By Lacie Wallace
4 out of 5
With every new episode I find very little I dislike about this show. This episode opens with the ever so important Valentine’s Day looming overhead. I am always nervous about Valentine’s Day episodes as I have seen them go terribly wrong. However, with last year’s hilarious Valentine’s Day episode behind the cast and writers I was fairly confident this would live up to expectations.
At the beginning of the episode, we find out the Valentine’s Day plans of everyone in the family. Hayley is complaining because her boyfriend (an attractive nerdy type) is blowing her off to study, her little sister has a phone date with her boyfriend to watch a movie on TV, and little brother doesn’t care about Vday. Mom and Dad are heading to a hotel to again attempt their role playing characters from last Valentine’s Day. (It didn’t go so well last time, Claire ended up wearing only a trench coat in front of her father, step-mother, and some parents from their kids’ school while Phil desperately tried to figure out a way to get the belt of the coat unstuck from the escalator.) Jay has always disappointed Gloria on Valentine’s Day so he decides to trick her into thinking he forgot to plan something again while secretly having a dinner all set up for her at home when they get back. Last but not least Mitchell and Cameron have a romantic dinner planned at a local fancy restaurant.
Manny, the only odd one out except for youngest brother Luke, decides that he will use this time to hit on Hayley (He often reminds people she is not his real cousin.) who he has had a crush on from the beginning. While over at the Dunphey house (once Phil and Claire leave) he convinces Hayley to break up with her nerdy boyfriend via e-mail. Hayley then begins to pine for a valentine and begins to miss her old boyfriend Dylan.
Meanwhile Phil and Claire have arrived at the hotel and assumed their alter egos Clive and Juliana.
After some very successful flirting on Phil’s part, and some slight confusion on Phil’s part as to whether or not she wants him to do what she is telling him to do, they decide it is time to head up to the hotel room.
Jay and Gloria head out to dinner at the same restaurant Cameron and Mitchell have reservations at. Once there, Jay goes up to the host and hands him a fifty telling him not to seat them no matter how convincing his wife is. Gloria makes her way up to the podium and finds a reservation under Jay’s name and tells the host to seat them. Jay is at a loss and thinks he has failed until Cameron and Mitchell show up and find out that Jay and Gloria have taken their reservations by accident. Gloria goes out to the car in a huff and Jay thinks he’s got it all under control until they arrive home to find that there has been no dinner set up inside. Jay heads outside to look for the caterer’s to see if they got it wrong, and Gloria opens the garage door to reveal the dinner she had moved to the garage. She says “See? I am the winner of the Valentine’s Day.” to which Jay claims “You can’t win Valentine’s Day.” and they argue for a bit before finally sitting down to the lovely dinner.
Meanwhile Hayley is debating whether or not she should go ahead and text Dylan. Younger sister is having a mushy phone date with her boyfriend, and Phil and Claire are still at the hotel. Claire tells Phil to wait a few and head up after her. He heads up and hurries to get ready for her with a bucket with champagne on ice and rose petals on the bed and him in his boxers laying there for her.
Then the utterly predictable happens (the reason this episode gets a 4 and not a 5) when Claire discovers he is in the wrong room and an older lady walks in on Phil. The scene cuts out as he is scrambling to both make an explanation for himself and get his clothes back on.
Mitchell and Cameron have an argument over dinner over who Mitchell’s assistant has a crush on and leave the dinner early to drive to his house and find out but decide on the way that it doesn’t matter. When they decide they are both still hungry they head elsewhere to eat and are greeted by a mutual friend who informs them both that he has “always thought you were cute.” This prompts another argument that is cut off before we can find out the answer.
Hayley is just about to text Dylan when she hears the first few chords of a song and runs to the window, shrieking. Sure enough, there stands Dylan, singing to her a la Say Anything in her yard. She shouts “I love you baby!” and runs down to kiss him. Phil and Claire decided they couldn’t go back to the hotel and came home to steal a few minutes of alone time before the kids knew they were home. They decide to ignore the fact that Hayley’s now on again boyfriend is singing “Look at me naked.” and keep cuddling.
I liked: The fact that Clive and Juliana are so awkward and never seem to work out when they try to use them. It is endearing that things only work when they are themselves.
Manny not giving up on flirting with Hayley.
Gloria outsmarting Jay with dinner.
The return of Dylan. He’s just so ridiculously stupid that it really resonates with the real life of some parents dealing with their daughter dating a complete idiot.
I didn’t like: Little sister made quite the transition all of a sudden from lonely bookworm to boy-crazy, annoying preteen.
The predictable part of Phil being in the wrong room.