“Modern Family” episode review: Open House of Horrors

Grade: B-

“You’re the kind of person who can be twice as scary without wearing any make-up” –Phil

Every year, “Modern Family” has delivered a notable Halloween episode and this season’s certainly followed that pattern.

After an incident the previous year when Claire’s scare-tactics actually gave the father of some trick-or-treaters a heart-attack, she opted for more “family-friendly” decorations this Halloween. Rather than the traditional haunted house appearance, the Dunphy home had giant lollipops in the yard and Claire dressed as Little Bo Beep, quite a contrast from her usual frightening costume. Despite this, families were obviously avoiding the house from past experience, and it was entertaining to watch Claire becoming so frustrated because of it.

As a result, she endeavored to scare Phil who was busy attempting to sell a house. She was unsuccessful at first, but eventually concocted a clever idea to freak him out by messing with the lights and tv. To make it more convincing, she also called Phil home (or so he believed) in order to make it seem that the house was haunted and that she wasn’t the one making things seem strange. I was highly impressed with the details of her prank which made the execution of it run so smoothly.

In another storyline, Gloria and Jay were dealing with their own personal issues. Gloria had realized she had become a hot-head during her pregnancy and Jay was beginning to feel insecure about being undesirable after his attempts to flirt his way out of a ticket were unsuccessful. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t much of a tie to Halloween other than the fact that their issues were essentially resolved at the Halloween party. Gloria was able to chase after some rude teenage boys with eggs, allowing her to blow off steam, and Jay was hilariously hit on by a transvestite, which he was clueless about.

Meanwhile, Manny was dealing with the after-math of accidentally setting off the fire alarm at school, which suddenly included being deemed “cool” by the guy that used to bully him. One of my favorite scenes was during trick-or-treating when Luke (dressed up as a devil) and their friend (dressed as an Angels player) were whispering comments behind Manny’s shoulders, trying to get him to pick sides.

The last storyline revolved around Cam and Mitchell’s Halloween. After an exhausted Mitchell lied and told Lilly that her mother was a princess, she refused to wear any other costume. It wasn’t until her amusing encounter with the princess transvestite that he finally told her the truth and she changed into something else. Cam was simultaneously dealing with his own costume issues. After losing a significant amount of weight, he was determined to show off his body at the party, but because a mix-up left him with a bulky bull costume, Cam was essentially flashing people to display his new figure. The fact that Mitchell got embarrassed and had to tell him to stop was priceless.

One thing that I would liked to have seen in this episode was Haley celebrating Halloween at college, and I was disappointed that we didn’t see her at all.

Overall, while not necessarily as thrilling as previous Halloween episodes, this year’s was still memorable.


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