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'Modern Family' Season Three, Part I

This column follows the ABC show “Modern Family,” which airs at 9 PDT on Wednesdays. Check here regularly for a synopsis and commentary on each episode.

Author’s note: “Modern Family” is rated TV-PG, so I recommend that each viewer discern for herself whether or not the show is appropriate to watch. For young audiences, parents should determine if the show is acceptable.

Dude Ranch (Ep. 1)

To kick off the season, the Dunphy family decides to take a trip to a Dude Ranch in Wyoming. The family steps off the plane and into their next adventure. Previous to the departure, Haley begs her parents to allow Dylan to also come along, and both Phil and Claire decide to let him go.

Cam and Mitchell decide that they want to adopt a son, but Mitchell feels like he isn’t “boyish” enough to raise a male and teach him all the manly things he would need to know.

At the beginning of the trip, Dylan annoys Claire, which makes her decide to have a talk with him in the hopes that she can change her attitude. During the talk, Dylan takes things the wrong way and assumes that Claire is trying to hit on him, immediately causing Claire to freak out. Dylan then states that if Phil was out of the picture and he wasn’t going out with Haley, he would be honored to accompany her in life.

While Alex is at the pool trying to read, a boy named Timmy tries to get her attention, but she isn’t interested. He keeps pursuing her until he finally kisses her, which is really confusing for Alex. Later on while she’s talking to him, she points out that he stole her first kiss and he proceeds to “give it back.” After that whole event, Alex decides that she really does like him, and she is sad when she the two have to depart.

During one of the nights at the ranch, Dylan starts to propose to Haley, but Claire quickly steps in and calls the whole thing off. Because of her actions, Dylan runs into the woods and becomes lost.

The next morning Haley interrupts breakfast letting everyone know that Dylan hasn’t returned from the night before, and that they need to look for him.

While the group is searching, Luke comes to Mitchell and asks what he should do with a fire cracker he had obtained. Mitchell’s immediate response is to take the explosive away, but he quickly changes his mind after thinking about it. They decide to blow up a bird house that has been driving Mitchell insane.

During the trip, the dude ranch cowboy, Hank, points out that Gloria is a very good rider. Out of the whole family, Phil and Gloria are the best on horses and other “cowboy” things, while her husband Jay is probably the worst. While they are searching, Hank tries hitting on Gloria and she bluntly points out that she would never cheat on her husband.

Because he couldn’t figure out how to lead his horse, Jay comes riding in with Phil, and they defend Gloria in this seemingly awkward situation. They all ride out, with the conversation settled.

As the search for Dylan continues, Claire and Haley have a talk about her maturity. Haley points out that her mom is constantly telling her to act like an adult, yet not letting her make her own decisions. While they keep walking, Haley calls out Dylan’s name, and he comes walking out of the trees.

He explains that when she rejected him, he had a mix of emotions and he finally fell asleep after putting them all to rest. When he woke up, an employer found him and offered him a job at the ranch, which he accepted.

Mitchell followed through with the plan to explode the bird house, which was sort of a revelation for him. He now thinks that he could raise a boy right and be able to teach him everything he needed to know.

As the episode ends, Phil is wrapping up the trip by saying that the family came together like they never have before and that they were now closer than they had been when they first arrived. Alex tells Timmy that they live too far away from each other for a relationship, and proceeds to kiss him again, which is their goodbye.

Overall, this episode was really good. It was very focused on the family, and how they have come closer to one another. I think this was an interesting thing to focus on for the season premier because it sets the tone for the whole season. When the writers focus on the family, there’s more of a background instead of just jumping into the program.

I thought it was really funny when Gloria was yelling at the horse due to her ears still being plugged from the flight. I think we can relate to Alex’s confusion about a relationship because often times, those sorts of things can be confusing.

Also, with Gloria sticking up for herself and saying that she would never cheat on her husband shows good marriage morals, compared to some of the other shows that are on TV. I enjoyed this weeks episode and am looking forward to the next.

When Good Kids Go Bad (Ep. 2)

While shopping at the market, Phil does not pay attention and steps on the back of Claire?s shoe, which causes her irritation. Shortly after this incident, Phil encounters an attractive woman and, while talking to her, Claire falls over a display of canned foods. Phil is not sorry.

Cam and Mitchell are planning on adopting a boy, but decide to keep the information low-key until they tell the family. In order to see how Lily will be with a new sibling, her dads invite a friend over who has a young baby. While the baby is over, Lily gets uncomfortable and pushes the baby while saying ?my daddy.? Cam and Mitchell worry about how Lily will handle a sibling since she clings to Cam and frequently makes bad comments about the baby.

The principal calls Gloria to inform her that Manny stole a girl?s locket, but she thinks that Manny didn?t do it and immediately calls the principal a liar. Since Manny appeared to be jumpy, Jay calls him out. Manny admits that he took the locket, which leads Jay to mandating that he tell his mom.

Both Haley and Alex no longer want to share rooms, as each wants their own separate living space. In order to achieve this, they decided to pretend that they are fighting over the attic so that Luke will take it. Luke claims that he knew what they were doing, but was OK with it since he has been wanting to move for awhile.

Phil doesn?t think that he bumped into Claire while at the market, but she keeps fighting him on it, stating that he did. The entire Dunphy clan does not believe her, but instead argue that she always claims to be right even when she is wrong.

In an attempt to help Lily with the issue of not wanting a sibling, Cam and Mitchell decide that she no longer needs to be coddled by Cam. To do this, Cam no longer picks Lily up from preschool and Mitchell takes her, where she will spend the entire day. While dropping her off, Mitchell learns form the teacher that Lily has a sharing problem. Immediately after this conversation, he realizes that Lily has learned this behavior from him.

Manny tells his mom that he did steal the locket, causing Gloria to get upset since she told the principal he was a liar. Gloria is worried what kids will think of her son since he is already different and being labeled as a thief would only add to the problem. Both Manny and Gloria go to the school to turn Manny in, but, before he can do so, Gloria decides that she will save her son by opening the girl?s locker and tosses in the necklace. They both decide to keep this from Jay.

Luke moves into the attic, but Claire says this is a bad idea because he will hate living up there alone. The girls want her to butt out of it, and then yell at her that she isn?t always right and that Luke may love it up in the attic. Claire gets upset and storms out.

On their way to Cam and Mitchell?s house, Jay asks Manny how it went with the principal, but instead Gloria quickly tries to change the subject to throw Jay off, but Manny looks nervous, causing Jay to ask further questions. Gloria yells at her son to remain quite because she?s got this and doesn?t want him telling Jay the truth.

While at the house, Phil makes a comment about Claire always having to be right, causing her to put on footage from the market to prove that Phil pushed her over. The family cannot believe that she went through all that trouble to prove a point.

Mitchell informs Cam that Lily has an issue with sharing, which immediately causes him to blame Mitchell. After a discussion, Cam does not want to make the announcement about the adoption because he doesn?t feel joyful. While talking in front of the family, Mitchell accidentally slips that they are adopting another child.

After the announcement, Jay states that he is on to Gloria and that Manny has a conscience and will confess about taking the locket. Right after this conversation, Jay gives a toast to Manny about him doing right by his mistake, which makes Manny break down and tell the whole story. Jay becomes ecstatic when he learns that he was right, which makes the family realize where Claire gets it.

That night, Claire goes up to the attic to tell Luke that he doesn?t have to sleep up there, but he tells her that he likes it. Claire tells her son that she would feel better that he came done, Luke doesn?t argue and immediately leaves.

I thought this episode was very good, relating to behaviors and where we get them. Often times I’ve realized some of my actions I got from my parents.

I thought the part when Luke was talking to his mom about sleeping in the attic and he agrees to come back into his room was funny because it shows that he’s trying to be grown up, but he’s still scared. Also, when Manny confessed the truth about the locket it was relatable because when young children have a guilty conscience, things are bound to come out.

I really enjoyed this episode and it’s themes, and I’m looking forward to the next episode and the jokes it brings.

For more information about the previous season check out ‘Modern Family’ commentary, Part II.

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