"Phil on Wire" is the third episode from Season 3 of Modern Family, it aired on September 28, 2011.

Plot Summary

Gloria becomes upset by Jay and Stella's close connection and tries to bond with the dog herself. Phil and Luke try to learn how to tightrope, while Claire teaches Haley and Alex a valuable life lesson. Meanwhile, Cameron goes on a juice fast, much to the dismay of Mitchell and Lily.

Episode Description

Gloria starts getting upset by the relationship Jay has with their dog, Stella, as he lets her to sleep in their bed when he never lets Manny, or also he lets her take a shower with him.

Meanwhile, Cameron has decided to go on a juice fast, which is something bad for Mitchell, as Cameron acts in a really weird way when he is in a juice fast. But Mitchell decides to try a new strategy this time: join Cameron on the juice fast. He tells Cam he thinks he can lose a few pounds. Mitch takes all the junk food to the Dunphys, which Luke happily accepts. Phil is too occupied being impressed by old films of daredevils walking on tightropes, so he decides to go after his dream: to walk on a tightrope. Amazingly, he practices on the ground to start. However, he has to take the sugar-amped Luke to school, since Claire has to deal with the fact that Alex is in second-year math as a freshman which is exactly the same class Haley is taking (as a senior). And the crossing guard treating the school driveway is not helping Claire's headache much, either.

Mitch and Cam are up to the fourth day of their juice fast, and Cam continues acting weird. Mitch's problem is not knowing what will happen next, as Cam has never lasted this long on a juice fast before.

Claire tries to put Haley and Alex in their place for not getting along in class. But it's all part of her plan to put an idea into their heads to work it out and think they did it on their own. And then Phil has to explain the wire walker shoes he bought. Actually, they are Jazz shoes.

Surprisingly, Claire's plan works. Haley trades social help for math help with Alex, and they agree to stay in the same class. The problem is that they get caught by the teacher. The principal gives them a talking-to and informs Claire of it in the van while she was waiting to pick them up. And she gets a ticket from the crossing guard. Claire decides to not follow her advice from earlier and rise above the fray. She gets down in the fray and gives her both barrels. And the crossing guard put her in handcuffs so Haley and Alex can see her.

Luke gets sick from all the candy and confesses to Phil. Phil figures he learns his lesson and he can't really get mad at him anyway, since he can't even walk on a wire six inches off the ground. Luke thinks he keeps falling because Phil knows in his mind he can fall from that short height.

Gloria is going crazy because Stella keeps chewing up her things. Finally, she takes one of Jay's shoes and tries to give to Stella for her to chew. Stella refuses, and Gloria tries to demonstrate by putting Jay's shoe in her mouth and chewing on it. Which Jay and Manny witness. Gloria is really upset now because Jay is paying far more attention to Stella than her. Jay then realizes that he has to treat Gloria better than Stella, and starts doing it leaving Stella outside the bedroom.

Mitch and Cam go to a party thrown by Mitch's boss, and Mitch insists Cam eat something to get out of his emotional state. Then the boss talks about a sea lion he saw in the ocean who drowned because of a plastic shopping bag, and the waterworks start from Mitch. He runs out into the ocean, and Cam gives chase. They finally admit they are keeping to the diet to support the other, and they hug. Then get knocked over by a wave, in full view of everybody.

Haley and Alex apologize to Claire on the way home from school, but she admits she isn't the best parent, either. Coming back home, Phil successfully walks the tightrope and Claire realizes that all day she was trying to talk to the girls to teach them few things when Phil without saying anything, gives them a life lesson by actions.

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


Cultural References

  • Claire tells Officer Blevin that she is wearing a SpongeBob tie.
  • On the fourth day of the juice fast, Mitchell says Cam has gone all Girl, Interrupted.
  • Claire and Phil talk about implanting the idea in the girls minds which is the main plot line in Inception.