"Leap Day" is the seventh episode from Season 3 of Modern Family, it aired on February 29, 2012.

Plot Summary

Mitchell feels pressured to make Cameron's birthday extra special; people start to question Jay's manliness; the girls interfere with Phil's leap day plans.

Episode Description

February 29th is a big day of celebration around the Dunphy-Pritchett houses. Two of them, anyway. It's Cameron's 10th birthday! And no, Mitchell does not think he's ten...chronologically, anyway. Lily and he have a big surprise for Cam: they're going to deck out the entire house to look like The Wizard of Oz, even a pair of ruby red slippers for Cam.

Jay and Gloria are heading to a sports bar to watch a soccer game, based on the shirt Gloria was wearing. For Phil and Claire, they're going all out. No work, no school, the whole family is going to take a trapeze class. Even Manny's been dragged into it. They're very excited, except for Claire, who is crying at that ASPCA commercial with the Sarah McLachlan song. Then Haley is freaking out over her cell phone, and Alex just poured orange juice in her cereal. Uh-oh!

PHIL: I heard rumors...we all had...that females living or working in close quarters could get on the same...cycle. But I always assumed that was a story designed to keep women out of the submarine corps! It happened! Satan's trifecta! The day I most dreaded falling on the day I most loved!

Luke and Manny are panicking and think it's best to leave them behind. But Phil has a plan. The first rule of dealing with the cycle: never mention the cycle. He tells Luke to act like he's got a headache and is stressed out in front of the ladies, and the peer pressure about everybody being stressed out and cancel the trapeze class. However, this irks Claire even further because she knows the guys are tap-dancing around them to not drive them crazy, which is basically telling someone at a cliff to not look down. Claire decides to let Phil and Manny go to the class, and Luke can stay with the girls. Yes, he objects to that plan. Phil tells Manny they can leave no man behind. So Manny leaves Phil behind and goes home.

Since Jay prefers to watch sports where something happens, he has to play peacemaker between Gloria and some jerk from the Netherlands. And Jay forgot Gloria comes from a rather manly country and she really wanted Jay to punch the guy's lights out and has no trouble doing that saying-it-without-actually-saying-it thing.

Mitchell's plans for Cameron's surprise party are going great, particularly since Cam wasn't home. Actually, he was talking with his mother and the insurance company about rebuilding his grandfather's farm after the tornado. Mitch is distraught.

To make it worse, Aunt Lily died in that tornado. Although Mitch just found out Aunt Lily was actually a pig. Yes, their daughter is named for a pig. Oh, and Mitch has to keep Cam distracted as he takes off so the party planner (and the guys dressed like the Tin Man and the Scarecrow) can roll out the Yellow Brick Road on their walkway. Fortunately, the party planner could get a luxury yacht party organized in two hours for Cam, although Mitch was a bit disappointed it wouldn't have a theme.

Back at home, Manny tells Jay (who is rocking a pink robe thanks to the maid mixing his laundry) that trapeze class got canceled and common decency prohibited him from saying why. Jay tells him about the bar, and Manny would have thought women were the more evolved sex before what happened today. But he thinks Gloria would have liked to see a bit of the old Jay, the Jay who kicked the crap out of some guy who clipped his ex-wife without even stopping. Jay thinks he's still that guy, as he tries his too-hot soup and gets a paper cut from the crackers while sitting in his pink robe and sucking his thumb. But a call from Javier dropping a dime on his weekend with Manny convinces Gloria that Jay was right not to beat that guy up.

Phil is still scheming to get Luke out of the house, so he buys some fake blood from the Halloween store and has Luke pretend to have a bad cut on his finger. Which turned into Luke auditioning for a slasher film. Claire was onto his ruse, but Haley and Alex freaked out. Claire just wanted a little empathy from Phil about what she was going through. Luke confesses what they were doing. And now Haley and Alex are freaking out even more.

Everybody makes it to the doc for Cam's birthday, and Cam gives Mitchell a kiss in appreciation, which Phil thinks is romantic. There is a horrible smell thanks to a tiny blue whale dying nearby, and the captain of the boat said they needed 6 people to stay behind because they were at the maximum. Gloria was mad as hell and the captain wanted her to back off. Jay takes this opportunity to man up and confronted the captain. Gloria tries to talk him down and apologize for what she said earlier at the bar. Then the captain told 'grandpa' to walk away, and Gloria belted him. The captain threatens to call the cops, and Cam is upset about there being no party. Phil feels bad for him, and all three of the Dunphy ladies get on his case. And he loses it.

PHIL: Okay, okay, I give up! Yeah, I made a mistake today! But only because the three of you ganged up on me like when the Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein show up in the same movie. Except this wasn't awesome! I have been on an emotional roller coaster all day today! I'm afraid, I'm mad, I'm mad because I'm afraid, and now I can't even think straight because I'm in so much pain from what just happened over there. And the whole thing makes me sad and I'm not even sure why and I'm nauseous from that smell over there and I'm so hungry!

The girls can empathize with Phil and give him a hug. Meanwhile, Mitchell got tired of trying to apologize to Cam, who was being difficult and told him he was 40, not 10. Not the brightest idea, as Cam went into hysterics about being 40 and having done nothing with his life. Phil walks by them and tells them all he wanted today was to go to that amusement park 2 miles away and do the trapeze. Mitchell finally figured it out: Cam had been telling him all day he wanted to be ten again. Everybody heads over to that amusement park and has a great time. Phil even got to go on the trapeze after hours, thanks to three ladies and a carnival worker who didn't want to deal with them. Even better, Phil was thinking about renting one of those Whack-a-Mole games on a monthly basis, and Mitch said Cam could be ten tonight. And he was still as sexy as that eight-year-old he fell in love with. Although he probably shouldn't say that out loud.

Main Cast

(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
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring

  • John DiMaggio as Boat Captain
  • Kali Rocha as Party Planner
  • Alex Schemmer as Jorgen
  • Rob Smith as Scarecrow
  • Frank Maharajh as Micky
  • Harris Markson as Davy
  • Rodney J. Hobbs as Trapeze Guy


  • Cameron was born on February 29th (the same date this episode aired) and turns 40 in this episoode. This is the fifth episode in which  a character celebrates hir or her birthday.
  • Cameron's favorite film is The Wizard of Oz.
  • Ariel Winter and Kali Rocha both appeared in the Bones episode "The Girl With the Curl," though not in the same scenes.

Cultural References

  • Mitchell tries to impress Cameron decorating the house to look like The Wizard of Oz.