I love it when sitcoms go scary. I’m not just talking about classic Halloween episodes (hello, Roseanne!) but quasi-suspenseful sitcom plots. ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ managed to do it a couple of times, including an outing that turned out to be a haunting prelude to reality TV. And now ‘Modern Family’ has done it too, with an outing including a haunted house plot that is suspenseful not because of actual scares, but because the viewer wonders when Phil while be “got” by Claire.
That plotline is simple enough: Claire gets POed when Phil says she isn’t scary (with the exception of his quip, “You’re the kind of person who can be twice as scary without wearing any makeup.”). When he must host an Open House on Halloween in a large home that looks right out of ‘The Haunting,’ Claire makes it her mission to get Phil’s scaredy-goat.
Phil misses a lot of her attempts to frighten him, but when the silence gets to him, she triumphs when he’s most vulnerable (hello, man-scream).
Gloria, meanwhile, is mad in a different way. Pregnancy is apparently making her a “hothead,” as Manny says. She flips out over various things, including a party goer who says her green antenna garb makes her look like an “illegal alien.” Jay, meanwhile, thinks he’s lost his touch after he can’t persuade a female police officer to forget a speeding ticket.
Cam and Mitchell have the silliest plot, with Lily believing her biological mother is a princess because Mitchell told her so in a sleep-induced haze. She spends the entire costume party seeking out her mother. Lily can be cute, but I kind of miss the days when she would merely give a vague stare instead of actually talking.
Here are some memorable quotes, courtesy of ABC:
Manny: "Lately you've been such a hothead."
Gloria: "I am not a hothead! I am Colombian! We get excited. My country is covered in coffee!"
Mitchell: "Hey, Cam. I'm hearing rumor that you keep flashing our guests."
Cameron: "Oh, well not in a perverted way. I just want people to my body under this stupid costume."
Mitchell: "That's very close to what actual flashers say."
Claire (on scaring a man into having a heart attack last Halloween): "That man had a pre-existing condition."
Alex: "Yeah, as a healthy 35-year-old."
Phil: "She's kidding, Claire."
Alex: "No, I'm not. I'm never kidding."