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Stuck in a Moment is the tenth episode and mid-season finale from Season 10 of Modern Family, it aired on December 12, 2018.

Plot Summary

Haley wants to give the family a Christmas gift they will never forget if she can just figure out the perfect time. Meanwhile, Claire is mad that Phil has once again borrowed the family Christmas tree for a house-showing; and Jay, Gloria and Joe have to deal with some unwelcome visitors over the holidays [1]

Episode Description

While Haley and Dylan plan on how to tell Claire and the rest of the family about their baby, Alex - extremely stressed about keeping it a secret - begs them to reveal their baby news soon, and shows that her hair has turned grey due to stress. Meanwhile, Claire and Phil are planning a trip to Bermuda, which Phil has arranged for four separate plane rides. Claire, usually in a holiday mood, is now stressed and upset, preventing Haley and Dylan from sharing their news.

Phil, in order to make a house-showing more festive, takes the Dunphy Christmas tree, and gifts, and puts them in the other house. Angered at Phil, Claire enters the house and steals the tree back. Phil, who was in another room, believes he's been robbed and panics.

During this, Jay and Gloria receive a package in the mail from Gloria's cousins in Columbia. Inside are four Christmas sweaters, and a banana-leaf wreath. However, the wreath contains a banana spider, which Gloria informs are highly venomous, and deadly. Jay, Gloria, Manny, and Joe all flee from the now-infested house. As Gloria calls a hotel, Jay bribes Manny into going back into the house for a medicine, which ends up being Jay's elbow cream.

Mitchell and Cam take Cal to see an outdoors mall-Santa in an effort to make this a great Christmas for him. As Lily continuously pesters them for a cell-phone for Christmas, Mitchell and Cam try to persuade Santa to tell them what Cal asked for. Santa refuses, recognizing Mitchell as a lawyer who led him to do community service. Deciding not to get discouraged, Mitch and Cam bribe an elf into figuring out what Cal had asked for.

While this is all happening, Haley and Dylan continue to try to find new ways to break the pregnancy to Claire, all the while getting discouraged as Claire's mood worsens. Alex, suffering physically from the stress, keeps begging them to reveal it soon.

Claire, having placed the tree and presents back into the Dunphy house, confronts Phil, but is quickly interrupted when a card that was placed on the heater catches fire, burning both the tree and the presents. Claire is heart-broken, but is quickly delighted when she discovers Phil- who had bought identical trees and presents to replace the ones that were "stolen"- has replaced everything, making it perfect. The rest of the family soon arrives, and mingles in the kitchen.

Haley and Dylan have decided to reveal their news in the form of Dylan coming down the chimney as Santa. However, Dylan gets stuck just as the rest of the family come to take a picture. Haley, knowing there is no perfect moment, finally tells the family that her and Dylan are having a baby. The family is shocked at first, especially Claire. After a moment to process, however, Claire says the news is "Unbelievable" and the now-delighted family all embrace. Once Jay and Cam get Dylan out of the chimney using Jay's elbow cream, they all pose for a Christmas picture, while Phil and Claire wonder if everything will work out alright.

Main Cast

(The characters struck out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Joe Pritchett
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring

  • Reid Ewing as Dylan
  • Marcello Reyes as Cal
  • Steve Monroe as Santa
  • Katie Wee as Sandy
  • Gerald Downey as Jim
  • Chris Guerra as Elf
  • Matthew Iott as Sad Dad


  • "Diamond in the Rough" was broadcasted exactly six years before this episode.
  • This is the last episode to air in 2018. This is the first episode since "Kiss and Tell" in which every family members are shown.
  • Though this episode is supposed to take place in winter, the weather is exceptionally warm.
  • Though in the previous episode, Luke was aware that Haley expected, he acts here as if he did not know that.
  • The Pritchett-Tucker house only appears in the tag and interviews scenes in this episode.
  • Also, Cal and Joe share a scene for the first time.
  • Phil tries to sell a house to a couple but the woman sees the Christmas tree stolen and tells him she does not want to live in A Sketchy Area which was the third episode of this season.


  • The fifth episode which revolves around Christmas after "Undeck the Halls", "Express Christmas", "The Old Man & the Tree" and "White Christmas".
  • Dylan's 37th appearance.
  • This episode contains a flashback which shows Claire's incapacity to cook a turkey. Previously, Turkeys were the subjects of the Thanksgiving episode Three Turkeys. This is the second episode in which a turkey is eaten during a feast.
  • This is also the second episode in which it's been said that Claire is a terrible cook after Do It Yourself. Curiously, these are  the only episodes in which this problem is mentioned, while in others, Claire seems to be a good cook.
  • With this episode, every family member have been sick or injured  at least one time, or twice.

As for the children,

Cultural References

  • The title references U2's "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of."
  • Gloria finds banana spiders in their banana-leaf wreaths. In reality, the danger posed by "banana spiders" is wildly exaggerated; spiders are very rarely found in banana shipments, and those that are are generally not venomous. The only dangerous species, Phoneutria nigriventer, doesn't even live in Colombia.
  • Mitch and Cam sang "Up on the House Top."
  • Claire inadvertently resembles The Grinch.


  • AV Club gave it a "B" -- “Stuck In A Moment” is the latest in a string of solid episodes, ones that keep the drama low-key while also executing some laughs. [...] Lily’s never had much to do or been much of a fleshed-out character, but her transition into a child who’s clearly tired of her parents’ shenanigans has been delightful. However, the spider subplot was criticized: Yet again, Jay, Gloria, Manny, and Joe are the worst part of the episode. [...] Modern Family doesn’t seem to have any idea how to tell stories about that family anymore. Manny’s girlfriend is absent, Joe’s a nonentity, and Gloria and Jay have nothing new to add at this point.
  • TV Fanatic scored the episode 4.0 / 5.0.