Modern Family occasionally has a good guest star. I mean, it’s no The Muppet Show, but this week, it came awfully close. Workaholic’s Adam Devine, Frasier’s Peri Gilpin, Nathan Lane, and Fred Willard jam-packed the night’s episode, “The Help.” I actually kind of wish they were in different episodes, just so we could savor each one individually, but alas, they’re all in this together. Will High School Musical ever go away? Not while I’m around.
Gloria keeps firing nannies, mainly due to Manny’s flirting endeavors. When he asked a nanny what she was doing for dinner, Gloria had to step in: “You’re eating Dino-Bites because you’re a little boy.” Do old ladies work as nannies anymore? I feel like they could use a Mrs. Doubtfire, but one who actually is a woman. Gloria meets a manny (a male nanny), Andy (Adam DeVine), at the playground. He loves kids and jokes, and let’s face it: we’re still in love with those Pitch Perfect riffs with Rebel Wilson. Manny and Jay meet Andy, the manny. Manny: “Am I being replaced?” Jay and Manny veto Andy after it becomes clear that he’s on a mission of health, which makes sense. I mean, could you imagine Manny without five scoops of sugar in his morning espresso? I shudder to think of those consequences. Andy leaves without a job.
Mitchell and Cam can’t decide the wedding details, so they hire a coordinator: Pepper! Pepper (Nathan Lane) brings rough honesty. Pepper: “Let’s lose this couch.” Mitchell: “You need that much space?!” Pepper: “No, it’s hideous. This can’t be news.” I always hated that couch, too, Pepper. Unfortunately, Pepper has been a very sought after planner recently, and he’s running out of ideas. After Cam and Mitchell say no to purple top hats and riding down the aisle on a unicorn, Pepper storms out. Surely there’s a YouTube video that’s a compilation of the times Pepper has stormed out. If it’s out there, it’s too long to watch. Seriously, why didn’t Pepper just call them “party poopers” like Martin Short in Father of the Bride: “Every party has a pooper that’s why we invited you, George Banks.” Pepper’s assistant, Ronaldo, begs the couple not to fire Pepper, but when he tells Cam and Mitchell his own ideas, they want to hire him instead.
Meanwhile in the Dunphy house, Phil’s dad, Frank (Fred Willard) is in town for a week and is severely depressed at his recent break-up. Claire thinks he needs a therapist, but Jay knows what Frank needs: a night out for the three boys. Phil: “Yay, a threeway!” Jay: “I regret this already.” Jay, Phil, and Frank go out. I could of used some Bee Gees in the background here. No? It’s just me then. Frank lets a lady friend sleepover, but there’s “a bit of a situation.” She’s a hooker. Yikes! I love how no one is worried about the health implications of this. STDs and STIs, anyone? Bueller? Claire gets home and Phil tells her that the woman in the kitchen, the prostitute (Peri Gilpin), is a therapist for Frank. Claire meets her: “I have always wanted to do what you do. I think I could be really good at it.”
Alex and Haley come into the kitchen fighting, and the hooker says, “You two remind me of me and my sister… I used to accuse her of stealing my boyfriend and she would accuse me of trying to stab her. You know, sister stuff.” Claire realizes she is not a therapist. Claire confronts Frank and Phil. Frank realizes he’s in love with the woman he left at home. I’d love to be that woman: “Oh, so sleeping with a prostitute made you realize you love me. Gee, am I lucky to have you.” No more “ladies of the night” will be coming to the Dunphy house, or at least that’s what I’m hoping.
Back at Cam and Mitchell’s, Ronaldo comes back with stunning ideas; he left Pepper. Pepper comes crying to Mitchell and Cam about Ronaldo leaving him. He’s been so stressed out. Mitchell: “You’ve been through the Mill, Pepper. Heard it.” Pepper and Ronaldo confront each other. Turns out, Ronaldo is in love with Pepper. They make up. Pepper goes back to planning the wedding with Ronaldo, sans unicorn.
When Jay forgets a towel in the shower, he’s surprised to have Andy, the manny, bring one to him. Gloria hired him, but Manny and Jay want him to go. Andy realizes he came on too strong, something his dad warned him about right before he died when Andy was fourteen: “He said his disease couldn’t be all bad if it rhymed with answer.” Jay feels bad. Gloria gets mad. I like to rhyme, all of the time. Andy gets Gloria to stop yelling, which is nothing short of a miracle. Jay says he can stay. “This is the start of something new!” What did I tell you? High School Musical is here to stay.
This was a decent episode, but here’s the thing: it should have been much funnier. I mean, you read the guest stars listed at the beginning of this article, didn’t you? No? Scroll up quickly and come right back. Incredible folks, right? Yet, it was just okay, which leads me to a dangerous conclusion. In this episode, we had a unicorn and a hooker and a cancer joke all in the same half-hour period. Is that a bit too much? Did Modern family jump the shark here? I certainly hope not. I hope that next week’s episode is utterly charming and completely hilarious, but that should have been tonight’s episode. But it wasn’t. It was minutely charming and pretty amusing, and that has me worried.
Hilary Miller is currently an MFA student in Screenwriting at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. When not not watching, writing, or talking about movies and television shows, she can usually be found making crock-pot creations, laughing, talking too loud, running, devouring a good book, eating, racking up cellular bills chatting with her bomb family, sticking her toes in the sand, or wishing she were Hermione Granger, sometimes all at once. And while part of her heart is still in Indiana, the rest of it belongs to her puppy, Estelle Getty.