Hobbies are a shared pleasure that enables people to get over that awful, awkward tension of having nothing to talk about. Whether you’re a boyfriend trying to talk to your date’s dad, a parent trying to talk to her child or siblings having a chat, sometimes needing some common ground is all one needs to build a lasting relationship.
In “Come Fly With Me,” we see every level of the “Modern Family” deal with an aspect of needing to break the ice. Jay is paired up with Phil to go fly model planes. Gloria takes Alex to buy a dress to avoid having her provoke Claire any further. The unlikely sibling pairing of Claire and Manny turns into a mature coffee clutch…
And self-proclaimed “country mouse” Cameron takes snobby Mitchell to Costco.
As Manny helps Claire to realize the shortcomings in her approach to handling Alex, Mitchell ventures into the previously uncharted territory of bulk purchasing and goes off the deep end, even requiring a flatbed cart. No, two!
As Phil desperately tries to coax Jay into giving him the time of day, he winds up getting into a plane crash. No, not an actual one…Jay flies his model plane right into Phil’s face.
Gloria, the young, feisty untraditional grandma, helps Alex not only find a dress, but find some self-confidence as well. Perhaps more in touch than the vanilla Claire, Alex just needed some positive reinforcement to find the girlish pride necessary to separate herself from her older, pretty sister.
As the tension begins to resolve, it is revealed that Jay has a hard time expressing his feelings, especially toward male relatives. Surprise, surprise.
The episode ends with Jay, Phil, Cameron and Manny in a hug pile, which Mitchell records on his new camcorder (from Costco).
As the credits roll, we hear Gloria rave about wanting a daughter and how she had dressed Manny up as a girl when he was a baby. When he found the pictures, she told him that it was his baby sister who had passed away, so as not to mess with his mind.
Jay stares on in horror.
Dead babies and plane crashes aside, “Modern Family” is building a relationship before our very eyes every week. Way to put the “fun” back in dysfunction. It may be understated, but the underlying theme of the episode is clearly the need to work in harmony, to fly together. No matter how bizarre, spiteful and downright annoying family members might be, they are still family. At the end of the day, you’re going to fly in formation one way or another. “Modern Family” reminds us that it’s OK if our stances are a little off.