capable of controlled camp than Eric Stonestreet). Dressed as Oscar Wilde and what appears to be one of the Von Trapp children, Cam and Mitchell concoct a plan, only for Cam to lie so badly that Pepper comes straight over. Nathan Lane was simply fantastic, far funnier than his role as Jack's dad on 30 Rock.
"Some things can't be forgotten. Do you know what menstruation is? Cause I do!"
Sad to report, this was my least favorite of the 3, not that it wasn't good. This fell a little more into predictably sitcom territory, with Manny interrogating Jay about the investigation of heaven, and whether God ever makes mistakes. (Mainly I think I was disappointed about the lack of Gloria). Even this was saved at the end, when Gloria accidentally scares him away from heaven permanently.
Overall, the show hasn't lost any of its humor, but I tend to think that every time they do an episode where the stories lines don't actually overlap, one of the plots always suffers (maybe it's intentional, to allow different actors the chance to be the showcase). Also I miss the bizarre interaction you get when you mix up the families (one of my alltime favorite scenes was when Claire was looking after Manny, and it ends up being a girltalk session) (see also, Manny and Luke rooming together in Hawaii).
Regardless, Modern Family is unmissable.