Dec 27, 2023

Modern Family Episode 5.6: Gloria's crush on Adam Devine, Phil's three-way, and Cam and Mitchell's swishing contest


Back in 2014, I was quite adamant that Adam Devine's character on Modern Family, Andy the Manny (male nanny), was homophobic, so I've been reviewing episodes, looking for evidence.  This is his first appearance, in Season 5.6: "The Help."  Ugh!  I hated being called "the help" when I was in high school, working at the Carousel Snack Bar.  I told the boss "I am a human being.  I have feelings.  I am not 'the help.'"

Link to NSFW version

As in all Modern Family Episodes, we have three plots, usually involving a random assortment of family members, interspliced.  I separated them out.

Plot 1
: Claire, her husband Phil, and their kids.  Phil's Dad, Frank (Fred Willard), staying with his family because his girlfriend dumped him, being depressed and annoying. They discuss whether he needs a therapist, but Claire's dad Jay (Ed O'Neill) says that he just needs a woman.

"I know a place," he tells Phil.  "Tonight you, me, and Frank are going out on the town." 

 "Fun!  A three-way!" Phil exclaims: a running gag has him saying innocent things that sound sexual, usually homoerotic.   

Cut to the bar.  The men approach two women and say hello. "Not interested!" one exclaims. The other flirts with Frank, so his wingmen scram.

In the morning, Frank tells Phil that he hooked up: "She's downstairs right now.'  Except she turned out to be a sex worker, and he owes her $500. Ok, first of all, you have to make the contract clear, and second, sex workers don't spend the night. They get the job done and go home. 

While they're scrounging to find $500 in cash, Claire returns from yoga class, and wants to know who the woman in the kitchen is.  "The therapist we hired!" Let the misunderstandings begin: "I have always wanted to do what you do. I'd be good at it.  It's basically what I do for the whole neighborhood anyway."  

The sex worker (Peri Gilpin, best known for Frasier) assures Frank that his performance was superlative.  She has a lot of elderly clients who can't even there are kids present...but "any woman would be lucky to have you."  This gives him the confidence to start dating again -- and move out, which is what Phil and Claire wanted all along.

Plot 2: 
Gay couple Mitchell and Cam are getting married, but they can't decide on anything, so they've asked their flamboyant friend Pepper (Nathan Lane), a professional wedding planner, for help. He comes in with overloaded binders and his flamboyant assistant, Ronaldo. But when they don't like his first idea (a purple color scheme), he goes into a snit, so they have to pretend to like all of his other horrible ideas, like riding in on a unicorn and wearing Willy Wonka outfits. 

Pepper is burnt out from planning 50 gay weddings since they became legal in California, so why not let Ronaldo do it?  Uh-oh, the assistant stealing the job from his boss -- drama.  Of course, they all act like they are cheating on a romantic partner: "I couldn't stop thinking about you.  What happened here yesterday was real!"  Pepper-Ronaldo break up and reconcile.

Plot 3:
 Jay, the patriarch of the family, and his wife Gloria, who is actually younger than his adult kids, argue over her habit of firing their infant son's nannies: she feels threatened by other women in the house. Also, their teenage son Manny keeps sexually harassing them. 

At the park, Gloria meets Andy, the manny of her frenemey Joan.  Andy reveals that she is  unfriendly because she's worried that Gloria might steal her husband.  

Gloria is irate: Frenemy's husband is too fat to be attractive.  Not anymore: Andy helped him lose 30 pounds! He also can cook. Enough bragging, dude.  It sounds like you're hitting on Gloria.  But it works -- Gloria decides to steal Andy, but in a non-sexual way (well, not overtly sexual; she gets quite chummy as she leads him off).

When Jay and Manny get home, Andy introduces himself as the new manny. Manny: "Am I being replaced?"  No, he's the baby's new nanny, but "My mission is to make all of your lives happier and healthier." So, are you a nanny or a life coach/personal trainer/dietitian?

No way! Jay yells.  "He's a man!  It's weird!" The aging Baby Boomer Jay thinks that only women are qualified to do childcare, but Gloria has a big crush on him: "He's perfect," she sighs. Manny disapproves, too: how is he going to sexually harass a guy? Gloria storms out of the room.  That's the end of it, right?

The next day, Jay is in the shower.  He forgot to get a towel (isn't there always one hanging on the towel rack?), so he yells for Gloria. But Andy brings it for him, and does the gay discreet-glance-at-his-bulge thing (but in this case, he sees Jay's dick rather than his bulge).  I'm confused: is Adam playing Andy as gay, or do straight guys like looking at dicks, too?    

Andy made a heart-healthy breakfast for Jay and Manny, and afterwards, he suggests jogging.  How about taking care of the baby?  

"Nope," Jay tells him. "My wife overstepped her bounds by hiring you. You're fired!"

"I came on too strong, didn't I?  My dad warned me about that when I turned 14." He goes into a story of his dad dying, so he had to be "the man" of the family, and take care of the kids. But that doesn't dissuade Jay and Manny: they want him out.

Gloria returns and starts yelling.  They yell back.  Andy begins a group therapy session that ends with everyone apologizing and promising to do better at communicating their feelings. Cut to the whole family, walking fast.

Ok, I get it.  All three of the groups hired "help" in scenarios that looked sexual (or, in Frank's case, were sexual), and turned out to be more "help" than anyone anticipated.

Beefcake: None.

Gay Stereotypes: Of course.  Mitchell, Cam, and their friends seem to be having a contest to see  who can be swishier. 

Homophobia:  I didn't see any in this episode, just some gender polarization.  Andy displays no queasiness about seeing Jay naked in the shower, and actually takes a peek at his penis.  All gay characters on the show are femme stereotypes, of course, so he's written as straight, but it  certainly indicates that he is not afraid of male nudity.

Bonus nude Matthew Risch and almost nude Ed O'Neill on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

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