"Other People's Children" is the seventeenth episode from Season 5 of Modern Family, it aired on March 12, 2014.

Plot Summary

It's male-bonding day when Jay takes Luke into the garage to show him the way around tools and impart some manly wisdom, and Gloria goes with Claire and Lily to shop for Lily's flower girl dress. Elsewhere, Mitch, Cam, Alex and Manny go for a cultured day at the museum but it eventually becomes survival of the smartest, and Phil enthusiastically offers to help Andy with his anniversary gift to his girlfriend, which is an elaborate video expression of his love.

Episode Description

There's a reason why Jay hosted everyone for brunch and even broke out the good bacon: there was a basketball game on, and he wanted people to watch it with him. Phil was staying, but that didn't count. Claire and Gloria had to buy Lily a dress for her role as the flower girl at Mitchell and Cameron's wedding, as they wanted at least one wedding tradition to carry over: to not see the dress the bride was going to wear (or flower girl, in this case). And they figured Gloria's flair and Claire's practicality would combine to find Lily the perfect dress. Meanwhile, they were taking Alex and Manny to a museum to look at a post-war expressionism exhibit, which Luke thankfully didn't have to attend. (LUKE: I don't even know who fought in the Post War.)

Running quickly out of people to watch the game with, Jay invited Andy the nanny to watch the game with him, otherwise he'd be by himself. (PHIL: I'm right here!). Andy needed to get home to make his girlfriend some banana bread.

PHIL: I'm the king of banana bread! You know my secret? No nuts!

JAY: Not such a secret.

Phil, however, comes up with an even better idea. Andy can make a video telling his girlfriend how much he misses her while she's in the Coast Guard. They head off while Jay is left with Luke, who lamented having to take a ceramics. Phil told him a lot of girls do. (JAY: You know what a lot of girls don't do? Guys who take ceramics). Jay figured Luke needed to learn how to build stuff. They head for the garage. At first, Luke was iffy on trying to build something, and singing Edelweiss to being told what a table vise is didn't help (JAY: I already went through that with Mitchell. That's what we're here to prevent), but when Luke saw the weight bench and Jay showed he could bench press 205 pounds, Luke was all in wanting to know every last thing Phil never taught him. Especially about women.

As Gloria and Claire try to convince Lily she can't wear the princess dress Belle wore for her dads' wedding, Andy was in front of a green screen convincing his girlfriend, Beth, of what he'd do to be with her right now. Phil was superimposing different backgrounds into the computer video, and Haley was mocking all of it. The fact that her date hadn't shown up yet didn't get in her way of thinking the guys were still more pathetic.

Cameron had a little problem. The Kandinsky exhibit he thought was going to be there had moved on. He studied up on Kandinsky so he wouldn't look like the idiot among Mitchell, Manny, and Alex. But the others liked the Matisse in the museum, so Cameron had to resort to Plan B: touch an exhibit and get thrown out. No, that didn't work, so he faked going outside to get some air. Which was fine...and then Mitchell joined him. It turns out Mitchell was one collegiate art class ahead of Cameron (mostly filled with naked Italian dudes) in the expert department, so he figured he had to get away from Manny and Alex, the two most cultured people in the family. Then Manny joined them after a little while, since Alex could run laps around him as well. Finally Alex caved in, mainly because she was tired of dumbing it down for the three of them. But they did find a food truck and were able to appreciate the stark palette of yellow on a midnight blue background, very Jackson Pollock-like. (Alex got mustard on her shirt).

Not surprisingly, Gloria and Claire had different ideas on what dress looked best on Lily, and she was getting tired of it. Gloria admitted she had no daughters to do this with and when Claire admitted she didn't even wear a wedding dress when she married Phil, Gloria insisted she put one on. Fortunately, the show didn't fall for the sitcom trope of Claire going all bridezilla when she saw herself in a wedding gown, although she admitted it would have been nice. Lily had actually disappeared during their argument, so they ran out of the store, Gloria trying to keep Claire's train from getting dirty. They found Lily back at the Disney store completely happy in her Belle dress, so they convinced Mitchell and Cameron to let her wear it for the wedding.

MITCHELL: A gay wedding is hardly the place to stop somebody from being who they want to be.

The video for Andy was getting more involved, but Phil was going to see it through. (PHIL: Why am I so intent on helping Andy? I love filmmaking, and I love love. I guess you could say I enjoying making love on film, and now I don't have to do it by myself!). And if you thought that was creepy, having Andy look into Phil's eyes while saying he loves Beth wasn't much of an improvement. So Phil gets the still-waiting-for-her-date Haley in on the deal, having Andy pick her up like Richard Gere picking up Debra Winger at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman. (And just like Richard and Debra, Andy and Haley hate each other.) Phil would superimpose Beth on the computer. But Andy begrudgingly went along with it, saying to "Beth" that he missed her and said she was always with him, and that he loved her. And Haley didn't hate it that quickly. But eventually...

HALEY: (coming to her senses) Put me down, ugh!

PHIL: Wow, that really takes me back to my cheerleading days.

Andy couldn't be thankful enough to Mr. Dunphy and didn't know how he could repay him. (PHIL: Well, when you're with your girlfriend, just think of me). Haley still couldn't believe it, claiming was not how dating worked these days.

ANDY: (holding the DVD) I'm going to give this to my mailman, who's going to give it to the Coast Guard, and by sometime tomorrow, someone in the Coast Guard is going to be giving it to my girlfriend.

PHIL: Can you imagine the smile on her face when she takes it all in?

Jay and Luke built quite a nice tool box...and Luke learned a good kiss on the neck is the best starting point with any woman. Luke was quite impressed since Phil never taught him any of what Jay did. Jay said he learned it from his father, and Luke was actually his first chance to pass on anything, given he screwed things up with Mitchell, Manny already came to him effectively grown-up, and he didn't know if he'd be around long enough to teach things to Joseph. He even thought to give Luke his first taste of beer. Suddenly, Jay faked saying the beer was skunky, figuring he had to leave Phil at least something to pass down to Luke besides a sense of humor. But Jay did give Luke a few tools for his new toolbox.

As Phil and Andy went to re-enact Gravity, Haley leaves for her date. However, despite her repulsion to their situation, certainly gave an earful to her date who showed up five hours late and didn't even bother to apologize for it. When she comes back, she sees Andy in a bit of a different light...until Alex says how much Andy is like their father. That snapped Haley out of it.

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
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring


  • Andy's fourth appearance ("The Help", "A Fair to Remember", "And One to Grow On").
  • This is the second episode where both Alex and Manny visit a museum. Gloria was a volunteer parent in "The Feud" for Manny's class and Phil took Alex to the Museum of Tolerance in "Earthquake" (though it was off-scren).
  • Alex can speak french and also know how to make Claire sleep, something she did in "Our Children, Ourselves" while trying to watch a french movie.
  • It is said that Claire is older than Gloria. This was previously mentioned in "After the Fire".
  • Jay says that remembers the day of Mitchell's first beer. In "Virgin Territory", he also says that he remembers it. This is also the first time that Phil and Andy interact.
  • Alex has mustard on her shirt, on the tag, but her shirt is curiously clean when she comes home from lunch.


  • Claire says that she never wore a wedding dress.

Cultural References

  • The episode title references Other People's Money.
  • Andy's girlfriend loves Rock of Ages.
  • Lily wants to dress as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Cam mentions that she went to Pepper's as Dora the Explorer.
  • Cam is an admirer of Wassily Kandinsky. They also mention Matisse and Picasso.
  • Phil mentions the film An Officer and a Gentleman.
  • Luke sings "Table vice" to the tune of "Edelweiss" and Jay mentions that Mitch did the same thing.
  • Cam claims that clawed animals don't travel in "herds" -- this isn't strictly true, as groups of curlews and wrens are called "herds".
  • Phil and Andy decide to reenact Gravity.
  • The phrase that Phil says, "In space no one can hear you scream", is a reference to the film Alien.


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