Modern Family season nine, episode four recap: Sex, Lies & Kickball


Photo Credit: Modern Family/Disney/ABC Press

This week, episode three of Modern Family sees the Pritchett family having to face their own assumptions. Sometimes we can be harshest on those we love, and do we go about repairing those friendships?

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Jay (Ed O’Neill), Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Joe drive through the streets talking. Suddenly, Jay brings the car to a screeching halt. It seems Shorty (Chazz Palminteri) is back from Costa Rica. How could he come back to town and not tell the Pritchetts? Luckily, since Manny’s room is empty now, Shorty can stay with them.

Meanwhile, Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) crouch on the bed. It seems Claire just learned about something called “passion painting.” However, just as they’re about to “get down” on the canvas, Alex (Ariel Winter) calls. Apparently, she’s staying at home tonight. To make matters worse, Ben (Joe Mande) is staying over too. At least he asked his mommy this time…

Later, Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) get the guest room ready. It seems Pepper’s (Nathan Lane) adopted son Lionel is staying with them for the night. As the boy enters, the young boy is quickly turning into a mini-Pepper.

Meanwhile, Phil and Claire enter the kitchen to find an… unexpected surprise. It seems Alex and Ben found the passion painting kit. Yuck. They have to take their daughter down a peg.

At the same time, Jay and Gloria bicker. Shorty is the object of their tension. It seems Gloria is stealing his best friend. Jay wanted to go bowling with Shorty, but she already booked him to go to the theater. She’s turning him into a mini-Manny.

Later, Pepper and Ronaldo (Christian Barillas) enter Mitch and Cam’s place and walk straight into  the tension. It seems neither couple agrees on parenting styles. How could Pepper and Ronaldo force feed Lionel opera at bedtime? Should’t they show him how to be a kid?

It seems the two families are going to play kickball to work out their differences. As they set up in the park, Pepper looks around. Kickball is on grass? “I can barely stand Shakespeare in the park!”. Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) looks to Cam, “This isn’t good for your people.” Later, they enjoy a push-up pop. Pepper looks at the ice-cream in his hand, “I haven’t seen this much artificial color since Ted Turner got his hands on Casablanca.

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However, as the groups talk after the game, the jig is up. Apparently Lionel loves living with Pepper and Ronaldo. He feels bad for Lily. Mitch and Cam look to each other horrified, having completely misread the situation.

Later, Claire prepares to call Alex’s bluff. Phil can barely restrain his nerves as he looks up at his little girl’s painting… hanging over the fireplace. The couples sit down to an uncomfortable dinner. However, the bickering comes to a quick stop as Phil pushes himself up to his feet and looks to the panick stricken Ben. Claire is doing the same thing to the boy that Jay did to Phil all those years ago. He’s not going to let that go on. The moment of clarity snaps Claire out of her tactic and mother and daughter make up. Furthermore, the painting was faked… apparently Ben couldn’t perform.

Next: Modern Family season nine, episode three recap: Catch of the Day

While Jay and Shorty make-up at the theater, Gloria goes to see Manny. She misses her son. She needs a nightly text message, and weekly pictures of his face to see if he’s lying. He quickly points out, he texted his mother yesterday. However, as she leans over to hug him, Manny catches sight of his neighbor giving him a thumbs up. Could his gorgeous mother help his collegiate reputation?

Modern Family airs Wednesday nights on ABC.