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"Spring-a-Ding-Fling" is the sixteenth episode from Season 5 of Modern Family, it aired on March 5, 2014.

Plot Summary

Cameron is in charge of the school's big spring dance, but when a popular teacher returns from sabbatical, a bit of not-so-friendly competition blooms. And with Claire on chaperone duty at the dance, Phil gets Haley to accompany him to his annual realtor's banquet and is looking forward to impressing his little girl. Elsewhere, Mitch starts a new job and can't seem to get a good read on the new boss or the work environment. Jay and Gloria babysit Lily and an accident with Gloria's purse ignites a case of whodunit and it's Lily's word against baby Joe's.

Episode Description

Mitchell was excited to be starting at the Center for Justice, which Cameron was disappointed about being only a law firm instead of a den for superheroes, but that's how life works. Mitchell's old law school friend convinced him to work there. But Cameron had an important night ahead, since the school's Spring-A-Ding Fling (he added the Ding) was going on and was a big fundraiser thanks to his efforts. Phil had a big night as well, being the host of the SCARB (Southern California Annual Realtors Banquet), which Claire couldn't attend. But Haley would, but only because Phil almost caught her sneaking her friends and some beer into the house one late night and she had to cover herself quickly. Of course, Phil thought Haley was a real estate star in the making herself, given he used to take her to open houses when she was younger. Claire was actually headed to the dance Cameron organized, as were both Luke and Alex, both of whom had dates for the dance. Claire wasn't happy Luke's date, Rhonda, was playing in the mud with Luke beforehand. She sent Rhonda upstairs to get the dirt off of her face (CLAIRE: Just give me a good shake like a dog before you go inside) and get cleaned up while she pretended she was OK with Alex and Drew going to the dance ironically and making fun of the kids who took it seriously. Mainly because she thought Alex really liked Drew and didn't want anybody to know that.

CLAIRE: Now there ARE the pushy, obnoxious moms who try to get involved, nudge them towards one another and...we mean well.

Jay and Gloria had babysitting duties for Joe and Lily. Unfortunately, Gloria's purse somehow ended up on the floor and her smartphone broke as a result. Since Joe couldn't walk yet, the blame went towards Lily. Lily blamed Joe, claiming he walked to the table and pulled the purse down. Jay tried the "good cop" approach with Lily, saying he once took the heat for his little brother when they accidentally threw rocks through their dad's car. Gloria went with "bad cop," taking away the stuffed animals Lily liked and keeping her in her bedroom until she confessed. But she didn't crack. She kept claiming Joe walked over to the purse, even showing some baby powder on the floor where Joe had walked and broken something of hers. Jay and Gloria finally called her out on it, but Lily didn't cave, even trying to call Joe to walk over to her. Which he did. Suddenly Jay and Gloria felt like complete dummies. Which they should have, because it really was Lily who broke the phone. She took Joe's shoes and made imprints in the baby powder and was just lucky Joe picked that moment to walk.

Mitchell's first day at the new law firm was off to a weird start. His law school friend, Wendy, showed him around, even introducing him to the dog who just threw up recently. However, there were bad signs all around, such as when Wendy yelled at an intern for an outfit worn at a business dinner the prior night, the notes inside of his new desk that said "run" and "get out or you will die", and a co-worker telling him not to make plans for Sunday night followed by Wendy shoving him down the hallway. Two other people complained about how conditions were deplorable, and finally Wendy ordering Mitchell to groom Rex. So, Mitchell went to get the stinky dog washed, but he decided he would stand up to Wendy for what everybody else couldn't. Or didn't need to. You see where this is going, right? Mitchell misinterpreted everything as Wendy being the boss from hell. However, Wendy was talking about the business outfit her gay intern had gotten for her, lamenting she found the only gay guy with no sense of style. Sunday night was for the barbeque party they were having, Wendy was shoving a person out the door so they would stop working and go enjoy their anniversary. The notes were reminders of a former co-worker to run and get into shape. The conditions that were deplorable were the cause of a slumlord, and Rex was the intern Mitchell was supposed to groom, not the dog. Mitchell apologized to his boss and then commented on a picture of Samuel L. Jackson on the wall, which turned out to be a picture of her mother in a Kangol hat.

At the dance, both Cameron and Claire were having problems. Cameron's problem was the returning Spanish teacher whom Cameron replaced as most popular among the faculty. Claire's problem was meddling too much with her kids' social life. Luke didn't like the fact that Rhonda was cleaned up and wearing a nice dress, and Claire very much overdid the hints when she told Drew she wouldn't be home when he dropped Alex off after the dance. Naturally, Alex wanted Claire to disappear, but that wasn't going to happen when they had the "faculty dance" portion of the evening. Determined to out-duel his rival, Cameron pulls Claire onto the dance floor to make his mark on the dance. (CAMERON: It's CammerTime). Of course, Claire really wanted to disappear.

Phil was the hostest with the mostest at the banquet, even doing his own intro. Instead of a speech, he had a whole song-and-dance routine for the evening...and this show should be shot for ruining Styx's Come Sail Away for me FOREVER. Unfortunately, Phil fell off the stage during the show when he noticed Haley texting rather than watching his performance. Phil was both mad at Haley and depressed she wasn't into real estate as much as he was. But then Phil won the Realtor of the Year award, only he had sprained his ankle when he fell off the stage. Haley went up on stage and accepted the award for him, saying he was an awesome father. And since Phil didn't get a chance to finish his speech, she finished it for him, having heard him practice it enough times. (HALEY: Margaret Furman is here. Heads up to her date: she's been upside-down in more houses than Fannie Mae. Or in her case, Fannie Definitely-Will).

JAY/GLORIA/MITCHELL/CAMERON: (voiceovers) We all want people to think the best of us, so we sometimes cover things up to protect ourselves. But we don't have to be afraid, because the truth is always a good thing. The truth sets us free. Brings us closer.

CAMERON: (to Lily) So, do you want to tell us how Joseph's shoes ended up on the wrong feet?

LILY: (still not admitting it) I guess the little guy learned how to put on his own shoes.

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


  • Another school dance was previously featured in "Dance Dance Revelation".
  • Mitchell gets a new job, after he left in "The Big Game". His friend's gender had been changed.
  • Mitchell's colleagues, Senor Kaplan and Angela appear for the first time.
  • A signed poster of Maya Angelou returns from "Not in My House".


  • Ty Burrell won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance in this episode.
  • Manny is absent in this episode.
  • Joe begins to walk. Mitchell and Cameron's story when they watched him exactly one year before this episode is reversed as here, it's their daughter who is watched by Jay and Gloria.
  • Jay mentions his brother Donnie, who was previously heard in "Hawaii" and also previously appeared in "The Musical Man". It is also revealed that Donnie is younger than Jay when Jay calls him "my baby brother". Also in "The Musical Man", Donnie said that Jay cared about him since they were 8 and 10 years old, signifying that the two brothers are 2 years old apart.

Cultural References