Jay's favorite place in the world, and only refuge, may be losing some of its charm when Phil considers becoming a member. At the Dunphy house, Claire mistakes her influence on Alex's life choices, and Haley cares too much about what Alex thinks about hers. Meanwhile, when Cam doesn't give Mitchell the full story on what his play is really about, it really puts Mitchell in the spotlight.
Cam is a supporter of a local theater company and drags Mitch to one of its show. It’s an interactive play about a high-school reunion… But Cam didn’t tell Mitch it was interactive. As the two stand in the lobby, people keep coming up to Mitch as if they recognize him. When Cam points out a high-school reunion banner, Mitch realizes this is part of the play and Cam tricked him into a night of interactive theater.
His reaction is rage, and it’s totally justified. Interactive theater can be good sometimes, but it helps to know you’re going to be attending such a performance before you’re already a part of it. Cam says Mitch is overreacting, but then they see a woman screaming at her husband who also didn’t tell her the play was interactive.
The play is horrible. It has all the trappings of a cliché high-school reunion: the one that got away, the terrible car crash that killed a student, etc. Mitch is just barely getting through it, but then the worst possible thing happens: He is picked to participate. Cam swears he had nothing to do with it and Mitch tries hard to get out of it, attempting to flee the theater — but once you’re chosen, there’s apparently no way out.
Mitch is selected for the role of Vlad, a former flame of a very drunk girl. The actress actually makes out with poor Mitch, which is horrible and not okay. But Mitch finds an opportunity to take revenge on Cam before the show is over. Cam takes the stage for his role: a beloved janitor who finally made it to the reunion. Suddenly, Mitch remembers Cam rehearsing the part around the house, which means he can spoil the twist ending: The janitor is a ghost! He derails the play by grilling Cam about his character’s death. Not satisfied, he starts performing Cam’s part for him, right dow
Meanwhile, Gloria’s having a breakdown of her own. With Jay at his country club and Manny at a party, she’s trying to have a relaxing night in. In her quest for Zen, she does something insane. She doesn’t want to have to walk around like a commoner, so she ties Joe to a rolling chair and has him drag her around, pretending it’s a game and that Joe is Rudolph, pulling Santa’s sleigh. But Manny comes back from the party after having embarrassed himself and starts being needy (”I just want to Netflix and Mom!”). To top it all off, Joe accidentally drinks espresso and becomes insanely hyper. Gloria completely snaps, and drags her sons to the Dunphy house to get them out of hers.
Amazingly, Claire fixes everything. She convinces Manny to go back to his party and gets Joe to go to sleep. At first, Gloria feels threatened by Claire’s super-mom act, but as Claire explains, “Kids respond better to other adults.”
Alex has a new dream: to become a businesswoman. She even registered for business classes at the local community college. Hopefully it’s just temporary until she can go back to Caltech, because being close to home causes Alex to backslide. She drags Claire to a reading by a Lean In-type author (the book is regrettably titled Grab It!, as in, grab success). Claire, of course, did not read the book.
Alex is obsessed with the author, but soon becomes disillusioned. After her talk, she offers to take Alex and few other people from the book signing to coffee, and it turns out she is a self-obsessed jerk. But while Alex was at the coffee shop, she was inspired to take a barista job to gain some real-world experience. Her dream of becoming a businesswoman had a good run of exactly one day.
Jay’s evening at the country club is not going well. Phil wants to join, and he manages to nag Jay into putting in a good word for him. But at a night for prospective members, he totally embarrasses Jay by doing magic tricks and talking about his gymnastics days. Phil enters the sauna door and accidentally gets stuck inside a sauna. He accidentally releases steam in the sauna and tries to grab one of the emergency rocks, but he drops it because it is hot. Merciless Jay takes the opportunity to tell Phil he doesn’t want him to join the club — it’s the only place he can get any time to himself and he wants to keep it that way. Phil accidentally releases some more steam in the sauna and is bummed, but he convinces Jay to have a boys’ night. Still stuck in a sauna, Phil reminds Jay to have a boys' night, but suddenly, Jay accepts Phil to join the club. While Jay texts the maintenance crew men after Phil faints from being stuck in a steaming sauna, they drag an unconscious Phil out of the sauna and put him in ice, reviving him. After being fully recovered from being trapped in a sauna, Phil tries to quit the club, but Jay doesn't want him giving up the club but wants him to stay. Phil accepts the deal with Jay and stays. Finally, Phil and Jay end up bungee jumping, while having a boys' night.
And guess what Phil picks for the entertainment? The horrible interactive play. Phil, like Cam, loves it. Jay, like Mitch, wants to claw his eyes out. And that’s before he gets picked to be Vlad. This play is like a nightmare that won’t end. Mercifully, the episode concludes before we have to see the play’s big finale again.
Gloria is a terrible mom to Joe in this episode. He says he’s tired from pulling her in her rolling-chair chariot, but she insists he keep going. Yikes!
(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)
- Jay Pritchett
- Gloria Pritchett
- Manny Delgado
- Joe Pritchett
- Claire Dunphy
- Phil Dunphy
- Haley Dunphy
- Alex Dunphy
- Luke Dunphy
- Mitchell Pritchett
- Cameron Tucker
- Shannon Cochran as Nancy Decker
- Paula Christensen as Tammy
- Sam Horrigan as Nick
- Bjørn Johnson as Anders
- Rob Brownstein as Judge Lewis
- Maurice Godin as Lester
- Angela Malhotra as Betsy
- Joseph Callari as Congressman Morley
- Bernard K. Addison as Marvin
- Becky Thyre as Theatre Goer
- Lily does not appear in this episode.
- The first appearance of the Congress Man.
- Mitchell says in this episode he's never played the flute.
- Phil mentions the "Skull and Pompoms", a reference to the Skull and Bones.
- The last monologue Cam and Mitch perform in their play is quoted from the poem "Do not go gentle into that good night", a poem by Dylan Thomas.
- Season 8 Episode 5 title [via spoilertv This may be an episode. spoilertv is the only source to mention this.]