Love was in the air for our Modern Family members on this Valentine's Day episode. Cam and Mitchell compete over a crush, Jay tries to plan a surprise for Gloria, and Phil and Claire revive their alter-egos, Clive and Juliana.
The episode opens with Claire and Phil discussing their Valentine's Day plans and referencing the previous year's disaster date when Claire ended up in nothing but a trench coat and her father got an eyeful of her underwear. Phil is gleefully retelling the story using the word "panties" when Claire silences him and scolds him for using that word. I, and I think most of the English-speaking women of the world, have to agree that this word should be redacted from the dictionary. And no, Phil, "underpanties" is not a better alternative.
Cam calls Mitchell at the office to check that he received the flowers he sent. He did not. Cam suspects that Mitchell's assistant, Broderick, has a crush on Mitchell and has been sabotaging Cam's attempts at romance. Mitchell is modestly denying Cam's accusation but acknowledges to the camera that the crush is real.
Claire and Phil are at their V-Day dinner at Ibiza who could only take them at 6:30pm so their fellow diners are of the geriatric set. They're talking about how silly and immature their role-playing idea was the year before and are toasting their love when an old man on a Hoveround plows into Claire's chair. Phil offers to park the man's motorized wheelchair and begins riding around the restaurant in it. Seeing her husband riding through a sea of geezers in a Hoveround leads Claire to shake things up.
She calls Phil on his cell phone from the bar and asks for Clive. Phil promptly tells her she's got the wrong number and hangs up. She calls back and he's about to hang up again, but she breaks character to get his attention, tells him to ditch his wife and meet her at their hotel. Phil tells Claire something has come up and on his way out of the restaurant trips and barrels into another table. Slapstick!
We finally get to Gloria and Jay, who is planning a surprise private Valentine's Day dinner at home but has lured Gloria to a red herring date at Ibiza so that she's out of the way during the setup. He acts like his secretary didn't make a reservation so they have to wait and bribes the maître d to not give them a table. But Gloria somehow finds the name Pritchett on the reservation list and they're in.
At the Dunphys, Haley is babysitting Lily, Luke, Manny, and Alex, who has a date with a boy to watch Love, Actually over the phone. Haley is bummed because her boyfriend, David is studying instead of taking her out on Valentine's Day. Manny plans to use this to his advantage as we've found out he has a crush on Haley. Is this creepy? I know there is no blood relation but isn't he technically her step-uncle or something? Anyway, Manny is playing the caring confidante role, urging Haley not to play games with her current and ex-boyfriend and get in touch with herself. I love when Phil blows into the room for 30 seconds on a mission to find nametags, like he definitely can't pull off Clive without a nametag. Hilarious.
Cameron arrives at the office to pick up Mitchell but Broderick has thrown up another roadblock by "accidentally" scheduling Mitchell for a meeting on Valentine's night. Cam walks away muttering murderous statements to Broderick under his breath but Broderick follows him to the elevator. He asks Cam if he's done something to upset him and Cam confronts him about his attempts to come between the couple. Broderick unexpectedly throws his arms around Cam in the elevator and begs for forgiveness, explaining how hard it is to see someone you want that you can't have. Now Cam is convinced that Broderick's crush is actually on him.
At the hotel bar, Clive and Juliana reunite. Clive, clad in a sexy turtleneck and nametag, enters the bar, grabs Juliana from behind, and kisses her passionately. Then promptly spits a mouthful of her Appletini into a glass. The two go back and forth with their charade, Clive often trying too hard to say sexy thing things that end up sounding foolish, not unlike Phil. Juliana leaves her room key on the bar but Clive accidentally picks up the key of the women sitting next to them. Uh oh! Trouble ahead!
At Ibiza, Jay is trying to figure a way to get Gloria to leave but nothing is working. Until Cam and Mitch arrive and start shooing them out of their seats, the "Pritchett" reservation was for them.
At the hotel, Clive has let himself into the hotel room, undressed and placed rose petals all over the bed and himself. Juliana calls him on the phone and soon figures out that he is in the wrong room. Just at that moment, the woman staying in that room walks in to find Phil as Clive, with roses and champagne, on her bed, in little more than black dress socks.
Cam and Mitchell are having a nice dinner and Cam apologizes for being jealous about Broderick and they agree he does not have a crush on Mitchell. Cam is a little too forceful in his agreement and Mitchell picks up the hint. Cam admits who he thinks Broderick really has a crush on and now the two are arguing over who Broderick actually likes. Cam suggests they call him and Mitch jokes they should just go to his house so he can choose. Cam is ready to do it, but Mitch diffuses the situation and they both seem to be over it, but of course they are not.
At the Pritchetts, Gloria is furious that Jay has planned nothing for Valentine's Day. She won't go in the house so Jay finally has to throw her over his shoulder and bring her in by force. Then he flips on the lights and cries, "Happy Valentine's Day" but there is nothing there. No private chef. No string quartet. An exasperated Gloria walks out, he follows her, and she opens the garage door, where the dinner is set up alongside a motorcycle she's bought Jay. Gloria arranged to have the dinner moved to prove that she is smarter than Jay and so she could "win" Valentine's Day.
Cam and Mitch are about to get out of the car at Broderick's when Mitch receives a text from him apologizing for coming between them and tendering his resignation. They both feel so foolish for not appreciating one another and letting this crush become a competition. But they both still think that they're the one.
Back at the Dunphys, Phil is trying to keep it up as Clive but Claire wants to drop the alter-egos. Phil suggests they just be Claire and Phil and turn their bedroom into a hotel. But the good news is, they keep the deep sexy voices.
Meanwhile Haley is upstairs composing a breakup e-mail to David. She's not sure if she wants to send it, so Manny hits the send button for her. Haley feels good but nervous since she hasn't been single since the age of 9. Manny suggests she wait five or six years before jumping into another relationship. I guess that would be sufficient time for it to not be illegal but not enough time for it to be uncreepy. Faced with the idea of being single for five years sends Haley into a panic. As Manny is calming her down they start to hear music. Haley runs to the window to see her ex, Dylan, has set up a full band serenade on her front lawn. She is re-smitten and runs to him. Everyone ends up happy with their sweetheart in the end. Except Manny.
In the postscript, Cam and Mitch are competing once again to be the object of a crush, this time from a food delivery guy.
A solid episode with some good lines, not sure it topped last year's V-Day episode though! What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know I left out any of the episodes best lines!
My picks for this episode's best lines:
CLAIRE: I know Phil and I are going to grow old together some day. But today is not that day."
MANNY: "She's had the romantic. She's had the intellectual. How 'bout all that in one fine little brown package?"
BRODERICK: Oh did I validate you?
CAMERON: Oh yes.
PHIL: You look hot enough to cook a pizza on. In.
PHIL: I might do some high-risk work for Uncle Sam that takes me clear around the country.
CLAIRE: You could say you're a national man of mystery.
PHIL: I didn't catch what you do. Surprising to know I'm usually pretty good at catching things from women in bars.
CAMERON: He hugged me in the elevator!
MITCHELL: (sarcastically) Well pick out China and move to Vermont.
GLORIA: I am the second wife, Jay, why do you treat me like I am the first?