Everyone is gathering at a restaurant to celebrate Manny's birthday, though Manny himself is experiencing a mini-life crisis about getting older. Meanwhile, on the way to the restaurant, Phil and Claire decide to engage in a not-so-friendly car race there, and Mitchell and Cameron get sidetracked when they stop at the mall to pick up a gift.
It's Manny's birthday, and he is giving a speech to everyone thanking them for being there. Of course, nobody looks like they want to be there. Jay had to wait for the tardy Gloria, Mitchell is trying to buy a gift while Cameron meanders, and Phil has to fill out the application for Family Camp, as they MUST defend their Dirty Dancing title from the previous season. Claire is still a little upset about "Color Wars" from last summer's camp, but Phil just likes to rub it in, because "if you ain't white, then you ain't right." He even made up t-shirts, which the black cab driver who drove them home totally loved (not really judging from his dumping their luggage and rudely taking Phil's cab fare). Claire wants to take her route to the restaurant, Phil counters with his, and they decide to race each other there.
Jay decided to give Manny the best gift his own father ever gave him: a BB gun. And as Gloria continues to search for her keys, Manny questions getting a toy meant for someone six years older than him. But Jay never really thought Manny ever acted like a kid, which he appreciated. But Manny didn't appreciate that compliment. He wants to mix sodas to see what they taste like and make prank phone calls, but somehow his call to Seymour Butts manages to backfire on him. And that soda thing was actually pretty disgusting.
In Phil's car, he's cutting through temple parking lots, running red lights, blowing out tires, and Haley actually has to tell him to watch the road. Luke is getting the scarier ride, since Claire is suddenly up in arms about Luke wanting to go with Phil to the restaurant instead of her, but Haley and Alex would rather deal with that then spend another summer at Family Camp for a hoedown and another round of "white domination" by Phil. Haley and Alex get up the courage to tell Phil they don't want to go to Family Camp, as he assures them they can talk about anything in the "Cone of Trust" (his car). They tell him, and Phil realizes the day has come where his kids have outgrown him. He starts crying, and then the girls start crying. And when Luke reassures Claire that she is actually fun and he wanted to go with Dad because he thought he needed it more, Claire makes a visit to the waterworks. Claire is upset that she can't be the fun parent, but Luke thinks her way would have been the fastest to the restaurant. Claire decides to be the fun parent and floor it.
Mitchell is going crazy trying to find a gift, and Cam's making him crazier by spending eight minutes talking to the stationery store clerk and helping an old man communicate with his about-to-be-ex-wife...loudly. And now Mitchell has to keep the old man alive while Cam runs to find his wife. They try to have the couple communicate via cell phone. One destroyed cell phone later, Cameron is dragging the poor lady up the escalator. And back down again. And it wasn't even his wife.
Gloria is livid she can't find her keys. Probably because they were in Jay's coat pocket. He slips them into her purse and innocently suggests she look through her purse again. She finds them and instantly accuses Jay of putting them there. But Jay has to deal with Manny floating on an inflatable beach raft in the pool, lamenting he was never a kid and never would be. He wants to cancel his birthday dinner, and Gloria is furious since it was not easy organizing it so everyone could be together. Manny requests that she send them his regrets then give him some privacy and Gloria finally blows her top. Apoplectic with fury, she storms off yelling something in Spanish and comes back with the BB gun. After ranting about how sick she is of stubborn men, she shoots the raft with the gun and gives Manny an ultimatum; get out or sink, adding that she's taking the gun with her in the car. And Jay falls for the old "I won't get mad if you tell me" trick when Gloria asks him if he put her keys in her purse.
Mitchell is beyond furious for Cameron wasting their time trying to help "the most adult adulterers they've ever seen." Suddenly, a flash mob broke out in the mall square dancing to "Free Your Mind" by En Vogue. Cameron wants to watch the choreographed dance, but Mitch decides he'd rather participate. Cam is shocked, but apparently Mitch set this up with a co-worker at his firm as a "love letter" to Cameron. (Awwww....) But it turns out Cameron didn't like Mitchell acting like a jerk all day and rushing around just to get to the flash mob.
CAMERON: You cheated on me with choreography, and that is the worst kind. YOU DANCED WITHOUT ME, MITCHELL!
Everybody's distracted and almost cause a crash at the restaurant.
MANNY: When I saw all of you acting like children, I realized I had plenty of time to be a kid.
(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
- Norman Lloyd as Donald
- Norma Michaels as Helen
- Staci Lawrence as Flash Mob Dancer
- Conroe Brooks as Flash Mob Dancer
- This is the first time on Modern Family that the title of the episode includes the name of one of the main characters.
- This is Manny's first birthday episode. Like Fizbo, this episode is a whole flashback.
- This episode has no recurring characters
- If you compare the background and the position of the steering wheels, you can tell no one is actually driving in this episode.