Modern Family: "Moon Landing"
B+

Modern Family: "Moon Landing"

B+

Modern Family

"Moon Landing"

Season 1, Episode 14

So what does Modern Family have to offer your average Lost viewer? It's a question clearly raised by the frequent promos for the show ABC ran last night during the Lost three-hour extravaganza.

I'm not sure I'm the best qualified person to answer this question. I didn't even get to see last week's episode; my local affiliate rescheduled it to the wee hours of Sunday morning because of SEC basketball, then neglected to run it at all; I TiVo'd an infomercial in its place. Tonight I tried out Slingbox technology in order to watch it, but most of the second act was lost to low data throughput.

But if not me, who? So here are the five reasons tonight's Modern Family should appeal to the Lost audience.

1. Alternate realities. Gloria turns to Mitch for legal help when she has an accident. But when they all visit the scene of the crime, Mitchell gets two stories. In Gloria's story, she's the innocent victim. Manny, however, employing a smooth "gotta tie my shoe, catch up with you in a second, Mom!" move, tells a different tale: Gloria was completely in the wrong. "She's a horrible driver," Manny hisses. "One time, she honked so long the horn ran out."

2. Pathos. Haley has decided to break up with boyfriend Dylan because she saw him with another girl at an Anne Hathaway movie. ("I wasn't with her, she just happened to be there!" Dylan protests. "Why would you be at an Anne Hathaway movie?" Haley demands. "I like her movies! She's Everywoman!" Dylan responds.) After the hysterical throw-all-his-stuff-out-the-window scene -- and exactly what are his drumsticks doing in her dresser? -- they make up by making out on the staircase. By the end of the episode, though, Dyland is reduced to standing outside the house holding up his iPhone playing that song he wrote for her ("I just wanna feel you, feel you ... on the insiiiiiide"), without even knowing that it's a Say Anything reference.

3. Rivalries. Lost has Jack v. Sawyer and Ben v. Locke. MF has Cam v. Jay and Claire v. Minnie Driver. Cam has been looking forward to joining Jay at his gym for some racquetball, while Jay has been dreading it (because of the whole gay-guy-in-the-locker-room thing). When Cam wins the first game, Jay's able to blame it on the "moon landing" that happened while they were getting dressed, with their bare butts accidentally touching. ("They didn't press! It was glancing!" Jay insists desperately.) Meanwhile Claire is having a drink with Valerie, a former co-worker from her days in the corporate world, before she married Phil and decided to concentrate on motherhood. Now Valerie is one of the "bastards on the twenty-third floor -- twenty-fourth, actually," that the two of them used to complain about -- and she just got the promotion to her dream job. Naturally Claire wants to show her what she's been missing in terms of family life.

4. Inexplicable phenomena. But she picks the wrong day to visit the Dunphy hatch. Alex's bottle collection project (aimed at building bottle schools in the third world) has covered the breakfast nook with empty liquor bottles. In the midst of them sits Luke holding a bottle of Jaegermeister. ("Dad says it makes girls easier to kiss," he explains. Why is he stripped down to his underwear? "I had an accident.") And Phil is not only stuck in a porta-potty in the driveway (because construction workers turned off the water to the house, and because Dylan parked right next to the toilet door making exit impossible), but he's also wearing a Halloween mustache because he's thinking of growing one to match his defaced image on a bus bench advertisement.

5. Confusing timelines. "Five months later ... we were four months away from having this little girl."

Stray observations:

- 6. Accents, accents, accents! What was Minnie Driver doing? She sounded halfway to Julianne Moore on 30 Rock.

- Seriously, my grade on this one should be "incomplete." I probably missed five or six minutes there in the middle when the data rate went down below 100 kbps. Hazards of technology. Y'all will fill in the good jokes in the comments, right?

- "I want Mitchell to be on the Supreme Court." Beat. "Why, Cam?" "So I can tell everyone my partner is one of the Supremes."

- "Everyone looks parked when you're going 100 miles per hour."

- Manny knows the best defense is having cupcake in your mouth.

- "A gulf divides us, eh?"

- "You too, brother."