Episode 9: Mother Tucker

Mother Tucker,” the ninth episode of the season, aired on November 24, 2010, and brought in about 10.5 million viewers, the lowest of the season.

In this episode, we see Haley being tutored by a smart boy named David. Not long after Claire leaves, she remembers something she forgot and walks in on Haley and David making out on the couch. I personally, thought Claire would freak out, but she’s kind of relieved; she then convinces Haley (she didn’t have to convince her very much) to dump her old, dumb boyfriend, Dylan. This saddens Phil, my guess being that he has been dumped suddenly a few times in his past. Thinking he needs someone to talk to, Phil befriends Dylan. They make some small talk over playing guitar and decide to go buy Phil a new guitar. After that, they stop by a juice bar. While Phil is in the restroom, Haley spots Dylan’s car outside the juice bar and a girl’s sweater (her dad’s) hanging on the back of the chair across from Dylan. Haley, now jealous that he has another girl in his life, wants to take Dylan back, but he refuses and states that he needs some time away from her and her father.

Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy and Reid Ewing as Dylan

Meanwhile, Jay is suffering from some stomach aches. Gloria insists that there is nothing wrong with him, and Jay initially agrees. But Manny looks up Jay’s symptoms on the internet and gets Jay more and more paranoid throughout the episode. He eventually caves in and goes to the hospital, much to Gloria’s disliking (A flashback showed us how tough she really is: she dislocated her shoulder while playing ping-pong, pushed against the wall to pop it back in place, and went back to her game). After the doctors run a test, they determine that Jay has appendicitis and needs an immediate operation. Gloria feels bad for not believing him in the beginning.

Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett, Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, and Rico Rodriguez II and Manny Delgado

Now, on to the story that gave this episode its name. Cam’s mother, Barb comes for a visit! But unlike most mother-in-law stories, this mother-in-law is extremely touchy. This is a problem for Mitch. Not only does he have general problems being touched, but this is his mother-in-law and she’s touching him in awkward places! But Mitch doesn’t have the heart to tell Cam about his issues because Cam and his mom are so close. So Mitch tries to envoke some inappropriate touching while Cam is within eyesight. When Cam misinterprets what is going on, he pulls Mitch aside to talk. Mitch opens up about Barb and her touching to Cam. Unfortunately, she hears him talking and feelings get hurt.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett and Celia Weston as Barb Tucker

But Modern Family never ends on a sad note. So here’s the tag scene for this episode: Barb is outside the bathroom door apologizing to Mitch (inside taking a bath) about her unknowingly touching him. He, of course, forgives her, so she walks into the bathroom to talk to him face-to-face. (Good thing you’re taking a bubble bath, Mitch!) Barb sits on the side of the tub, and the two talk for a bit. Barb yells out to Cam to get a camera and take a picture since they made up. Then her bracelet falls into the tub with Mitch, which she dim-wittingly searches for. Cam comes in to take the picture.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett and Celia Weston as Barb Tucker

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Episode 8: Manny Get Your Gun

The eighth episode of the season, “Manny Get Your Gun,” aired on November 17, 2010. It drew in almost 12.1 million viewers, which is only slightly lower than the previous week.

This episode started a bit differently than normal. Instead of introducing us to three different stories in the beginning, it opens with the entire family sitting at a table in a restaurant for Manny’s birthday. Viewers then get a thirty-minute flash back to the three stories which explain why everyone is so depressed in the beginning.

Rico Rodriguez II as Manny Delgado

In the Dunphy flashback, Claire is trying to get everyone ready to leave for the party. This soon leads to a small argument/competition between Claire and Phil. They decide to have a race to the party to see who’s way is faster. Their kids come downstairs and Claire tells them that she and Phil are separating. Luke immediately, and humorously, says that he will go with his dad. Claire tells him that he will go with her and the girls will go with Phil. While in the car, Luke asks Claire why she is getting a divorce! Claire straightens Luke’s thoughts out, pauses for a moment, then realizes that Luke had immediately wanted to go with his father instead of her. This makes her upset so she pulls over to talk with Luke, who then explains that his dad would need him more than she would. (Aw, touching moment!) He also tells her that her route is way faster than Phil’s; with her confidence restored, she races toward the restaurant.

In the other car, the tire goes flat. Phil gets out and tells the girls to help out and that it will be as fun as family camp! (an experience that Haley and Alex do not want to have again) So when they get back in the car, they break the news to Phil that they don’t want to go to family camp again. Phil, heartbroken, starts to cry, which makes Haley cry, which makes Alex cry. They eventually restore their dad’s confidence to beat Claire, so they race toward the restaurant.

Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy, Sarah Hyland as Haley Dunphy, and Ariel Winter as Alex Dunphy.

Meanwhile, at the mall, Mitch and Cam are having a hard tim picking a gift for Manny. Cam, being the tenderhearted person that he is, stops to help an elderly man win back his girl. Mitch, like his sister, is in a rush and is trying to get Cam to leave but he won’t insisting that they help the couple, who they later find out are adulterers. They begin to argue about Mitch when “Free Your Mind” suddenly starts to play loudly in the mall. It’s a Flash Mob! The two watch the events unfold, then MITCH joins the dancing mob! To me, this was a big surprise; usually Cam would be the one to do something like this. Afterward, Mitch thinks Cam will be happy and impressed, but he is actually hurt that he wasn’t asked to participate. They have another fight in the car.

Jay, showing us where it children get it, is rushing Manny and Gloria so they won’t be late. Jay and Gloria then start to argue about how Gloria always ends up losing things (currently, her car keys). Jay knows he’s right about this, until he finds the keys in his jacket pocket. In desperation, he hides them in Gloria’s purse and suggests that she look in there again. When she does, she purposefully ignores the fact that they are in there. While this is going on, Manny is going through a mid-life crises. He realizes that he never had a childhood, so now he is trying to make up for it by making (poor) prank phone calls, mixing flavors of soda, and sitting on a giant island float in the pool.

Rico Rodriguez II as Manny Delgado

Jay, in an attempt to get the family to leave on time, confesses to Gloria about finding her keys. A now infuriated Gloria (partly due to the events with Jay, and partly due to Manny’s refusal to go to his own birthday party) gets the BB gun that Jay had given Manny as a birthday present and shoots the float! That then gives us one of the funniest lines of the episode: Manny, stunned, says, “You could’ve shot my arm!” to which Gloria replies in her thick Colombian accent, “I could’ve unbuttoned your shirt if I wanted to!” They then leave for the restaurant, arguing the entire way.

Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett and Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett

The three families, in their four cars, arrive to the restaurant simultaneously and almost crash into each other! We then see/hear Manny finish the speech he had been giving in the beginning of the episode. He explains that he has realized, due to observing his ridiculous family, that he still has plenty of time to act like a child. *Insert a touching family moment to close the episode!*

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Episode 7: Chirp

Chirp,” the seventh episode of the season, received about 12.2 million viewers when it aired on November 3, 2010. Following the success of the Halloween episode, “Chirp” has had the third most viewers of the season.

So, Phil is trying to figure out which of the smoke detectors is chirping. Claire wakes up with a cold so Phil tells her that he will do her chores for the day. She asks him about his showings that day, but Phil tells her that they fell through but it was no big deal. Dylan comes over and Phil tells him not to get close to his wife, which Dylan misinterprets and confesses a dream he had about Claire. Another scene before the opening credits: Cam sets Lily up for a children’s commercial audition, but Mitch doesn’t agree to it. You’ll need to know that later.

As it turns out, Haley has a cold, too, so she bunks in with her mom for the day. While they watch soap operas, Claire talks to her daughter about a character in the show whose life was ruined by marrying the first guy she ever liked, hinting that the character and Haley are alike in personality. However, Haley thinks Claire is talking about her marriage. Claire tells Haley that there are other boys out there like… the pizza boy, and Haley still thinks she’s talking about herself. Outside the bedroom, Phil tries to find the source of the chirping and does some of Claire’s chores while his clients cancel their meetings with him and effeminizing things keep happening to him (like breaking a nail, wearing an apron, etc.). Phil’s fuse eventually runs short so he barges in on Claire and Haley and goes on a rampage (with a cheerleading baton) to destroy all the smoke detectors. Haley tells her mom to go after him and that he is way better than some delivery boy. She doesn’t have time to explain that that’s not what she was talking about before she goes to stop Phil, so Haley never gets the memo from her mom. Claire gives Phil a pep-talk and Phil eventually realizes, thanks to Luke (who’s been wearing a space helmet all day to avoid getting sick), that the old detectors in the attic are the culprits. So he cheers up, and makes Haley think she helped her parents marriage.

Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy and Sarah Hyland as Haley Dunphy

Meanwhile, Gloria and Manny visit Jay at work. Gloria tells Jay about their date she has planned (that he has no idea about) when Manny crashes through the wall with a forklift. Manny feels guilty about getting Jack, Jay’s employee that let him drive the forklift, fired; he calls a lawyer, Mitch, to file a suit against Jay. Mitch doesn’t take the case, and leaves when Gloria reveals that Cam has Lily at the commercial shoot. Since Mitch didn’t take the case, Manny gives Jay the silent treatment instead. Jay isn’t affected by the silent treatment and thinks he’s figured out where he’s supposed to meet Gloria for their date. Jay tells Manny that anyone who puts his kid in danger will not be hired back. Manny realizes that Jay thinks of him as his own child and forgives him, then informs him of the correct place he’s to meet up with Gloria.

Rico Rodriguez II as Manny Delgado

After leaving his father’s house, Mitch arrives at the commercial shoot and an argument starts between he and Cam. When quiet on the set is called, they silently watch the first take. As it turns out, they were only interested in Lily because she’s Asian, and the commercial is extremely racist and offensive (the voiceovers were done by cheesy white people, and someone dressed up as Godzilla walked around, crashing into buildings). Cam’s opinions quickly change and he pulls Lily out of the commercial. Hmm, didn’t someone tell him not to do it in the first place?

Baby Lily Pritchett-Tucker portrayed by Jayden and Ella Hiller

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Episode 6: Halloween

It’s “Halloween!” This is the sixth episode of the season that aired on October 27, 2010. It drew in over 13 million viewers, the highest of the season thus far!

Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy and Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy

In the first scene, we learn that Halloween is Claire’s favorite holiday; she is busy playing jokes, decorating her house, and cooking for her haunted house later that night. While Phil is outside setting up some decorations, he talks to his neighbor, Gary, whose wife has just left him. This makes Phil worried that the same thing will happen to him. He later goes back to ask 1) if he is still going to be their scarecrow, and 2) the reasons his wife had for leaving him. Phil learns that it was a lack of sexuality and spontaneity, so he tries to be more sexual and spontaneous towards Claire in fear of losing her.

Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy

Mitch is also excited about Halloween because he gets to wear a (Spiderman)costume to work, unlike his previous job. Cam hates Halloween due to a traumatic experience in the past, which he tells us later. When Mitch drives into his parking space and soon discovers that the only other two people dressed up are a tool and a douche. He calls Cam freaking out, but Cam reminds him that his dry-cleaning is still in his trunk. He puts on a business suit over his Spiderman costume (which squeaks) and when he walks in to the building, he is immediately thrown into multiple meetings. When he finally gets the chance to take off the Spiderman costume in the bathroom, he accidentally drops his dress pants in the toilet water. He frantically tries to dry them off with the hand dryer, until the janitor walks in! Ah! Mitch hides in the stall, but the janitor takes his shirt that he left lying out and his pants are still wet. He calls Cam to gain courage to go out the window to get back to his car and get another suit. When he gets to his car, he can’t find his keys, bumps into his car and the neighboring car, making the alarms go off, and gets spotted by his boss in his Spiderman costume.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett

Meanwhile, Jay and Manny mistakenly help Gloria realize that people don’t always understand her. Then, when Jay opens a box of baby cheese-its, only to find a baby Jesus, Gloria gets flustered and storms off. She later tries to talk “proper English” and over-exaggerates it.

That night, at the haunted house, Claire asks Mitch to be the scarecrow. He tells her that he has had a horrible day in a costume, which brings up Cam’s mysterious, traumatic, Halloween experience. Claire asks him what happened; he tells the first part of his story (his friends had dropped a lot of candy), no one reacts, then trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell. Everything goes horribly. Jay misses his cues for thunder and lightning, Alex’s part is completely skipped over, Gloria, dressed as a witch, speaks “proper English” instead of witch-like, Haley cheesily delivers her lines, and Cam tells the remainder of his story (his friend blamed him for the candy on the ground, so the other kids chased him while he was dressed as Quasimodo). Claire gets upset that everything went wrong, goes outside, and Phil goes to comfort her. <Insert touching moment here>. She eventually cheers up when more trick-or-treaters go into her haunted house and everything runs smoothly. Mitch had even gotten back in a costume after his fiasco at work that day. Gloria had been cheered up by Jay’s story of a man, alone in a diner who fell in love with a beautiful woman who entered the diner without even hearing her voice.

The final tag scene is of the family poking fun at Gloria and saying the funny things she’s said to them. In Jay’s mock interview/voiceover he states that he used to handle explosives in the military for a short time. He explains that they were pretty safe, but not for a long period of time. Then Gloria explodes with, “OK, enough!” and storms off.

And because you’re probably ‘dying’ to see the pictures of the characters in costume, you’re welcome!

The Family

Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett

Sarah Hyland as Haley Dunphy and Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker

Ariel Winter as Alex Dunphy

Rico Rodriguez as Manny Delgado and Nolan Gould as Luke Dunphy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween!

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Episode 5: Unplugged

Episode 5, “Unplugged,” aired on October 20, 2010, brought in almost 12 million viewers, which is slightly better than the previous week. This is actually the first time the number of viewers has increased this season.

Manny and Gloria are frustrated with a neighbor’s dog that barks non-stop, so Gloria confronts her neighbor about his barking dog. The neighbor tells them to ignore it like he does their parrot, which they don’t have (he was referring to Gloria‘s squawking). Later, the neighbor comes to Jay’s door accusing them of stealing his dog. Jay, in an documentary scene, informs us that Gloria is too comfortable with killing animals, like the time she chopped of a rat‘s head with a shovel. Jay later asks Manny if he thinks his mother did something with the dog; Manny tells him to not ask questions to which he doesn’t want answers. Jay goes to the garage to check out the shovel and a curious Manny joins him. Then Gloria catches them! Manny tells on Jay, who calls him a rat., which makes Manny freak out because his mother kills rats. After beating around the bush for a few minutes, Gloria confesses that she gave the dog to someone who has lots of room for the dog to run around.

Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Rico Rodriguez II as Manny Delgado, and Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett

At the Dunphy house, Claire and Phil tell the kids to stop using electronics at the breakfast table and are hit with many excuses, so Phil turns it into a game; who can last the longest? It’s determined that Luke will win a chicken pot-pie if he wins, Alex will win a new computer, Haley will win a car. Phil insists that he will be able to outlast the children. Luke is the first kid to throw the contest to watch a Youtube video about a parasailing donkey. Alex is next to give in because she made a B on a paper, instead of her typical A. Haley seems like a tough competitor though. Claire finds that even though she is off the internet, the rest of the world is not. She gets flustered, uses the computer, and gets caught, leaving only Phil and Haley in the contest. While Phil reads the paper, he finds out that his fantasy football team is not doing well; he is about to give in when they hear Haley laughing, while alone, in her room. When they catch her talking on a phone, Phil immediately gets online without knowing that Haley had actually carved a bar of soap into a phone, thus making her win the competition. Stunned, Claire and Phil have to tell her that she will not get a car because they never thought she’d actually last that long.

Ariel Winter as Alex Dunphy, Nolan Gould as Luke Dunphy, Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy, and Sarah Hyland as Haley Dunphy

Meanwhile, Mitch finds out that all of Lily’s friends are already enrolled in pre-school, a scheme set up by their parents. Mitch calls Claire to get them an interview at Wagon Wheel Daycare. While there, they learn from the receptionist that they could easily get Lily into any school they want due to their diversity. Mitch sets up an interview at Billingsly academy, the “Harvard of preschool.” Claire calls to tell him they got into Wagon Wheel, but Mitch wants to take his chances for Billingsly, because it’s the first time being gay gives him a competitive advantage. Their interview is going great and both men are excited about Lily attending this school, but their confidence is shattered when a disabled, interracial couple with a black baby also come in for an interview. While meeting with the dean, Cam does a horribly offensive, yet humorous Native American impression out of desperation.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett and Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker

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Episode 4: Strangers on a Treadmill

Episode 4, “Strangers on a Treadmill,” which aired October 6, 2010, pulled in about 11.4 million viewers, which didn’t change much from the previous week’s episode.

In this episode, Phil is asked to be the emcee at a realtor’s banquet, but Claire doesn’t have the heart to tell him that he’s not funny. Cam starts exercising, but when he works out, he wears revealing and unflattering biker shorts and Mitch doesn’t have the heart to tell him.

Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett

When Mitch and Claire workout (on treadmills) together, the devise a scheme to do each other’s dirty work: Claire will tell Cam about his unflattering shorts, and Mitch will tell Phil about his unfunny jokes. Claire goes to take Cam some old baby clothes and casually brings up how she wished people would tell her when she wears something unflattering which segues into telling Cam about his shorts. Cam gets upset and goes into the other room to cry. Mitch goes to the Dunphy house to take Phil some wine and asks to hear his jokes for the banquet. Phil tells his first joke and Mitch doesn’t laugh, but when he is put on the spot, Mitch fails to accomplish his task and says it just took him a minute to get the joke. Later, Claire calls Mitch to ask why he didn’t go through with it, and while they are talking, Cam hears Mitch talking about his shorts, so he goes to the other room to cry again.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett and Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy

While Mitch and Cam talk later, Cam reveals to Mitch that he never really liked his beard. Mitch goes to the bathroom to shave and prove his love. When he starts the first cut, Cam stops him and tells him the fact that he would do that is enough. This sweet moment is short-lived, however, when Cam asks Mitch to do his shoulders. Mitch picks up the shaving cream and razor, but Cam meant a massage, not a shave! Embarrassing misunderstanding = humor!

At the realtor’s banquet, Claire takes Phil’s index cards with his jokes on them so that he won’t embarrass himself when speaking. When he is called up to the podium, we believe he is just going to play it straight and not tell jokes at all, but then he starts making jokes on the spot which turn out to actually be funny. When Phil and Claire come back home, Phil tells Claire he knows she stole his index cards but he is grateful because he knows why she did. She apologizes states that she feels the need to protect her family. Phil exclaims that it’s her job to pick them up when they fall. They then see Alex sitting in the dark living room, so Claire goes to pick her up and be a good parent.

Now why was Alex upset? Well, Haley overheard her sister talking to a popular girl on the phone and criticizing her for being too nice and not cool. Haley decides to help Alex seem more popular to this girl. Alex succeeds in being standoffish to the popular girl and even starts to pull it off without her sister’s help, but then she loses it and crumbles. It was really funny to listen to the awkward conversations between Alex and the popular girl.

Meanwhile, Gloria makes Jay attend the quinceañera of one of his employee’s daughter because she thinks he doesn’t know or care about his employees. At the quinceañera, Jay pretends to know everybody and even offers money to Manny to find out people’s names. Gloria finds out from the bartender that they are at the wrong party, an engagement party, but she doesn’t tell Jay, and lets him gloat. Jay mistakenly gets up to make a toast for the quinceañera while the engaged couple dances. He starts to freak out when the dance gets intimate, and that’s when Gloria steps in to stop Jay.

Sofia Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett and Ed O'Neill as Jay Pritchett

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Episode 3: Earthquake

The third episode of the season, “Earthquake,” obtained about 11.4 million viewers, which is about half a million less than the previous week.

In the beginning, Haley wants to take a two hour break from studying for her SATs to go to a party but Claire will not let her go. Mitch and Cam are invited to a party by their old friend Pepper, but they don’t really want to attend. Gloria and Manny are getting ready to go to church but Jay wants to go golfing instead and insists that God exists in nature.

Then… an EARTHQUAKE HITS! Hard to see it coming with that title, right?

Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett and Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker

 

Anyway, after the earthquake, Claire gets stuck in the bathroom with the plumber who was there to fix there pipes. Phil uses this newly found free time to strap the cupboard, which almost fell on top of Luke, to the wall. Because Phil was supposed to have already done this task, he stalls and makes excuses to leave Claire in the bathroom longer. Haley sees an opportunity to escape and go to the party. Claire hears Haley from within the bathroom and the two confront each other which leads to Haley calling her mother a “psycho control freak!” Since they’re stuck with each other, Claire and the plumber share a conversation about parenting; Claire realizes that her mother, too, was a psycho control freak and the reason she and Haley butt heads so much is because they are so similar. A clever joke I feel the need to mention: before the earthquake, Phil had fixed one of the steps that was loose, but he trips over it after the earthquake, suggesting he didn’t fix it very well. When Claire eventually frees herself from the bathroom, she trips over the step, also. I feel the writers do a really good job incorporating things people laugh at everyday, like people tripping, into the show.

Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy and guest star Vic Polizos as the plumber

Mitch and Cam decide to use the earthquake as an excuse to get out of going to Pepper’s party, claiming it cause some major damage to their home. Their plan backfires when Pepper insists on coming over to help them clean up the mess. Since there is no mess, Mitch starts to make one by breaking windows and plates. Mitch then calls Cam a mob wife; he doesn’t like to lie, but reaps benefits from it (like a mink coat that “fell off a truck”). When Pepper, played by Nathan Lane, arrives, Cam confesses their lie, and Pepper gets upset because everyone else had cancelled on his party. In an effort to cheer him up, Mitch tells Pepper that the reason they cancelled was because Cam has feelings for him.

Guest star Nathan Lane as Pepper Saltman with Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Gloria claims that the earthquake is a sign to Jay that he needs to go to church, but he insists that God would not disrupt the entire city just for him. Manny decides to go golfing with Jay after he claimed that God is in nature. While on the golf course, Manny keeps asking questions about God and Heaven. Jay answers the best he can, but Manny always has a more difficult follow up question for Jay; Manny realizes he should have gone to church with his mother. Back at home, Manny is asking Gloria more tough questions about heaven. To put his mind at ease she explains that Heaven has rainbows and butterflies, but that has the opposite effect on Manny,… who is scared of butterflies!

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