modern family recapping: express christmas

Sitting Poolside

This was an unusual episode from the get go. First, it was the Christmas episode, yet they were all sunbathing by the pool. Not exactly a typical start to a Christmas episode. We quickly learn that it’s not actually Christmas but the family is not going to be able to spend Christmas together. Phil proposes an “express Christmas” which basically means everyone is going to run around like mad to throw together a last minute Christmas celebration. Sounds entertaining to me, I’m in.

So the group starts assigning tasks:

  • Claire and Haley handle gift shopping
  • Jay and Cam are in charge of wrapping gifts
  • Luke and Gloria have to get the angel from the attic
  • Phil and Manny get the food
  • Mitchell, Alex, and Lily get the tree

Once everyone finishes their task they’ll meet back at Phil and Claire’s for the celebration. The pairs are noticeably odd but it works.

Claire and Haley set off to Target, where there is a sweet product placement moment, wonder how much Target paid for that? Haley is overwhelmed at first, because the place is so big and the list is so long but Claire pulls her together and tells her this is what her years of training have led to. Haley takes the inspiration and goes with it, sniffing out the first item on the list like a champ. Of course things get complicated when Haley is sent to get the last item on the list and the last ladybug lamp in the store gets taken by some guy. Haley’s initial thought is to use what her Mama gave her to get it back, until he talks on the phone and it becomes clear he’s gay. With that idea out the window Haley has to get resourceful. A Target employee walks by and Haley follows him. While Claire is stalling at the checkout by buying packs of gum Haley comes up in a target shirt and gives Claire the lady bug lamp. I guess all of Haley’s training really paid off.

Gift Giving

Jay and Cam are gift wrapping with Cam’s mobile wrapping station (he would have one of those) and Cam notices how much tape Jay puts on his gifts. Cam insinuates that the amount of tape Jay uses is also a metaphor for not letting anyone in. Cam though, ever the pusher, decides to give Jay his gift a little early. Jay opens it to find a cork, which, Cam tells him, was from the wine they drank during the first football game they watched together. Ridiculous. Cam of course gets upset that Jay doesn’t remember. Jay explains that he’s just not that kind of guy. Cam says he just needs time for his wound to heal and walks away with his mobile wrapping station and his dignity.

Fixing the Angel

Gloria is afraid of the spiders in the attic, so Luke is helping her find the Angel. Gloria guides him through the attic, telling him to stay on the beams, while she stays on the ladder in case she has to make a quick escape from the spiders. While telling him to look out, Luke misunderstands her, steps off the beams and his foot goes through the ceiling. Luke explains because when she says “Luke” and “Look” it sounds the same. Gloria doesn’t hear it, until she says “Luke Look” and then she hears it. Luke is relieved. On their way to the Dunphy house, Gloria runs over a Christmas Tree and tells Luke not to look back. Then while looking at the Angel Gloria sees a spider on it and throws it out the window.

Phil and Manny have all the food, but Phil needs to make a shady stop to pick up a gift for Jay.  Manny, newly worried about kidnapping, is freaking out a bit. But Phil explains this is how Craigslist works, because Craigslist isn’t shady at all. In the negotiation and confusion Manny hits Phil with the taser and the seller get their turkey. Phil also manages to ruin the baseball card he just bought Jay with taser-induced hand spasms that crush the card.

Angel, Mitchell, Alex, Jay

Mitchell and Alex work well together and honestly I think they were my favorite team. Both Mitchell and Alex are pretty particular about the kind of tree they want and they agree they it needs to be a Douglas fir, over eight feet tall, with no bald patches. A man working there suggests they might like what’s behind him, which is a tree that’s been spray painted pink. Alex goes off on him, calling him a knuckle-dragger. And the man corrects her by saying he was talking about the truck full of Douglas firs that was being unloaded behind the tacky pink tree.   They take the tree behind them and thank their lucky stars that they’ll never have to return, until Mitchell stops short, the tree goes flying off the roof and Gloria runs it over.


When everyone reconvenes at the Dunphy House, Cam isn’t speaking to Jay, the Angel is broken, the tree is in pieces, and there is no Turkey. Everyone feels a bit defeated and they’re no longer prepared to celebrate Christmas. Jay suggests that they all have a Jewish Christmas and go out for Chinese food. When they walk outside there is a man blowing snow onto the Dunphy’s house. Jay has surprised them all with snowfall. Everyone is delighted and plays in the snow.

Best Quotes:

Alex: Okay just because my uncle is clearly gay, doesn’t mean he’d ever want your tacky pink tree. And frankly, we’d rather throw some lights on our coat rack than have to deal with knuckledraggers like you, today of all days…December 16th. (It’s rare that Alex has a memorable moment, let alone quote, I’m glad the writers are giving her some good material).

Claire: Listen to me, your whole life has led to this moment. All the training, the hours of dedication, there’s not a soul alive that can touch you when it comes to shopping and baby you know it. Look at me, be you!
Gloria: Luke!
Luke: At what?
Gloria: What do you mean at what? I said Luke.
Luke: I am looking!

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One thought on “modern family recapping: express christmas

  1. […] Previously on Modern Family: Express Christmas […]

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