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"Bad Hair Day" is the sixteenth episode from Season 4 of Modern Family, it aired on February 20, 2013.

Plot Summary

Claire runs into an old lover at her college reunion. A mishap causes Cam to give the baby a disastrous haircut, and Jay has to put his bowling match on hold to build up Manny's confidence.

Episode Description

Phil and Claire have very exciting days ahead of them, albeit for different reasons. Claire's heading to her college reunion without Phil, which means she could reconnect with a few old flames. And Phil's going to join Jay on his bowling team. He breaks in his new bowling slipping and falling a lot. As Cameron readies the house for their Oscar party with all sorts of pictures of Lily dressed as Oscar winners, Mitch is borrowing a few items from Gloria. She then finds out from Jay about his second-place prize from the bowling tournament last year: a spa card that expires that day. Well, one rolled ankle later, and she's managed to guilt Mitchell into taking care of baby Joe. Which works just fine for Cam, since Lily is clearly too lazy to pose for any more pictures...after six hours.

Jay has a bit of a crisis, since he really wants to win the tournament vs. his big rival, Closets Closets Closets Closets. With Gloria "at the doctor," he has to deal with Manny being depressed about losing a third singing audition. Jay doesn't want to deal with it for very long, particularly given how long Manny decides to shop to get out of his depression, so he sticks Manny on the bus to get him home. But he feels guilty and chases after the bus, demanding Manny sing because Manny's only problem is singing in front of other people. So at Jay's command, Manny serenades the entire bus with some That's Life from Frank Sinatra and kills it.

Phil having found out he's been replaced on the bowling team, gets depressed and decides to join Claire at her college reunion which is a bit of a mistake because he runs into Tater, who had quite the crush on Claire in college. Much to Phil's surprise. He keeps marking his territory around Tater. (PHIL: She saw, she liked, she got pregnant, she had to marry me.) Only then he realizes it wasn't Tater who Claire dated in college right before him. She called him Tater because she Heimliched him when he choked on a tater tot. It was Professor Cook whom Phil has to watch out for. And sure enough, he tries to impress Professor Cook with his knowledge of the Impressionists. (PHIL: You can see the influence of the early Impressionists, the Rich Little's, the Frank Gorshin's on the Jimmy Fallon's of today.) But the party in Professor Cook's living room, which doubles as a study...and a bedroom...and comes complete with an alcoholic ex-student for a wife...puts everything into perspective for both Claire and Phil. Claire has never felt better that she married Phil, and Phil's glad there are no more ex-boyfriends he has to worry about. As far as he knows.

Mitchell and Cameron return home with baby Joe and a big problem. Lily glued one of Cam's wigs onto Joe's head. Steaming it off didn't work, nor did Cameron's Plan B. Or Plan Bieber, as it were. So Plan C it was: drop the baby off with a horrible haircut and run like hell. (CAMERON: You could have let me do it; I have 32 hours of Vidal Sassoon training. I left over creative differences.) Delayed by Jay's bowling triumph, Mitchell offers to join Cam in Missouri for a week (TEN DAYS!) if he takes the fall for both of them. Before Cam can fess up (or at least pretend Gloria broke his chafing dish), Gloria has a bone to pick with Luke, who keeps leaving things out. Cam trades the solo in the musical for Manny for the baby's hair. Manny then trades the blame to Luke in order to get the signature on a failing grade forged. As Luke is about to get into trouble for eating the last piece of cake that Gloria's mother sent from Colombia, he blackmails Jay for having a ringer on his bowling team. Amazingly, Jay has the perfect excuse. He cut baby Joe's hair just like his own father used to cut his hair but he screwed it up. Gloria's happy someone had the guts to admit the truth as she shooes everybody out of the house, and pulls a Keyser Soze at the end of The Usual Suspects.

By the way, the bowling shoes? Apparently, only Phil can slip in them. Alex can't, Haley can't, and Luke...well, he can.

Main Cast

(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring



  • David Faustino (who plays Tater in this episode) played Bud Bundy on Married...with Children, which also starred Ed O'Neill, who is most famous in the sitcom as Al Bundy. But they do not share any scenes together in this episode.
  • This is the first time Jay's rival Earl Chambers is mentioned.
  • This episode does not feature any recurring characters.

Cultural References