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"Benched" is the twentieth episode from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on April 14, 2010.

Plot Summary

Phil and Jay vie for the same coaching position on Manny and Luke's basketball team. Mitchell gets a job interview. Gloria and Claire talk about their kids growing up.

Episode Description

It's BBQ night at Phil and Claire's house. Of course, Jay MUST control the grill, over Phil's protests. After all, those steaks were done five minutes ago. But Phil is sympathetic to it.

PHIL: It's just Jay being Jay. But one day, I'm going to be a grandfather and everybody better hide their meat.

The roles are a bit reversed with Mitchell and Cameron right now. Mitch is enjoying his time as a stay-at-home dad (so he says), and Cameron can't get enough of his 40% discount at the greeting card store where he works part-time now. Naturally, things can't stay this way and the relationship survive. One of Jay's golfing pals, Charlie Bingham, might have a job for Mitchell, and they plan to meet at his beach house this weekend. Mitchell and Cam discuss it. More like letting the other person decide and quietly suffer because they're not currently doing the thing they want (Mitch working and Cam being a stay-at-home dad/trophy wife) but don't want to tick their partner off. Mitchell decides to take the meeting rather than having to plan the death of Dora the Explorer.

Luke and Manny play on a basketball team where the coach is mean and verbally abusive. Claire and Gloria have already stated their disdain for him, and Phil has threatened to break out "The Captain and Tennille." Jay thinks that they're overreacting, but the evidence is out there. The coach is doing nothing but calling his players names, and one too many beratings of Manny and Luke later, Phil asks the coach to be more positive. That obviously didn't work, so Jay threatens the coach, who decides to quit in the middle of the game. Phil berates Jay, saying he was taking care of it. Obviously, he broke out Peaches and Herb. ("That's The Captain and Tennille").

Phil tells the team he is the new coach, but Jay decides he will be the new coach. But Phil can be the assistant...if he can round up some water for the guys. Even though Jay only coached football and Phil coached basketball, he decides to back off because there's a fine line with fathers-in-law between respecting them and not letting them push you around. On the other hand, Manny could use more of the old-school tough love than the s-mothering that Gloria is giving him, which is getting him grief from the other players.

Claire doesn't feel like consoling Phil, so she takes Alex to buy some clothes. Alex, however, asks her to leave so she can hang out with her friends from school. It's official: Alex is a teenager, and Claire is depressed. Fortunately, Gloria stops by with Lily and Claire is more than happy to go take Lily to buy a new dress, leaving Gloria in the lurch. Six dresses later, Gloria wants her baby time with Lily. But she sees Alex blow off Claire again and sympathizes. Gloria is just as upset for Manny chasing her out of the gym as Claire was about Alex. They love hanging out with Lily because she won't tell them to back off and always loves them.

CLAIRE: You know what we should do?

GLORIA: Get pregnant!

CLAIRE: Actually, I was going to suggest ice cream.

GLORIA: OK. We do yours first.

Alex eventually returns and tells Claire she still loves her. Of course, she only buttered Claire up to borrow some money to go out with her friends. Claire is more than happy to give it to her. She even gives her extra because she tells Alex she'll need to buy a training bra front of her friends, and she drives off talking about how her revenge has been a success.

Mitchell is impressed by Charlie Bingham's house. It even has a turntable in the driveway to point your car back out. With the rubber surfing outfit he greets Mitchell and Cameron with...they get down to business. Mitchell talks about his job, but Cam wants to point out that Mitchell used to be a great figure skater, makes sure he sucks out every last drop of his drink, and accidentally knocks over a vase in Charlie's house. Charlie still wants to offer him a job managing how he spends his money with environmental groups, but Mitchell has to discuss the situation with his "bull in a China shop". They go into the garage. Cameron couldn't relax in that house because he really wanted Mitchell to take the job but thought he would be preventing Mitchell from quality dad time with Lily. Mitchell desperately wants the job, and Cameron wants desperately for him to have the job. They agree, hug, and go back into the house...if they can unlock the garage door. Mitchell hits what he thinks is the opener, but it was the turntable outside, which proceeds to smash their car into another car. A Ferrari, no less. Mitchell will definitely take the job, since it'll take time to pay for the damages.

Jay can't get the kids to do anything on the court and is about to lose it. He concedes defeat and begs Phil to coach. Phil wants Jay to admit that he can do some things better than him, and that his steaks would have been just as good. Jay relents, Phil coaches, and the kids still lose the game. But at least they're playing better.

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

Guest Starring


  • Mitchell gets a new job in this episode, after he left in "Truth Be Told".
  • Cameron mentions when Mitchell left ice skating because Claire (who formed an ice-skating team with Mitchell) didn't want to skate anymore, which was previously mentioned in "En Garde".


  • Phil went to trapeze school.
  • Haley does not appear.
  • The first appearance of Charlie Bingham.


Greek adaptation

  • While Haley is absent in the original version of this episode, her counterpart Danai does appear in the Greek version of this episode. She makes a brief cameo in the beginning and doesn't speak, then later she appears trying to bake and also is seen in an interview.
  • In the original version, Jay threatens to throw a shoe at Coach Stupak's head. Stupak says to Jay and Phil "You think you can do a better job?", throws the clipboard at Phil which misses him, says "You coach!" and walks away. In the Greek version, Takis threatens to slap Stupak's counterpart to slap him repeatedly, then he just hands the clipboard to Takis, pats him on the shoulder 2 times, gives him a kind of smirking smile and leaves.

Cultural References

  • Mitchell says being a stay-at-home dad makes him want to kill Dora the Explorer.
  • Cameron thinks that Charlie Bingham seems like Batman.