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This was a great episode. Strangers on a Treadmill illustrated the reason why we care so deeply for this fragmented yet endearing family, all the while being highly entertaining and heartwarming (yeah I know I may sound cheesy). At the end of the episode we have a deeper appreciation for all most all the main characters, and if not for Modern Family’s uncanny ability to pull this off a lot, it would be huge character development point.
The episode starts off simple enough with the Dunphy’s story opening the episode. Phil has been chosen to host the annual realtor conference and he has written some material for his job as MC. Claire is not as happy to hear some of his jokes and she is afraid that he is going to embarrass himself. I like the fact that she has been faking laughter their entire marriage because as a viewer I always wondered why Phil thought he was so funny. I mean, the guy is nice and funny at times, but he tries a bit too hard. Claire needs to find a way to tell him that his jokes are not funny but she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.
This is where the Cameron and Mitchell storyline comes in. Cameron has started working out, while Mitchell is happy that Cam has taken a proactive step there is just one problem, Cam’s bike shorts. Seeing the shorts blurred out was pretty funny and the show didn’t use it too much, so it didn’t really have a chance to get old. Claire and Mitchell meet at the gym and while on treadmills, Mitchell doing a ridiculous exercise, the two come up with a plan to deal with both their problems. The Mitchell and Claire relationship is one we have been told about a lot but never really shown. What I mean by this is the siblings should have the deepest history and connection, but now that I think about it, they do not really interact with each other very often. The scene on the treadmills is nice and comes off believable. I hope to see more of this in the future.
Needless to say their plan doesn’t really work out but ultimately it is for the best. I love the ending of this episode because it answers a question I have had since the show started. I always wondered why Claire was with Phil. Like I said earlier, Phil is a nice guy and pretty harmless but he is kind of an idiot, a nice idiot but one none the less. We get to see Phil as a man and a husband and it is a nice change for his character. We always knew there was a reason the two were together and now we got to see it.
The biggest complaint I have about the episode is the two side stories. One being Jay. Gloria, and Manny at a Quinceañera, the other being Haley helping Alex to be “cool”. My problem with these story-lines is not in content but in how they fit into the episode overall. The kids storyline is a bit more salient because the fallout effects Claire and Phil at the end, but ultimately it is just dropped. The Jay, Manny, and Gloria storyline is pretty funny, minus the awkward ending, but if you took it out of the episode I have to think Strangers on a Treadmill would feel more focused. My favorite part of this show is when the family is all together and so far this season they have only brought them together once. The cast is very large and we care about all of them, so it may be that the show is a bit too big for itself at times. A great episode even with the problems. The Pritchette-Delgado-Tucker-Dunphy family continues to roll.