Cameron is putting on the school production of "Phantom of the Opera", but when their star falls ill, Manny pulls all the stops to land the lead - even if that means going against Luke. Meanwhile, Jay teaches Phil to golf and they wind up in a golf-off with Pepper and Mitch; Gloria takes Alex along on errands, which include a visit to a psychic; and Claire's adventures in babysitting Joe and Lily become a comedy of errors.
Everyone is up in arms. Claire agrees to take care of Joe while Jay tries (emphasis on tried) to teach Phil how to play golf so he can be more client-friendly. Also, it will help Jay to learn patience, something Gloria says he needs when taking care of a newborn. Meanwhile, Cameron's class is doing The Phantom of the Opera and Luke can't get anybody to attend to see the scenery he painted, although Manny wants to step in for the lead, who's gotten sick, probably from chewing on the scenery, according to Manny but it turns out the kid has mono. Cam's panicking because he's afraid his funding will be cut. That is, until one of the kids makes fun of Luke's work on the scenery which prompts Luke to prove he can sing better than the kid with mono. And he can...really, really well. Cam has his Phantom, much to Manny's chagrin.
CAMERON: He knows the music, he sings like a nightingale, and he has a theatrical madness in his eyes you just can't teach.
MANNY: That's from all the paint.
Of course, Manny still wants the role, so he offers to tell Luke the good news. He decides to try the ol' reverse psychology on Luke, saying he can do the role and won't screw everything up and get mocked by all the cool kids. He's one of them now: the theater geeks. Manny's plan works. Luke turns down Cam's offer to play the lead, right in front of the school's theater critic. However, Cameron soldiers on with Manny suggesting that he play the role, which Cameron accepts, because he was about to play the part himself.
Mitchell catches up to Jay and Phil on the golf course, accompanied by Pepper. It turns out to be by design as Mitch has spent six months getting golf lessons from Pepper just so he can show up Jay, who never thought his son could be good at sports. Mitchell should demand his money back from Pepper because all his lessons did was teach Mitchell how to drive his club into the ground.
While Claire obsesses over almost tripping and falling on one of Phil's golf balls, Haley and Dylan have taken it upon themselves to babysit Lily and Joseph. Actually, Dylan's taking care of both of them and doing a really good job, feeding Joseph his bottle and teaching Lily how to play guitar. Haley even made Lily her favorite lunch. In fact, things will go even more smoothly once Claire leaves them alone. (DYLAN: Good, she's gone. Get your camera and I'm going to make his little hand flip us off again.)
Gloria has to get a bunch of things ready for the musical. Translation, she makes Alex carry a heavy cooler of dry ice because she just had a baby. (ALEX: Really? I've watched you carry Manny to bed.) But Gloria has enough time to go see her psychic, which naturally made Alex want to chortle if she could chortle while carrying a heavy cooler of dry ice because Gloria just had a baby. Gloria convinces her to go to her psychic. Alex is naturally skeptical, and Gloria explains to the psychic that Alex doesn't have a boyfriend.
PSYCHIC: But she will soon.
ALEX: (shushing Gloria) Go on.
Alex tries to prove the psychic's a fake, so she makes up a few lines to respond to the psychic to make it sound like she's being convinced. Like she was going to a renaissance faire after the psychic saw her boyfriend on a horse. Gloria's loving it, so Alex keeps feeding the psychic false information.
ALEX: It's like Scrabble with Haley. After awhile, you're just playing against yourself.
On the golf course, Mitchell is doing horribly, and Pepper gives him a good slap. Pepper is sick and tired of Mitchell holding back. (PEPPER: That man has been Mitch-slapping you all of your life.) It's time to get angry and aggressive. It certainly works for Phil, who gets read the riot act by Jay, who has had enough of his horrible play. And like so many bad golfers, when they're angry enough, they make a great shot. Jay apologizes for yelling at him but Phil wants him to keep it up, just like his old tumbling instructor in college used to. So Jay gives him both barrels (which makes Phil cry) but Pepper said Jay was talking to ten-year-old and twelve-year-old Mitch as well. He gets mad, hits the shot, and has the same result.
MITCHELL: (to the shot) Suck it, Nancy!
PEPPER: I was just trying to help.
Claire's obsession with tripping and falling is starting to get in the way of Dylan successfully putting Joseph to bed. Haley has thoughts of starting her own family, and Claire thinks she'll put a stop to that by making a lot of noise to make Joseph wake up and cry. It doesn't work. Not even by trying to set off the smoke detector, which Lily busts her on, no less. However, it turns out Haley thought she did all the work today and Dylan takes exception to that. He goes home, Haley goes to her room, and Claire's successful in setting off the smoke detector and getting Joseph to cry just in time for her to take care of him all by herself.
Back on the course, it's down to the final hole, and Mitchell needs to sink a putt to win the match. Phil likes what Jay has done for him, given that his own father was often too supportive. (PHIL: He even set up my tumbling equipment and wanted to be the loudest voice in the crowd. "Hey everybody! Check out my son's equipment!") Jay wishes Mitchell good luck and says he's proud of him no matter what, but Pepper puts a stop to that. Jay's Cats in the Cradle-ing him, trying to get Mitch to lose his angry edge. Pepper did the same thing to his Navy SEAL son but not to worry, Mitchell drops that putt in the bottom of the cup. Jay congratulates him and Mitchell believes him when Jay says that he wasn't Cats in the Cradle-ing him. Jay hates the song, natch, but Phil's never even heard it so Pepper plays it for them, and the waterworks start. Mitch admits he ought to have golfed with Jay sooner, and Jay admits that he never made the time, and Phil's so upset about not going to Luke's play, he skips golfing with his client and runs to the school.
Manny's singing is...not good but since there's no time, Cameron plays Luke's performance and tells him to copy it. Manny admits Luke can sing, so he talks Luke into performing. Alex ends up with a bit of karmic retribution, because a cute guy sits next to her wearing a school sweater with a knight on it. Phil and Claire are wonderfully surprised to see Luke on stage. Phil even cries, partly because his father comes to see the performance. The episode ends on a happy note as it turns that Phil's client loves trampolines as much as Phil does, so he still gets the commission.
(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)
- Jay Pritchett
- Gloria Pritchett
- Manny Delgado
- Joe Pritchett
- Claire Dunphy
- Phil Dunphy
- Haley Dunphy
- Alex Dunphy
- Luke Dunphy
- Mitchell Pritchett
- Cameron Tucker
- Lily Tucker-Pritchett
- Nathan Lane as Pepper Saltzman
- Reid Ewing as Dylan Marshall
- Fred Willard as Frank Dunphy
- Norma Maldonado as Psychic
- Duncan Burrell as Carl
- Piper MacKenzie Harris as Maureen
- Molly Lamont as Manny's Crush
- Jarrod Bailey as Alex's Knight
- Lucia Vecchio as Debbie
- Nicholas Furu as Doug
- Frank Dunphy makes his third appearance, after "Undeck the Halls" and "Travels with Scout".
- Pepper Saltzman makes his third appearance, after "Earthquake" and "Boys' Night".
- Jay was previously seen playing golf in "Fifteen Percent" and "Earthquake".
- Dylan's nineteeth appearance.
- Luke talks about Michelangelo painting the "Sixteenth Chapel" (Sistine Chapel).
- Cam's class perform The Phantom of the Opera.
- The song "Cat's in the Cradle" features at the end.
- Manny's line about his quarrel being not with Luke but God, is a reference to Amadeus.
- The title is a reference to the movie A Night At The Opera or album by Queen A Night At The Opera.