"After the Fire" is the eighth episode from Season 3 of Modern Family, it aired on November 16, 2011.

Plot Summary

The family collects goods for a family whose house burned down. Jay makes an embarrassing remark to Phil during a massage. Claire is jealous of Mitchell's relationship with Gloria. Meanwhile, Cam, Haley and Alex struggle with a moving van in a parking lot.

Episode Description

After a neighbor's home burns down, the whole family rallies and organizes a community drive to help do some good. Claire is leading the charge; she is Wonder Woman, according to Phil. Jay thought it was a terrible tragedy, although the closet he built for them survived the fire, and Cameron couldn't sleep for days. Mitchell won't let him take anything for it. Since some people can sleepwalk or even sleep-drive because of pills like that. Cameron's reaction is much worse: he sleeps dressed as a clown (sleep-clown).

While Luke and Manny decide to try out the webcam helicopter Gloria donated to the Rand's son (formerly going to Manny), Haley and Alex figured out the perfect way to not have to work: yell and scream at each other. Jay overdoes the lifting and throws out his back, meaning Cameron has to go get the truck. A little bragging about the combine he drove in high school helped, and now Alex and Haley have to help Uncle Cam sweep out the truck for dust, spiders, and whatever the truck was last used to transport. It turns out Phil can help Jay with his lower back. Everybody recommends Phil, who was a licensed masseur before being bit by the real estate agent bug. Mitchell even agrees Phil got this twinge in his back taken care of. Jay finally relented.

Gloria, meanwhile, donated a box of dresses and a box of snicker-snackers, which Claire found unendingly funny and had to mock her about behind her back. Mitch thought she was going a bit over the line, but Claire thought it was harmless fun. Then she accidentally knocked over the box of snicker-snackers. She defends herself saying that she broke a vase she gave Gloria, but Mitch gave it first to Claire.

Cam drove the truck, but Haley decided to continue riding Alex about her choice of attire, even asking Alex's future prom date (Cam) to give her fashion advice, since he was the expert. Cam was getting a bit offended by all of this. He expected it from Jay's generation but not the kids'. They stop for a burger and return to find the truck very wedged in. Alex and Haley offer to guide him out, but he's having none of it. After almost hitting someone, a half dozen sudden stops, and Haley and Alex even resorting to holding each other's hands, Cam sends them out to guide him.

Jay's biggest problem with Phil is that he overdoes everything to win Jay's approval. He asked Phil for one thing: hook up his wireless printer. Jay has yet to hear the end of that. And based on the incense Phil was burning as Jay lay down on the massage table, things weren't improving.

Finally Phil was ready. He jumps on top of Jay (literally) and gets started. Jay's protesting like a madman...and then the pain starts going away. Claire was right: Phil was a magician. Jay is really enjoying the massage. So much so, he lets slip three little words: I love you. THIS, I love THIS!

But to Phil's credit, the massage worked perfectly. Unfortunately, even Gloria thought Jay was screwed when he told her about saying "I love you" to Phil. But at least she has Mitchell to go shopping the same outlet store where Manny drops off his clothes. Claire is thinking Mitchell has mommy issues. It was this way with their old mom, and now it's with their new mom.

It turns out, Phil reacted to a text from two agents at his office who were starting their own agency and wanted Phil to join for a big bump in pay. Phil ran out to tell someone and wanted to talk to Jay later on about what happened. He needed Jay's advice because he wasn't much for making great decisions under pressure...if the alpaca he once bought was any indication. (not a sweater, the actual animal).

Cam wasn't having much luck getting the truck out, and he refused help from a table of truckers at the restaurant. But it turns out he was trying to prove to Haley and Alex that a gay guy can do anything a straight guy can do. And if you'll pardon the pun, they straighten him out by letting him know he's not the only gay person in their lives and they thought he couldn't drive a truck because he was Cam, not because he was gay. Cam apologizes for jumping to conclusions and tries to get them out...of the dirt ramp they backed into.

Claire is upset that Mitchell seems to be cozying up to Gloria as if she was their mother, so Claire goes up to talk to Jay. She complains about how Mitchell is doing exactly what he did as a kid: making this private little club with Mom that she wasn't invited she lays on the bed next to Jay and puts her head gently on him. And she figures it out. Claire went downstairs to talk to Mitchell about it, admitting they chose teams during the divorce of Jay and DeDe. Since then, they had formed their own team and Claire was worried about it breaking up. Mitchell assured her they'd still be a team. And Claire apologized to Gloria for thinking she liked Mitchell better. Actually, she does. But Gloria asked Claire if she was truly her favorite person in the family, because she is not even her favorite Colombian person in the family.

Cameron, Haley, and Alex finally head home and run into Luke and Manny, who lost the helicopter. A couple of nerdy bullies found it, and refused to give it back. So Alex whips out the long hair and goes authoritative on the three nerds, who were clearly smitten with her, and gets the helicopter back.

Jay tries to escape from Phil to no avail. But Phil was nice enough to get to brass tacks and talk about the job. It's a big opportunity, but he has a stable job and three kids. And at least one of them is going to college. Jay tells him to ask himself one question: does he want this? Phil does, and he has his answer.

Main Cast

(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 (mentionned)

Guest Starring



  • Claire is 14 months older than Gloria.
  • The woman that gives Claire an aid box for the donation is named Cindy, regarding the press release of this episode. But she is unnamed during the episode.
  • Lily does not appear. However, she is mentioned by Mitch and Cam.
  • This is Alex's 50th episode.
  • The family reveals what will they rescue first if their house was on fire:
    • Jay: His first set of golf clubs.
    • Gloria: The engagement ring that Jay gave her.
    • Mitchell: Lily's adoption papers.
    • Cameron: Lily's adoption papers and his mother's recipe book.
    • Phil: All their family photos (that he keeps in his iPad, so his iPad).
    • Claire: Nothing (because having her family, she doesn't need anything else).
    • The neighbors aren't really mentioned as much.

Cultural References

  • Phil refers to Claire as "Wonder Woman".
  • The episode could be named after the 80's New Wave band of the same name.
  • When Cam says he's too sexy for the truck it is a parody of the Right Said Fred single "I'm Too Sexy".