"Do Not Push" is the second episode from Season 6 of Modern Family, it aired on October 1, 2014.

Plot Summary

It's Jay and Gloria's anniversary and they must decide between a sentimental and an expensive gift. The Dunphys head to Caltech for Alex's college tour and while Claire is busy convincing her to choose this school and stay close to home, Phil, Luke, and Haley branch off to participate in a psych experiment. Mitchell and Cameron are taking a new family portrait with Lily to replace the old one above their mantel, but Lily gives some serious face.

Episode Description

The Dunphys are visiting Caltech on a tour of the campus. Claire pushes Alex to go to Caltech instead of MIT, since it is less than an hour away from their home, making it easier for the family to see her. Alex, however, wants to get as far away from her family as she could. But later, Alex meets Jason Darling, a cute, friendly, smart boy who wants to go to Caltech because it has one of the best-applied physics programs in the country, even though he would rather go to school closer to home. This makes Alex change her mind and, when Claire apologizes for pushing her into going to Caltech, Alex tells her that she will give the school some thought, making Claire happy.

While Claire goes with Alex on the tour, Phil, Luke, and Haley (Sarah Hyland) sign up to be part of an experiment being conducted at the university. They are left in a waiting room where they notice a red button with a label that says "Do Not Push". Phil concludes they are already in the middle of the experiment thinking that scientists are surveying them from the other side of a one-way mirror to see if they will push the button or not. Luke really wants to push that big red button but Phil stops him, saying that he needs to follow the rules. Luke counters by saying Phil is not upset at him for cutting class but for the reason he does so: he is making a film (about a superhero who was like a hummingbird and had a heartbeat of 1,000 times a minute) and needs to finish a scene. Phil breaks down crying, knowing he would have done the same thing in Luke's situation. He lets Luke push the button, but they are both stopped by Haley. She is suddenly wracked with guilt because she breaks the rules all the time, and now she is living in her parents' basement with no future. She wants everybody to follow the rules for once. Phil and Luke convince her she has talents of her own, and all three of them decide to be united. Finally, all three of them decide to push the button together. Soon after, they learn that the button was not the experiment and that the label was there to truly keep anyone from activating the broken air conditioning system. The lab assistant is not happy because none of this was the experiment: he just wanted them to fill out a questionnaire.

Jay and Gloria have anniversary gifts to give each other. Jay is worried because he doesn't think he did enough. And since he knows Manny wrapped Gloria's gift for him, he gets him to confess she bought him a Panerai watch that Jay has been lusting over for a while. Jay's gift to her is a ceramic bunny he made in a class because that is his first pet name for Gloria. Manny convinces Jay it's still a wonderful gift, so Jay gives it to her, saying he put a lot into it. Gloria smashes the bunny, thinking there is jewelry inside. Jay is embarrassed to tell her the truth and he blames the jeweler forgetting put the bracelet inside the bunny and goes to the store to buy her one. Manny confronts Gloria about it when Jay is gone and she is horrified she broke his bunny. She quickly glues it back together and thanks Jay when he comes home with the bracelet. She then gives him his gift: a bookmark made out of all the ticket stubs to the movies they saw together in their first year as a couple. Which Jay loves about as much as Gloria loves the bunny. Both of them agree to return the more expensive gifts, but Manny tells them to just keep the watch and bracelet, which they agree happily.

Meanwhile, Mitchell and Cameron want to take a new family portrait, since the previous photo did not include Lily. While taking shots of the picture, they notice that Lily's smile is rather forced than natural, making her look unflattering. Needless to say, Mitchell and Cameron are trying to be delicate about how to tell her. They ask her to look at the picture and see if there's something they could improve on, but Lily just says that Cameron's face might need a little powder. Finally, they go for blunt honesty, and it backfired badly. Now Lily thinks she has a horrible smile, that she is ugly, and that she is never going to leave her room again. Mitchell and Cameron are horrified but have to give Lily credit for being over-dramatic. Mitchell calls Claire, who tells him to just let her smile the way she wants. Hearing this, Mitchell and Cameron finally put the taken photo above the mantel and apologize to Lily for making her feeling so bad. They tell her that she's beautiful and that they don't want to change anything about her. That is until they see that she laughs obnoxiously and think that that's got to go.

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

  • Caleb Hoffman as Jason Darling
  • Rebecca Mozo as Admissions Officer
  • Patrick Carlyle as Researcher
  • Aaron Landon as Slow Kid


  • This is the third episode that features a family portrait, after "Family Portrait" and "Sleeper". However, it's the first episode in which the Pritchett-Tucker family is the only family concerned.
  • Mitchell and Cameron decide to take a new photo with Lily to replace the one above their mantel, seen in almost every episode.
  • This is the fourth time that the film Footloose is mentioned, after "When Good Kids Go Bad", "Mistery Date", and "And One to Grow On".


  • Jay and Gloria celebrate their wedding anniversary. In fact, this is the first episode that focuses on their anniversary.
  • Jay used to call Gloria "bunny" and "sexy pants" when they started dating.

Cultural References

  • Claire wants Alex to go to Caltech, but Alex wants to go to MIT.
  • Gloria buys Jay a Panerai watch for their anniversary.
  • Cameron says that in the photo they took he could be less "Ryan Gosling" and a little more "every man".
  • When Alex sees that Claire is so excited about the college tour, she tells her that she needs to calm down as that's not Oprah's Favorite Things.
  • The admissions officer mentions Carl D. Anderson.
  • Jason tells Alex that he has Asperger's to think he is interesting.
  • Luke says that Steve Jobs, Doug Henning, and Ren McCormack from Footloose did not follow every rule.