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.
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.
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.