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Modern Family Wiki

"En Garde" is the seventh episode from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on November 4, 2009.

Plot Summary

The whole family comes out to support Manny's new found interest: fencing. It turns out he's quite masterful in the sport, but Jay's proud enthusiasm triggers an old childhood wound for Mitchell. Meanwhile, Phil is determined to find where Luke's hidden talents lie.

Episode Description

We open with Manny at Mannys' fencing competition, we see that Gloria and Jay are there in support, we also see that Claire, Phil, Haley, Alex and Luke are there in support (well, Haley would rather be anywhere else), as well as Mitch, Lily and Cam; who is recording the whole thing. Jay and Gloria are the first to be "interviewed" where he says when he heard Manny wanted to fence, he was like sure: uncoordinated kid; lethal weapon, how can this go wrong? We come back to Manny who beats his opponent. Phil and Jay high five each other when this happens. We go back to Gloria and Jay's "interview" where Gloria asks Jay what he thinks about it now to which Jay says: "I'm proud of our little Zorro" Jay says that he worked with him a little but Manny does have the skills to fence, Gloria says that it is in Manny's blood making an example of his father: "His father was a master swordsman, he was an artist with his sword, I mean the way he throws the sword was

Gloria and Jay celebrate Manny winning.

 legendary." Jay tells Gloria that the moment he was having with Manny was literally just ruined by Gloria talking about his fathers' 'sword' to which Gloria apologises. We come back to Manny's fencing competition where Manny is still competing. Alex tells Haley that fencing does back to the 12th century and Haley replies with: "Do you know what’s even nerdier than fencing? Knowing when it began." Luke tells Alex that he doesn't think she is a nerd taking this as an offense as she considers herself a nerd because she's the smart one, in the Dunphy family. We then see Jay shout "Alright, that's my boy" And Mitch gives him a weird look. Mitchell, getting annoyed by Cams' camera being in the way of his face, asks Cameron if things would be easier if they suspended him from a crane.

Mitchell and Cameron are next to be "interviewed" as Cam explains that, "Any monkey can shoot a home movie, I pride myself on shooting home films." Mitchell jumps in with "But, Cameron you always just take things a little too far" Cameron defends himself telling Mitch that he doesn't. Mitchell gives Cam an example of Lukes' first birthday: "You brought a wind machine", Cameron interrupts him saying "To be fair, my vision was-" and gets cut off by Mitchell who again says: "You brough a wind machine!" and Cam protests with, "Who puts wheels on cribs?!" We come back to Manny's fencing competition, and Manny wins the round once again. Gloria then hugs Claire out of absolute joy and excitement, she then realises that it was unexpected and joyfully apologises, and Phil tells Gloria "That's okay". Haley exclaims that her phone has died and Alex manipultes Haley into thinking that her phone battery can charge if she rubs it against her hair, which she then unrighteously smiles at. Jay then tells Phil while playfully hitting and grabbing him that he used to go to friends' houses and see their kids trophies and it used to bug him because there was never a trophy in his house, Jay then hugs Gloria and says "not until this one" and playfully hits Phil again. It's evident that Phil actually finds Jays' playfull grabbing and hitting really really painful, but he laughs each one off, but tells Phil "That's a good grip" on the last one, while Mitchell awkwardly watches what Jay is doing to his brother-in-law. Phil then whispers to Claire: "Can we switch seats?". Mitchell tells Cameron that people are staring at him being the only Uncle there who is recording everything in a 'being-difficult' way and Jay tells Phil that he knows he's not supposed to care but "it's kind of cool to have a kid in your house who's the best at something." and Jay asks Phil if he knows what he means.

Claire and Phil are next to be "interviewed" as they say that their kids are great but they are 'great' at anything or they don't excceed at anything with skills: Alex is great at every single thing she tries, so she'll find her specialty, and "Haley is- Haley is so pretty. Gorgeous, gorgeous girl. So she can meet someone who's the best at something." and Luke "We dropped the ball a little bit on that one."


We are back with Manny and his fencing competition, where Manny is just announced the winner of the rounds, Gloria exclaims her excitment in Spanish to Manny and not understanding her, Jay says "What she said". Claire realises and tells Mitchell that Jay seems happier than Manny at Manny winning the competition and Mitchell sarcastically complains that it's Jay's "chance to be the father of a champion; we all know how the first time went", and then corrects himself to "second chance". Which evidently makes Claire asks if she said something wrong, and Mitchell tells her "No, no. I'm very happy for Manny." but then Claire hears him say "Everything's always about Claire" under his breath and we see Claire make a face on camera behind Mitchells' back. Jay then thanks everyone for coming to support Manny once again, slapping Phil over the back, huritng Phil badly to which Phil exclaims "Why!, Claire?!" Claire then takes Phil and their kids away. Cameron, whilst still recording everything follows Mitchell out of the place, and Mitchell exclaims "Really!?".

Mitchell explains the story: Mitchell and Claire: Ice Skaters.

 We are now at the household of Cam and Mitch, Mitchell tells Cameron that it seemed to have taken a while to get Lily to sleep, Cam then tells Mitch, "She's been asleep for 20 minutes. It just took me some time to sneak out without waking her up." Mitchell then makes a remark comparing Lily to Cam. Cam, over hearing Mitchells problem with Claire, wants to talk about the problem: "Let's talk about why you got your panties in a bunch." Mitchell dismisses this claim but Cameron is already caught up and knows the reason "Or could this have something to do with ice skating?". Cam and Mitch are next to be "interviewed", where Cameron ries to tell the story of Claire and Mitchell: Ice Skating but is interrupted by Mitchell: "This is interesting to no one.", Cameron then carries on but is again interrupted by Mitchell "Oh, for God's sakes, I'll tell the story." after having to correct Cam twice. Mitchell says "Yes, my sister and I were actually a very good team. We were called 'Fire and Nice' I was Fire, because of the red hair, and Claire was Nice, because it was ironic and she wasn't." Cam explains that Mitchell is still upset because Claire quit the team and right before a meet. Mitch then explains the 'meet': "The 13-and-under regional championships. Just the Emerald City at the end of my yellow brick road." Cameron then follow with "Wow! You did it" when Mitchell asks what he did Cameron tells him: "You made figure skating sound even gayer." We come back to Mitch and Cam on their sofa and Cam asks Mitchell: "So, seeing your dad so proud of Manny didn't stir up any resentment?" Mitchell dismisses this and Cam sees right through and tells him that he always hides his emotions but then everything comes out and someone will/people get hurt. When Cam says it, he realises and admits that he might be holding a little resentment but it's petty and isn't a good color on him. Cam then tells Mitchell, that (Mitchell) he loves his yellow shirt. Mitchell then tells Cam it makes him look like the sun to which Cameron replies with: "Bubbling, hurtful bubbling. Now you know why I left early that morning."

Phil searches for what Luke is good at.

 We are at the Dunphys' household, Haley tells Claire that there is something wrong with her phoneas she's rubbed it on her hair for an hour; still believing that it can charge by static electricity: being rubbed against someones' hair, Claire, knowing her kids, realises that Alex must have told her, and tells Alex off, Haley then realises, and gets into a fight with Alex, Alex and Haley run off and Claire tells Alex to stop being mean and tells Haley to stop making herself a target. Phil and Luke come down the stairs and Phil tells Claire that he may have found something that Luke can excel at. Claire is "interviewed" where she says: "of course I want Luke to be successful. But I don't think that a parent can just force that. I think you just have to have faith that the kid's gonna find his own way. Besides, Luke already is the best at something: being my son. That sounded a lot less lame in my head." We are outside with Luke and Phil, who says he's got a good feeling about Luke being good at baseball, Luke and Phil get ready to start baseball and Luke throws the ball but not at Phil; he misses the shot, we then see Luke try again but miss 7 other shots over and over again, it seems that Luke doesn't have any throwing skills.

Jay shows Gloria the shirt he made for the family to support Manny

 We are at the house of Gloria, Jay and Manny, we hear Gloria on the phone to her grandmother in Spanish: "¡Ay, abuela, es que lo que yo te diga es poco! Esto hubiera sido la locura en Barranquilla. No, es que tú no sabes. ¡Mejor que su padre! Bueno, hasta luego, porque aquí ya llegó Jay. Adiós" When Jay asks if everything is okay, Gloria says that she was telling her grandmother how great Manny was in fencing and Jay mistakes her for shouting down the phone angrily, Gloria corrects him to happy talk. Jay then tells Gloria that he now understands why there is so much conflict on her continent, Jay then shows Gloria a 'Who Da Manny?' shirt. In an "interview" with Jay and Gloria we see that Jay has made more t-shirts in the past: a t-shirt when Haley ran a 5k race in elementary school. Back with Gloria and Jay, Gloria tells Jay that she is happy to see Jay proud of Manny and gives him a "Gracias, mi amor" (Thanks, my love.). Manny then enters the room and tells Gloria and Jay that he is quitting fencing because he doesn't want to compete against a girl as he doesn't believe in hitting girls. Gloria then tells him that if Manny doesn't compete he is basically disrespecting women just because he doesn't want to compete against a girl; Manny doesn't think a girl can take a hit. When Gloria convinces Manny to resume the competition, Manny takes back his fencing equipment and Gloria and Jay cheer Manny on.

Luke unknowingly helps Phil sell the house.

 We are now at the Dunphys' with Phil. Phil says that being a great salesman means following the ABC's of salesmanship: "Always Be Closing, Don't Ever Forget, Great Home Ideas Just Keep Lurking, Mostly Nearby. Often People Question Realtors' Sincerity, Take Umbrage, Violators Will"- and then he forgets the rest. We are now with Phil showing people around a house. We come back to Phils' "Interview": "Did I need the sale? Yes. Was I worried? No. Why? Because. Because why? Because I won't sell anything I don't believe in. And when I believe, you believe. I could sell a fur coat to an Eskimo." We come back to Phil showing people around the house, they say that they aren't certain that they wanna buy the house and Luke comes in and unknowingly convinces them to buy the house, Phil then realises that the thing that Luke might be best at is the thing he does: Selling. We then see Phil and Luke come home with Phil very happy, we also see Claire wearing the shirt that Jay showed to us earlier: "'Who Da Manny?'". Phil tells Claire that Luke is very good at selling and Claire approves. Luke comes downstairs and has his phone in his mouth when Claire asks why he says he's charging it, Claire then knows Alex has been at it again.

Cam tells Claire that Mitch is stilll upset.

 We come back to, Claire, Haley, Alex, Luke, Phil, Mitch and Cam, who are outside the Fencing Competition building, Cam asks Mitch to clear the air with Claire, but Mitch doesn't want to as he says that there isn't a part of me him that needs or wants to. Cameron tells Mitchell that when he doesn't share his feeling, people get hurt, when Claire says hi to them and presents food in a bag, Cameron says that he can't do it and tells Claire that Mitch is upset with her about the Ice Skating story. Which forces Mitchell and Claire to sort it out: Mitchell tells Claire that she shouldn't have quit; it was selfish. Claire tells Mitchell she quit to protcect him , she was bigger than him and he had dropped her before; she didn't want him to humiliate himself because he wouldn't be able to lift her. Mitchell tells her that he only dropped her twice and corrects himself to three times. Claire tells him that he dropped her all the time. Claire asks for forgiveness and Mitchell fakes forgiving her, they then hug and Mitchell tries to lift her; which tells Claire he hasn't forgiven her.

Jay and Gloria feel guilty now knowing about Caroline.

 We are now at the fencing competition; inside the building, Jay and Gloria tell Manny to stay focused and concentrated, they then build his confidence up. When Manny walks away, we see Caroline (Mannys' competitor) and her nurse (from a childrens' hospital) come up to Jay and Gloria, they soon realise that they feel sorry for Caroline and Caroline is an orphan. Which gives them awkward air after Gloria tells Manny to beat Caroline when he gives in.

Luke slips down the stairs

 We come back to Phil and Luke, things turn sour when Luke is playing with the child of the buyers: Luke slips down the stairs, Luke tells the buyers that the floors are slippery; they're like ice, and then says he saw a ghost which then convinces them not to buy the house again. Phl then walks up the stairs and slips, he thne tries to save himself by saying that he slipped and the stairs did nothing, although it really doesn't help.

Jay and Gloria feel guilty when they see Carolines' cheer squad.

Jay and Gloria try to tell Manny to stop.

 We come back to Jay and Gloria with Carolines' nurse, who then makes it worse for Gloria and Jay to cheer Manny on or be proud of him, Carolines' nurse tells Jay and Gloria: "I only wish her father had made it back from Afghanistan to see this." and then makes it a little more worse for them when Carolines' cheer squad arrive and Alex, Haley, Jay and Gloria watch as they realise it's all kids from the childrens hospital. Gloria tells Jay that they have to stop him from competiing. Jay and Gloria then try to tell Manny to stop. But Manny sees (upper left) as a sign to kill her instead. Jay resorts to asking if he should pull the fire alarm to stop Manny from beaing Caroline.

Mitchell and Claire comfort each other.

 We come back to Claire and Mitchell, who are in the process of making up. Mitchell tells Claire that he is glad Jay is proud of Manny but it would have been nice to see him proud of them he corrects himself from 'proud of us' to 'proud of me' as he received a little less love than Claire. Claire asks Mitchell if he thought that "the path to Dad's approval was going to be through figure skating?", "Mitchell, I am fairly confident that Dad's proudest moment was when you finally took off the flame-red unitard". Mitchell then tells Claire that he isn't saying any of his thoughts were rational. He then apologises to Claire for being upset at her for all this time because Claire quit.

Mitchell and Claire assume the position of their old ice skating routine.

 Mitchell then tells Claire that he didn't like skating but when he and her skated together she wasn't the mean older sister, "...and I wasn't the clingy little brother. We were a team, and let's face it, we've kind of grown apart in the past few years...we were on opposing sides. And I just miss being on your team." Claire realises how he feels and gets up to get into the position of their ice skating routine, Mitchell then joins her.

We come back to Mannys' fencing competition, where Manny is beating Caroline every round. Carolines' cheer squad watch the match as Manny keeps beating Caroline. Jay and Gloria are now, instead of being proud and cheering him on, feeling guilty as they realise that Caroline probably should have won the match instead. Things just get worse when everyone sees Manny beat Caroline. Cameron who is in the building is recording everything and when he tries to get a better shot of the match by putting it near Jay's face, Jay tells him to put the camera away or he'll destroy it, to which Cam immediately turns it off and sits back down. We see Jay look discouraged and tell Gloria that somebody needs to put a stop to it. Now the entire audience watching the Match feels bad for Caroline even if they don't know what Jay and Gloria do.

Claire and Mitchell, performing their ice skating routine.

 We are back with Mitchell and Claire, for a short while, who are performing their routine. We then come back to Manny and Caroline who have just finished their competition where, of course, Manny is the winner, Gloria asks to take Caroline and her nurse out for ice cream, to which the nurse tells her that Caroline is diabetic and Jay sarcastically says "of course she is!". The family then get ready to leave with Manny and walk outside, Jay tells Gloria "I can't decide if I'm feeling more proud or mortified.". Gloria asks "How about now" when she sees Mitchell and Claire dancing together. Cameron then resumes recording and focuses the camera on Mitchell and Claires' dancing.

Jay poses with Mannys' award.

 We hear Jays' voice over Claire and Mitchells' dancing. We then see that Cam posted the video on a social media website, which Cam, Haley, Alex, Mitchell and Cam are watching. We then see Phil and Luke in the backyard of their house, we see Luke give baseball another try and this time when he throws, it's perfect and Phil catches it, which Phil and Luke celebrate. We then see Jay with Mannys' award and he smiles as Jay's voice over says "Guilt fades...hardware lasts forever." The camera then closes in on Claire and Mitchells' photograph of when they were teenagers and posing as ice skaters.


JAY: "We tell our kids it doesn't matter if they win or lose. But let's be honest. Winning feels pretty great. There's nothing like that golden moment in the sun. I think every parent wants that for their child. I think for ourselves, too. Sometimes we push too hard, and that leads to a lot of resentment and guilt. So how much is too much? Here's how I come out. Guilt fades...hardware lasts forever."

Cam now wants to be lifted up by Mitchell.

There is an ending clip of Cam and Mitch walking and Mitch asks Cam if he is mad that he didn't get to dance with him to which Cam does the same thing as Mitch: he covers up his feelings. Although Mitchell can see right through it and tells Cameron that he'll dance with him. So Mitchell dances and Cam lifts Mitchell up although Mitchell then asks if Cam is serious when he says he wants to be lifted up.

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


  • In the Greek adaptation of the show, there are some parts of the episode that change:
    • Fencing is replaced by tae-kwon-do.
    • In the original version, we see a picture of a young Claire and Mitchell, while in the Greek adaptation, this part is omitted.
    • Petros (Dylan) appears in the Greek version, despite not appearing in the original version.
    • In the original version, Manny's final opponent is a girl. In the Greek adaptation, Diego's (Manny) final opponent is a boy.
    • When Petros and the rest of the gang [except Philippos (Phil) and Panos (Luke)] see Faye (Claire) and Dimitris (Mitchell) ice-skating, they are amused and delighted, while the original version showed everyone looking confused.
    • This is the first episode in which Phil requires help of one of his relatives in order to sell a house.
  • There are no recurring characters in this episode.

Cultural References

  • The episode title 'En Garde' is a reference to the French term of the same name used to warn a fencer.