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Modern Family

Modern Family Recap of Season 3, Episode 3: “Phil on Wire”

It's a new week, kids — and that means another craylarious helping of Modern Family! Let's see what our three fave families were up to this week, shall we?

Over at Casa del Pritchett, Gloria's already spicy temper is raised to hella-hot new levels when Jay starts focusing all of his attention on another woman. OK, so Stella, the ridiculously j'adorable French bulldog, isn't exactly another woman, per se — but try telling that to a Colombian firecracker with a short fuse! And besides, Jay's not-so-quality dog time (which includes all-night cuddles, and slightly weird shared showers!) does verge on the eccentrically excessive.

But it's Stella's appetite for the finer things in life — namely the taste of Gloria's expensive (and tropical-colored!) bras and pumps — that really pushes Miss Thang over the edge. Tired of seeing her glad rags chewed-up like kibble, Gloria begs Stella to sink her teeth into a pair of her hubby's suede shoes — going so far as to drop onto all fours to demonstrate her loafer-destroying abilities with canine perfection. Which, hilariously, Manny and Jay walk in on. Pushed to her boiling point, Gloria calls Jay out for paying more attention to little ol’ Stella. "You used to want me in that shower!" she scolds, giving Jay a heaping piece of her mind (and Manny a big ol’ slice of TMI).

Mitch, Interrupted

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Meanwhile, Cameron, in a bid to trim his fabulous (but decidedly flabby) self, decides to embark on an all-out juice cleanse. To try and help curb a full-blown Cam melt-down, Mitchell decides to fast as well — taking the Hefty sacks that Cam filled with junk food (Mitch notes that obsessive grocery purging is typically Stage 2 in Cameron's annual crash diet routine, btw) over to the Dunphys.

Day 4 of the cleanse, and Mitchell's breezing through the juice-fest fast with the greatest of ease. Cameron, on the other hand, flew through all of his usual steps of empty-bellied food withdrawal (his "Soap Actress" weepy stage was particularly LOL-inducing), and has found himself at Step 7: The pure, unadulterated rage stage. Mitchell, noting Cam's Girl, Interrupted-esque behavior (in a fit of doughnut-deprived despair, a very unhinged Cameron ripped a cupboard door right off its hinges!), realizes that the big lug has never made it this far in a diet before. Translation: A very terrified Mitchell has no idea what new, horrifying step comes after "rage". Ruh-roh!

Reluctantly, Mitchell brings his cupboard-crushing hubby to a soirée at his boss' swish oceanfront house. After the boys deftly avoid several run-ins with some seriously tempting canapes, Mitchell's boss starts recounting a story about a wayward seal named Snorkels, who was cruelly drowned by a plastic shopping bag that had been carelessly thrown into the ocean. Well, — any Modern Family fan worth his or her salt would, without hesitation, assume that this tear-jerking seal story would push the already unstable Cam over the edge. However, it's the equally peckish Mitchell who finally snaps (Mitchell the seal enthusiast: Who knew?!).

Erupting in a hysterical fit of tears before a room full of horrified party guests, Mitch flees from the house, runs down to the beach, and dives into the ocean as part of a frantic(ly starved and misguided) search for Snorkels (which, like, sorry Mitch, but that seal is totally shark food by now!). Cam eventually catches up with his frantic fella, and the pair finally realize: Diet be damned! They love each other just as they are. Aww!

Phil Finally Comes Out On Top. Way On Top!

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So that garbage bag full of junk food that Mitchell brought over to the Dunphys? Yeah, Luke totally stashed that shiz, just like out of some sugar-fiending episode of Hoarders. Life isn't all chocolate binging for the little guy, though; after watching the documentary Man on Wire (which everyone should totally Netflix, btw!), Phil is inspired to pursue his maybe-not-so-life-long dream of walking on a tightrope, and he enlists Luke as his sugar-rabid assistant.

After puking at school the next day, Luke finally confesses to his pops that he was downing the Pop Rocks and Cracker Jacks that his uncle unloaded as part of a juice fast — which, being the adorably not-so-clever little fella that he is — Luke misheard as a "Jew fast" (maybe he thought it was Yom Kippur?)

The boys have even bigger problems, though: Phil's dreams of high-wire glory aren't looking too peachy, what with his inability to stand on the rope while it's only six inches off the ground. Baby Einstein Luke suggests that maybe Phil keeps falling because he knows that he can fall — and that what he should really do is try walking the wire high above the ground. In true Dunphy fashion, Phil sees only the brilliance in his son's not-so-articulate suggestion, and agrees. Naturally!

Meanwhile, the girls are waging World-War Three over the fact that Alex has been bumped up into her big sister's math class, which is totally cramping Haley's style (natch!). Claire, desperate for her daughters to resolve their tiff peacefully, flexes her ol’ reverse-psychology muscles in attempt to get the girls to call a truce. Haley and Alex, in a failed attempt to out-outsmart their mom, organize their own shady backroom deal (Alex agrees to do Haley's homework in exchange for a coveted seat at the cool-girl’s lunch table) — which goes swimmingly, until they're rumbled by their no-nonsense principal. Hey, since when does two siblings sharing algebra answers constitute "cheating", anyway? Sheesh!

Long story short, a tres-pissed-off Claire calls the girls out for their complete inability to resolve their disagreement peacefully — a lecture which understandably loses its punch after the girls notice the makeshift handcuffs that their mom is wearing (earlier, Claire, as per her usual "do as I naggingly say, not as a do" self, had gone postal on the school's parking monitor, with craylarious results).

Ashamed at their inability to get along with one another (and, in Claire's case, with rent-a-cops), the three defeated Dunphy gals drive home — only to find Phil successfully (and shockingly!) walking the tightrope, thereby restoring the family's good name. Triumph!

09.29.2011 / 07:18 PM EDT by Joe Roch
Related: Modern Family, Recaps

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