"Starry Night" is the eighteenth episode from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on March 24, 2010.

Plot Summary

Mitchell and Jay attempt to bond while watching a meteor shower, but things don't go according to plan. Cameron tries to make amends with Gloria for past awkward encounters with a night out in her old neighborhood. Claire and Phil try to help their kids with their school projects.

Episode Description

Phil loves to relax by watching nature programs with his noise-reducing headphones on. All the better to drown out Claire yelling at Haley and Luke, who have projects for school. Phil will help Luke with his assignment on Van Gogh, while Claire helps Haley bake 40 cupcakes. Claire tells him how to handle Luke, but he doesn't want to smother him. That's the mother's style. Of course, Haley is the puppetmaster. A few drops of eggshells in the bowl, and Claire is lone wolfing it while she's texting all her friends. Upstairs, Phil and Luke get going on the project...right after they find out how they get the lead inside of a pencil.

Jay is taking Mitchell and Manny camping to look at a meteor shower, something Jay did with Mitchell as a kid and now wants to pass that on to Manny. Manny is all excited to go because he can rip on his brother as only brothers can do. That leaves Gloria and Cameron to spend the night together. Cameron is walking on eggshells, though. At a party, he complained once about not liking Brown people or that "Columbia tart" because all of Mitchell's Ivy League friends were so pretentious. Of course, Gloria heard every part of that conversation except Ivy League. Cameron tries to explain, naturally, but in awkward situations, he becomes even more awkward. A few too many "your people" drops didn't rectify the situation. It also didn't help that he got this awesome reservation at a club for the two of them, and Gloria said she just wanted to eat at a simple restaurant. Cameron is worried. He thought Gloria and he would be great together. A hot, curvy, spicy diva. ("And Gloria.") She recommends a little Latin place.

CAMERON: That sounds fantastic. I would love to see how your people eat. (realizes) 'YOUR PEOPLE'?!?!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!?

Manny is in full 'brother' mode with Mitchell, correcting him that Earth is the densest planet and not Mercury. To be fair, Jay put Manny up to it. Manny was worried about saying the wrong thing to him, but Jay assured him that brothers can rip on each other all they want because that's the beauty of being brothers. Mitchell getting sprayed by a skunk gave Manny plenty of material, and Jay asked for plenty of distance.

Luke actually makes a bit of progress using Phil's approach to give him some space and a starting point. But apparently, Luke might be ADHD, and judging by the fact that Phil notices a loose armrest on his chair and is determined to fix it, only to try and fix the garage light, only to go to a high shelf to get his lost sunglasses, perhaps they could figure out where he gets it.

Cameron and Gloria find a restaurant in her old neighborhood, the only neighborhood she could afford after she left Javier and before meeting Jay. The cook recommends chicken enchiladas for him, but he won't be dissuaded by being the only white person (and gay person) in the restaurant. "Dos Carnitas Diablos, por favor". If Gloria can handle those spices, so can he. Not only is he sweating bullets and looking like he's about to have a heart attack, but he makes the mistake of trying to drink water, which just makes it worse. A milk and several apologies later, Cameron explains he was bending over backwards not to offend Gloria. She is touched and tells him she was never offended. He's too good of a friend to get her upset. She loves her old neighborhood. However she stops feeling the love when she sees that Cameron's tires have been stolen.

The actual reason Gloria felt a bit low-key was that she was feeling guilty over buying a really expensive dress that she didn't even need. She thought it would look good on her. Unfortunately, we never found out how good the dress looked on her. We did find out how good it looked on Mitchell. That's all that was in Jay's car for Mitchell to wear because his own clothes were too skunked up. Manny and Jay get in a few more shots, but Jay has to stop eventually and make peace. Mitchell thinks things are bad because of wearing the dress and the skunk smell. However, Jay took Manny on the camping trip because Manny got betrayed by a few classmates he thought were friends. They ditched him from going to a party because they thought he was weird. Jay wants Mitch to talk to Manny because he would do a better job. Manny apologizes to Mitchell, saying he was trying to bond with him. Mitchell takes it in stride. Mitchell and Manny talk, with Mitchell explaining how all kids don't want to be different so they fit in. Then suddenly, everybody WANTS to be different.

After finding Phil on the floor in the garage when he tried to recover his sunglasses, Claire reads him the riot act about his methods for watching Luke and the two go upstairs to find Luke playing with a Mr. Potato Head. Claire loses it, and Phil agrees to do it her way. She berates him for not paying attention, trips on the same step he did, and returns to the kitchen to finish the cupcakes that Haley is supposed to be doing. Phil apologizes to Claire and is about to go upstairs to crack the whip, but Luke brings down his completed presentation. He wasn't playing with Mr. Potato Head; he was borrowing the ears to put on the display. The display looks so good, Claire is inspired. She brings out the 40 cupcakes she made...and threw them in the trash.

After Haley finishes her cupcakes, no amount of eggshells in the bowl is going to dissuade Claire this time. ("Do we still have the number for Poison Control?").

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


  • This is the first episode in which there is a plot featuring Jay and Mitch in the woods during night.

Guest Starring