Modern Family review – 4×07: ‘Arrested’

Courtesy of ABC

The title of this week’s Modern Family is not a clever metaphor, nor is it symbolic. Unfortunately he members of hip-hop group Arrested Development do not make a guest appearance either (although that would be fun). It is a totally literal title people – someone literally gets arrested in this episode. Will it change that person? Will it change their relationship with the other characters? Read on…

As you know, besides a few awkward Skype appearances, Haley (Sarah Hyland) has been more or less M.I.A. this season. After all the efforts that she, father Phil (Ty Burrell) and mother Claire (Julie Bowen) put in to get her accepted into college, it is disappointing, although not unpredictable, that Haley’s newfound college freedom has caught up with her. In a big way. Not in a “fail a class” or “get knocked up” way, but in a “get arrested and end up in jail for underage drinking way”. And resisting arrest. Annnnd assaulting a police officer. Whoops!

Phil and Claire drive upstate to bail her out and bring Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) with them because he’s a real lawyer, for reals (more on that in a second). Bailing Haley out of jail is not the end of it, though. There is also a student disciplinary committee hearing to be faced. And failed. And this dear viewers is how the writers subsequently bring Haley back into the fold as a regular character (just as I, and probably many of you, suspected they might after episode 4).

Was this planned all along, or did it just become obvious that Haley was an important part of the family dynamic? I was actually pretty surprised at how much impact her absence has had since I always had the impression that she was a minor character. But now that I look back at past episodes – again particularly at episode 4 when Alex (Ariel Winter) was all out of whack – I think that Haley’s return as a regular was inevitable.

Meanwhile, Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) continue to weather the sunny days and stormy…er…days of pregnancy together. One recurring theme is Jay’s suitability / willingness to be a hands-on dad once the baby arrives. Guess what? This theme is explored again in ‘Arrested’. At this point the subject has been explored to death since every episode ends with Jay proving to Gloria that he has changed since Claire and Mitch were kids. We get it: he’s going to make a fantastic father. Thankfully, this time this recurring theme is accompanied by the third appearance (so says IMDb) by the lovely Shelley Long as Jay’s ex-wife, De De Pritchett. I didn’t find her character particularly interesting, but it is fun to see her and Gloria bond over their shared criticisms of Jay. Ultimately her role is pretty perfunctory, although the idea that she and Manny (Rico Rodriguez) plan to attend a spoken-word concert is amusing enough (apparently they have some kind of bond?). Are we in for more cameos?

Courtesy of ABC

Other considerations:

  • During the “bail Haley out” debacle, Claire is freaking out and Phil, as usual is trying to remain calm and positive. Claire is really, really annoyed by how calm Phil is and there is a funny flashback interview where death threats may or may not have been uttered. But Phil’s calm, positive exterior gives way to a side of him that we rarely, if ever, get to see when he confronts Haley about her failure to take responsibility for her actions. Tough love from Phil? I like it!
  • You guys, Mitch is a real lawyer! And he really needs to prove it since his insecurity about his environmental law practice gets the better of him. Being somewhat familiar with this profession myself, it’s really awkward to watch Mitch putting on his lawyer pants at the police station and the student disciplinary hearing. He should definitely stick to environmental law. What he should avoid, in addition to any legal situation requiring oral advocacy, is acting out more gay stereotypes like that cringe-worthy moment at 3 am when he rejects outfits to wear to the police station. Ugh
  • Ed O’Neil nails some hilarious lines this episode, such as: “If you had a husband who liked picking out strollers, you wouldn’t have a baby” and “I’d love to go to the spoken word festival but I’m already going to the blow-my-brains out jamboree.” Still laughing about that one.

Well, I don’t know about you but I actually find myself looking forward to more Haley adventures and maybe they’ll even have the far too overlooked Dylan (Reid Ewing) back for more adorable Haley worship. Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I approve of where this is going. There are far more potentially funny scenarios with Haley back than with her away at college…

What were your thoughts on Haley’s arrest? Did you like seeing the authoritative side of Phil? Were you annoyed by Mitchell’s desperate attempts to prove himself? And did you have any thoughts on Cam’s (Eric Stonestreet) adventures at the hospital after Luke’s  (Nolan Gould)allergic reaction to faux-facon? Comment away!

Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST on ABC

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