Valentine's Day, the 'Modern Family' Way

"This is my favorite day in America!" gushes Gloria (Sofia Vergara) during tonight's Valentines Day-themed episode of ABC's Modern Family (9 p.m. ET). If, like me, you're a bit skeptical about our National Day of Love, you won't want to miss this one. Family's writers do what they do best: They take the show's likable group of well-meaning characters, and put them through the agitations of real life. And let's be honest, Valentine's Day isn't always magical and delicious.

For one thing, there are those who haven't yet found their true amor—like Manny (Rico Rodriguez). "The universe is cold and loveless," he sighs. Who hasn't been there?

Others, like Gloria, may have landed their (wealthy) mate, but true love doesn't equal happily-ever-after. After presenting her with expensive earrings, Jay (Ed O'Neill) announces that he's made their Valentine's plans. "Don't tell me you're finally taking me salsa dancing?" she squeals. Actually, no. Jay's booked tickets to see his favorite comedian, David Brenner. "Who's that?" she asks. "Is he a magician? Because you know I love magicians!" Again, no. But Jay assures her that Brenner is funny. "Does he have a mallet?" she asks. Well, no. "Then how does he get hit in the head?" Clearly, Gloria's sense of humor differs from her husband's. They say love is not selfish. But what couple hasn't faced this problem?

Perhaps Valentine's Day is hardest for those couples, like Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen), who've been married forever and feel pressured into be romantic for the sake of the holiday. The pair arranges a sexy, role-playing date, posing as strangers meeting in a hotel bar. Phil being Phil, he swaggers in wearing a name tag with his false name. "I'm in town for a trade show," he says. "I design high end electro-coustic transducers." Luckily, Claire's already got a martini in front of her.

And last but not least, there are those couples who end up squabbling on this most romantic of days. "Notice that I have not eaten any of the chocolates," says Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), proffering a heart-shaped box. "There were two levels," snarls Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). "You know it and I know it."

Ah, Valentine's Day. How sweet it is!

PHOTOS: Likes or Yikes? Ashton Kutcher Hates Valentine's Day

What was your worst Valentine's Day? Chime in below!

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