Modern Family recap: Back to School

Phil gives Haley the college experience while Claire takes a night off -- with Gilles Marini!
Ep. 06 | Aired Oct 19, 2011

TO SERVE AND PROTECT: Phil shares a sweet father-daughter moment with Haley.

Peter Hopper Stone/ABC

Forgive me if I'm out of the loop, but what are fans of Phil Dunphy called? Philistines? Phillionaires? Are we suffering from Phil-iac Disease? Regardless, Modern Family seems pretty committed to securing Ty Burrell's Emmy next year and increasing my love for this man in every episode -- and I don't say that just because he has amazing toe-touch skills.

This week, Phil took Haley on a tour of his old college stomping grounds, hoping to get her excited about the idea of college. Go, Bullfrogs! Erm, dogs. (Raise your hand if you want Phil's weird bark-croak hybrid as your ringtone!)

Meanwhile, Jay was trying to find a way to spend more time with Gloria and planned on doing so by joining Gloria for her Colombian soap, Fuego y Hielo. But that hit a snag when he found himself more interested in it than Gloria, who was preoccupied with other Manny-related matters. Why haven't men on TV learned that they're always going to end up obsessed with foreign soaps? Between the boobs, the hair and the drama, there's no resisting it. Jay should know this better than anyone. Newsflash, Jay! You married Fuego y Hielo... and her two friends.

With Phil away, Claire set out to re-discover her inner fuego by going out with Cam and Mitchell (and ditching a moms' night viewing of Gone With the Wind). But while Cam and Mitchell were interested in an evening of family dining and potpies, Claire was looking for wine and second-hand smoke. But instead of second-hand smoke she got first-hand smokin' hot Gilles Marini. Upgrade -- and cancer-free!

After she ribbed Mitchell and Cam for their domestic ways, they took her to an event where she met Marini, who had accompanied a friend of Mitch and Cam's to the event. Awww, just Claire and her gays! The one hitch? Sexy Frenchman wasn't gay, which later came as a big surprise to Claire who had spent much of the night trying on dresses in front of him at the boutique opening. We'll come back to this.

Back at Phil's alma mater, Phil introduced Haley to the wonder of on-campus chicken wings. And while there, Haley surprisingly resisted the urge to go hang out with kids her own age and instead decided to hang out with her dad. I can't decide if I loved the Haley's sticky-chickened face or their cute exchange (detailed in quotables!) better. But it all melted my heart. It was as sweet as it was messy -- sort of like a good chicken wing.

After Haley took off with his blessing, all seemed well until Phil learned via Haley's GPS tracking that she was at the Phi Chi house, which in Greek-speak I assume means it's a Lifetime Movie of the Week waiting to happen. Phil to the rescue! And by rescue, I mean he went, misinterpreted a situation and ended up embarrassing Haley.

Over at Jay's there was also a healthy amount of embarrassment going on. Gloria had been worried about Manny, who had received a mysterious package in the mail that he declined to share with her. Jay was convinced it was better off to leave the situation alone, giving her the ol' "boys will be boys" excuse. But Manny's not a normal boy. He'll always choose poems over Playboys and Pavarotti over porn. And the mere idea that he would dabble in the latter sent Gloria on a rampage. Luckily it was much ado about nothing. Manny had ordered a device online (still not dirty… wait for it… ) that was meant to make him taller. Lucky for Manny, Jay was there to give him some sage advice… and rescue him from the terrifying hold of this stretching device. Manny was mortified, but Jay diffused the situation in that loving way that has become his hallmark.

There was also a subplot that had Mitchell and Cam accidentally getting involved in a valet mix-up and stealing the car of a man, only to be later attacked by his baseball bat-wielding, scorned wife when they tried to return the car to his home. I don't even want to call these subplots anymore. They're simply "reasons to make Cam scream." And I'm perfectly okay with that. Keep 'em coming!

Next: The night's best lines!

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