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Modern Family Wiki

"Fifteen Percent" is the thirteenth episode from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on January 20, 2010.

Plot Summary

Mitchell tells Jay that one of his friends is gay to teach him a lesson, Claire gets frustrated with Phil's new master remote control, and Gloria gives Manny's "date" a makeover to improve her self-esteem.

Episode Description

While hanging out together at a bar, Jay and his friends run into Cameron, whom Jay introduces as "a friend of my son's", carefully avoiding Cameron's relationship with Mitchell. This annoys Mitchell, and decides to talk to his father about it. Jay tells him he was just trying to avoid an awkward situation with a bunch of people with old attitudes. Mitchell then tells him that he believes that Shorty, one of his friends, is gay. Jay vehemently denies it, but when he informs Gloria of Mitchell's opinion, she agrees with Mitchell, since Shorty has never tried to flirt with her. She insists Jay to talk to his friend about it, so he decides to invite Shorty to go play golf. Jay begins noticing some signs after he starts watching how Shorty acts. He starts to think that it may be possible. Jay settles for coffee and finally tries to get Shorty to open up. Jay admits he didn't handle the situation well with his son, and offers himself to support Shorty and doing all he can to help him. Shorty then tells him however, that rather than being gay, he owes a bookie $20,000. He assumes that Jay is willing to lend him the money, and considers it beautiful. Jay confronts Mitchell, telling him that in offering his support to Shorty instead he had to loan him $20,000 to cover gambling debts. It turns out that Mitchell never believed that Shorty is gay, he was just teaching Jay a lesson for introducing Cameron as "a friend of my son's". But Mitchell tells his father he's proud of him, for becoming more open-minded than he was when Mitchell was younger.

Manny is preparing himself for his blind date with a girl named Whitney, whom he met in an online book club. Unfortunately, when she arrives, Gloria and Manny discover that Whitney is actually an adult woman, who didn't know that Manny is a child because he seemed so mature online. Whitney feels so ashamed and stupid, and believes that she'll be alone for the rest of her life. Gloria and Manny try to comfort her, and Gloria ends up giving her a makeover so that she can feel better about herself. Later, Cameron comes over to bring Gloria some flowers for babysitting Lily. He immediately shares a strong connection with Whitney, and she thinks he might be "the one".

In the meantime, Cameron is freaking out over the appearance of limp flowers he has bought for Gloria. Mitchell is surprised for this, as Cameron is completely bothered by the flowers, but when Jay introduced him as "a friend of my son's", he didn't bother about it. But Cameron points that this is because Jay didn't mean any harm and the florist played him for a fool. The florist comes over to replace the flowers, but when the old ones suddenly start looking better, Cameron microwaves them to make them look bad again. However, as a result of the microwave, they start to burn, and Cameron freaks out in front of Mitchell and the florist.

Meanwhile, Phil has just installed a home theater system in their living room. However, Claire doesn't understand electronics, so she has some problems using the master remote control for the home theater system. Believing that it's useless and nobody can use it, she finally breaks the remote, which makes Phil get angry at her. Claire refuses to apologize to him, so he decides to prove how wrong she is. He buys another remote control and has to teach their "dumbest kid" how to operate it in 20 minutes or less. Although Phil first wants to teach Luke, Claire demands him to teach Haley, as she doesn't understand electronics either. Haley has initially no interest in learning how to work the remote, but Phil convinces his daughter to learn the ways of the home theater system because they would both love to prove Claire wrong. She finally learns to use it successfully, making Claire feel stupid for not knowing how to work it. Once Phil is asleep, Claire begs Haley to teach her, and she finally learns it.

In the end credits, Shorty thanks Jay for lending him the money for his debt and gives him two tickets to see Michael Bublé in gratitude. Jay first thinks that are for himself and Gloria, but Shorty tells him that are for themselves. Jay agrees to go with him, and Shorty also proposes to have a picnic together, as the concert is outside. Later, an unknown man walks by and Shorty asks him who does his hair. Seeing all of this, Jay restarts thinking that his friend might be gay.

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


  • The episode title refers to Mitchell's concluding voice-over, explaining that people may change a little, perhaps fifteen percent, if they really want to do so.
  • Alex and Luke are absent in this episode, although Luke is mentioned by Phil and Claire.
  • Mitchell came out of the closet in his mid-twenties, and he had to came out to Jay three times before he finally acknowledged it. After that, Mitchell pretty much just talked to his mother, as Jay didn't take the news well.
  • Cameron reveals that his parents always knew that he is gay, and that his birth took 36 hours because he came out of the womb opening his arms and saying "Hello!".
  • This is Shorty's first appearance. This also marks Dylan's sixth appearance.

Cultural References

  • When Claire first tries to use the new remote, is playing on TV the TV reality series The View.
  • Cameron mentions Antonio Banderas.
  • Cameron says that Jay's friends look like a scene out of Jersey Boys.
  • Jay tells Mitchell that Shorty can't be gay because he used to be married, but Mitchell says that Elton John, Merv Griffin, and Cole Porter were also married before coming out of the closet. Although Merv Griffin never married a man, he was suspected of being a closeted homosexual, because he was known to joke about his sexuality instead of answering the question outright.
  • When Cameron sees Whitney's hair, he says she looks like Barbara Streisand on the film The Way We Were.
  • Shorty gives Jay two tickets to see Michael Bublé.
  • When Haley is trying to demonstrate she can use the new remote to Claire, are playing on TV the comedy-drama sport film Breaking Away and the TV series Judge Alex.