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Modern Family Wiki

"Game Changer" is the nineteenth episode from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on March 31, 2010.

Plot Summary

It's Phil's birthday and Claire wants to buy him an Apple iPad, excited about buying a good gift for the first time. Meanwhile, Mitchell wants to toughen up, Cameron hears a neighbors marital difficulties over the baby monitor, and Jay faces off with Manny and Gloria over chess.

Episode Description

It's Phil's birthday, and he couldn't be happier. The iPad is coming out the same day. He's all set to wait in line at 6 in the morning, but Claire volunteers instead. She doesn't think he should spend his birthday waiting in line. She'll get his home theater/library/music player all in one.

Jay's present to Phil: a rosewood chess set. So much so, Jay wants Manny to help him road test it first. Gloria wants Manny to tank the game because Jay gets grumpy when he loses.

Over at Mitchell and Cameron's, they hear what sounds like a man inside of Lily's room. Mitchell wakes Cameron, and he breaks out the bat and says "It's go time," but it turned out to be the baby monitor picking up someone else frequency. But Mitchell does man up and enter the room, and is ready to attack any spider that comes along with his broom.

It turns out Claire was just as excited to get Phil an iPad as he was, since her gift to him last year was barbecue tongs with a flashlight on them. Unfortunately, she underestimated the stamina it takes to wait in a line for a store to open for three hours. She never made it off the couch. She had to confess not making it to the Apple Store early enough, and Phil is devastated. Not even the promise of "more next week" won't mollify him. He goes to a place where birthdays are still appreciated: the batting cages. Phil is hitting them out and then hears about Phil's birthday party over the loudspeakers. He's excited for the party...even though it turned out not to be his.

Jay tries to give Manny a kids' version on how to play chess, but Manny decides to play him again. Jay, full of confidence, offers to put a prize on the table if Manny wins, like...Jay's watch. Naturally, Manny drops him and is sporting some new bling. Eventually, Jay figures it out and complains to Gloria that Manny hustled him. Jay thinks he can play chess because he beat Gloria at it on their honeymoon.

Cameron has turned the baby monitor into his new personal soap opera. Apparently, Jake and Debbie, the people they can hear on it, are having quite a bit of drama. Debbie called Jake's boss, who said he wasn't working late like Jake told her. It sounds like divorce central, but Mitchell is more worried about freezing up the prior night when Lily was in trouble.

He goes to Jay, returning his tool belt in the process. Jay hoped he was a big hit at the party and wondered if Cam went as the Indian, but Mitchell was actually building something with Jay's tools: a gift-wrapping station. Mitchell asks Jay to teach him some self-defense moves, since what he learned about fighting from "West Side Story" didn't pan out so well. Mitch tries to show some of the things Jay taught him when he was 11, but it wasn't pretty. Jay shows him some Brazilian jiujitsu moves, telling Mitchell to attack him with some deep-seeded anger. Not letting Mitchell go out at Halloween as Olivia Newton-John did the trick, and Mitch attacks. Jay demonstrates a Mata-leao, which, given what happens to Mitchell, translates as "sleeper hold."

Cameron, still listening to the baby monitor, is loving the dirt, until he finds out Jake was secretly learning Italian for Debbie's mother. Uh-oh. Time for Cam to go fix the situation, which he does. Although it doesn't really explain how Cameron knew about it in the first place.

Claire has the kids texting, Twittering, Facebooking, helium inhaling, whatever it takes to find another iPad. Haley finds one at another Apple store, and Luke calls to tell her that he put Phil's cake on her credit card. Which was in her wallet. Still at the house. Mitchell brings it to her in line at the Apple Store. While there, someone cuts in line and refuses to go away. Time for Mitchell to use what Jay taught him. Of course, what are the odds it works for Mitchell and something else doesn't happen, like, both of them being thrown out of the store? One cake on the floor later, Phil is depressed. And Jay and Gloria open his present first to settle who is the better chess player. However, Luke came through in the clinches, telling one of Phil's friends that he was dying. Phil has his iPad. Everybody thinks it's the coolest thing.

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


  • Phil was born on April 3rd (the same date the iPad was released). This is the second episode in which a character celebrates his or her birthday in the family.
  • No recurring characters appear in this episode.


Greek adaptation

  • In the original version, the wrestling between Claire, Mitchell and the stranger happens in a queue outside, while in the Greek adaptation, the wrestling between Faye, Dimitris and the stranger's counterpart happens in a queue inside a shop.
  • In the original version, when Luke shows Claire the iPad and they go over to the kitchen where all 3 families are there and Claire asks "Who wants some cake?" and then Phil says he did, but not that time then turns to see the iPad and is relieved he finally gets it and everyone fawns around and they all celebrate. In the Greek version, this is all different: Panos only mentions to Faye that he got the iPad and then later, Philippos is standing at the window, then Faye comes behind him and says "Everybody left", Philippos says "Mmm." and Faye then asks him if he wants a piece of cake to which Philippos replies: "No, honey. I don't want any. Thanks." then suddenly singing is heard behind Philippos and Faye and their kids appear with the iPad (With Alexandra holding it) and sing 'Happy Birthday' the way all Greeks in the world sing it in their language. Then after the singing is done, Panos wants to see it, but Philippos says no and then Panos chases him all the way upstairs.

Cultural References