Okay, so instead of being all negative here, I'm trying to a find way to make that latest Modern Family episode work. Let's try to come up with plausible storylines and sequences that you can relate to.
Now, the most important thing here is to find out where the substance and the potential is with these story ideas that we saw on screen. (the writers gave us a lot to work with)
First, I think it's obvious that Haley having some kind of a parking ticket problem is a good story idea. We just need to make sure that the audience immediately knows what's going on - so Haley tells us. That's a good start.
I'm fine with Phil
forcing only Luke going out with Luke to the dancing class. But instead of not showing it happening, it would be best if we get to see them dancing together. Also, no fooling Luke, though, just honest stuff and keep it cool.
Cameron & Mitchell can have their storyline, but one needs to modify it. No letting them first be indifferent about the whole thing. Let's make it clear that they want it, there's only one spot open for months to come and there's another couple 'fighting' for it.
I'm also okay with doing something with Manny and Jay. But let's be clear, almost from the very first scene with them, we need to be aware of what Jay is afraid of. We need to know that he wonders whether Joe recognizes him.
Things that need to go:
the stuff with the babysitter, one also has to drop that Claire trying to find cash from Phil's stash. Cut the 'when did we start falling in love'-stuff too. I think we have enough material for one episode anyway.
So Phil and Luke go to dance. They need a turning point, so what if it's something like Luke seeing that there's a hot girl instructing the dancers? I think this would be a nice, even though a totally cliche thing to motivate him.
Mitchell and Cameron: I think it would be okay if we get a premise in which they expect that the other couple wants to have a wedding too - and that C&M understand them. Everything leading up to the revelation is based on this.
Of course the revelation that it's two 15-year old girls will turn the whole thing around. It could be a solid source of comedy. They want to get married, those others want to have their super sweet sixteenth. Which is more important?
Instead of Phil getting arrested, we could just switch to Alex getting arrested while Haley instructs her to drive. We could also keep the Phil getting arrested. I'm fine with either one as long as it doesn't happen too early.
But how do we wrap the whole thing up? Do we force them to be together based on Manny's birthday? That's what tends to happen on this show and I guess you could go that route.
Yet, the most important thing is getting the basics right. What's plausible and what's implausible? Where's the substance, what's true and what's not? I don't think it should be that hard.