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Modern Family - What's Next - Review: "The Golden Apple"

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What’s next? Such a loaded question and the issue we’re tackling this week on Modern Family for many of our characters. While much of this season has focused on the “what’s next” for characters like Haley (for the better) and her impending twins – this week, that what’s next focuses a lot on the vocations of the adult family members.

It’s the center of the “A” story this week, as Cam is literally delivering a presentation titled just that to the seniors at his high school. Well, technically the presentation titled “Whanext” since Cam’s sign maker couldn’t understand Cam while he was ordering thanks to a candy bar in his mouth. Cam finds himself in a difficult position because he believes in the idea that there are multiple valid paths for a senior once they leave high school, but Principal Brown (the always delightful and welcome guest star Andy Daly) is worried about his own job and is demanding that Cam focus only on college to get his college acceptance %s higher.

Having recently been given the Interim Vice Principal position at the school and wanting to make it permanent, Cam feels obliged to do what Principal Brown wants. Especially when Mitch advises him to do just that as he himself gave into his boss by baking 100 cupcakes for his son’s birthday in hopes of landing a big case.

At the presentation, Cam brings out his nieces and nephews – Alex and Manny as examples of going straight to college, Luke as an example of taking a gap year, and Haley as an example of I guess being pregnant and living in your parent’s house in your 20’s. Per Mitch’s advice, Cam emphasizes Alex and Manny’s successful college endeavors at first…until Mitch calls him in the middle of the presentation. Turns out, Mitch’s boss already gave the big case to someone else while Mitch is toiling away on the cupcakes. Frustrated, Mitch tells Cam that he should “talk up the dummies” to go after Principal Brown’s job (Cam would finally get to pick the prom theme!)

With the tables turned, Cam puts down Alex and Manny’s aspirations and glorifies Haley’s pregnancy…much to the dismay of Principal Brown. With the presentation over, Mitch arrives and reveals that it turns out that his boss never wanted him to bake the cupcakes…he wanted him to pick a baker. And he only gave the other lawyer that case because he was giving an even bigger case to Mitch! “Don’t play games,” Mitch advises – a little too late for Cam, though as Principal Baker can tell Cam might be trying to get his job by lowering the graduation percentages. With Cam thinking he would be out of a job, Mitch jumps on the grenade admitting it was all his idea. Seeing that Cam was a “worm” or a “push over” who was so easily able to be persuaded, Principal Brown realizes Cam is just the kind of Vice Principal he would want and gives Cam the full time job (the Golden Apple!) – just as soon as he goes back out and tells all the kids to go to college.

For Cam, “What’s next” is another new job within the high school – Vice Principal.

Meanwhile, for Jay, what’s next is coming to grips with his place at the company he used to own. It’s a bit of a stale storyline overall, as it mainly focuses on Jay being out of touch with both people and technology. He can’t figure out how to use the computer/Skype for a conference call and doesn’t understand the smart technology of their new Smart Closets (now voiced by Claire instead of Christopher Walken). A trip to his company’s old headquarters and interacting with some of the warehouse workers makes Jay realize that he needs to be more like he used to be and start interacting with people and building relationships. It’s a fine sentiment but one I feel that we’ve seen over and over again for Jay.

While overall, the Jay/Claire plot this week is weak – it did give us a couple good bits where both Jay and Phil think they are talking to Claire instead of the Claire-voiced Smart Closet (with Phil mistakenly thinking Claire is coming onto him at the end of the episode perhaps being the biggest laugh of the night).

Our final character who is answering the question “What’s next” is Gloria. This week, Gloria is paired with Phil as they take Joe out to prepare for a magic act Joe is doing for school. At least, that’s what Gloria wants Phil to think. The truth is, Gloria is missing her modeling days and knew that the mall was holding auditions for a family to be the “face” of the mall. She knew Jay wouldn’t go for it and knew she could talk Phil into it. Using it as a way to help Joe’s confidence, Phil agrees. But when Gloria tries to be “too sexy” for the promotional work both she and Joe get subbed in for another child and…another dad, trying out two dads. But it still wasn’t working for the photographers – “Should we try kissing,” Phil asks as he tries to hang on to his chance of having his face all over the mall. In the end, Joe ends up being just right for the gig…with two different adults playing his parents.

Afterwards, Gloria opens up to Phil about missing her days in modeling but a pep talk from Phil ensures her she is just as beautiful and capable as she was back then. This somehow inspires her to enroll in Phil’s realtor class at the community college. So for Gloria, her what next…is becoming a realtor?

Random Thoughts:
-The Mitch & Cam plot was by far the best this week while the Jay/Claire and Phil/Gloria plots fizzled out. I don’t mind putting our characters on new paths (Haley, for instance, has been well done) – but so many times they have done similar things (Phil’s magic shop among others) to only have it be forgotten about or swapped out again after a very short amount of time. I am sure Jay, for one, will be back to his old self next week.

-Not sure why Phil is so enamored with having his face in the mall posters – his face is literally all over town for his realtor ads.

-Nice to see them find a way to work all four kid…er..young adults into the same episode.

-I am a little afraid to google to see if a “Golden Apple” is a real thing.

-Seriously though, Andy Daly is always welcome on any show…ever.

-“Studying is the new smoking” – Cam

-“Someone’s panties are in a bunch.” – Claire
“May I offer you a different pair?” – Claire’s voice via Smart Closet
“Okay, that’s a little creepy.” – Claire

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