Modern Family Wiki
Modern Family Wiki

"Suddenly, Last Summer" is the first episode from Season 5 premiere of Modern Family, it aired on September 25, 2013.

Plot Summary

Mitchell and Cameron go behind each other's backs to set up the perfect marriage proposal, Gloria is sad about sending Manny to Colombia, and Phil and Claire try to arrange the kids' vacations to maximize their "alone time".

Episode Description

It was a very busy summer around the Pritchett-Dunphy households. Manny was heading to Colombia to visit Gloria's relatives for a month and naturally couldn't keep himself to just one suitcase and one robe despite Jay's objections. (JAY: If he doesn't go to Colombia, Colombia comes to me. That's happened before). Phil and Claire were trying to juggle the schedules between Haley's beach trip, Alex working for Habitat for Humanity, and Luke going to camp. (Translation: they wanted a week to themselves). But the biggest news affected Mitchell and Cameron, who were now free to get married when the Supreme Court overturned California's Prop 8.

CAMERON: Now a man can marry another man!

LILY: Eww, he (Joe) thew up.

JAY: He just needs some time to get used to the idea, honey.

Before Manny could go, he needed his birth certificate, which was not in the safe with Gloria's shoes. (She has issues with what can go in the safe.) Jay and Manny head down to the courthouse to get a copy, but Manny sees the long line at the courthouse and starts having second thoughts about going to Colombia.

JAY: We didn't drive all way down here for that piece of paper for you to get cold feet at the last second. You've been looking forward to this day for months.

MANNY: Maybe we should wait until next year. I'm still kind of young to be doing this.

JAY: We're not waiting any longer. Your mother signed off on this. This is happening!

(Oh, the long line was full of gay couples waiting to get married)

Speaking of proposals, both Cameron and Mitchell were thinking of ways they could propose to each other. And naturally, they told their ideas to completely separate people who wouldn't run into each other until the appropriate moment. Cameron talks to Gloria about his ideas, and she was feeling a bit jealous because all she got for a proposal story from Jay was him ordering Manny to "hand him the thing" while watching TV. Cam's idea was to book the restaurant from his first date with Mitchell and will do it at sunset (his ideal lighting). First, though, he has to go pick up Mitchell, who forgot his wallet. But when Cam sees a box on the table at the coffee shop Mitchell was stuck at, he thought Mitchell was going to propose first and bails on him. This brings in Claire, who needed a break from the house...if you go by the macabre stories she suggested for Mitch to stall Cam. For Mitchell, his idea was to get a pair of rocking chairs that Cam once said he wished he had someone to grow old with. Claire loved the idea and volunteered to help set it up. But then when Cam and Mitch met for dinner, Mitchell found they went to the restaurant where they had their first date and figured Cam was going to jump the gun on him and tries to get out of it. Cam figures THAT out and calls Gloria to help him with his Plan B, which was a romantic picnic out under the stars. (It makes more sense if you watch it, trust me).

Meanwhile, Phil was trying to enact Claire's plan to switch the kids' trips around so they could have some alone time. Alex was actually quite easy. A few "Dad tears" about missing his daughter, and Alex was going to Sacramento instead of Oklahoma. However, Luke was adamant about going to camp to hang out with Carly. And when Phil found out she was a gymnast and offered to leave a tape of Dirty Dancing, Phil couldn't pull the trigger. So he convinced Alex to go to El Salvador instead by saying she could lapse into mediocrity if she didn't push herself. (No, not kidding). Haley, however, was wise to her parents' plans and tried to use that to get her gas, groceries, and summer clothing paid for on her trip. But Phil was way ahead of her.

PHIL: You overplayed your hand, and I can pull the plug on this. Then you've blown your last chance to have a good time with your friends and then word gets out you're not cool. Then school starts and you end up with your nose in a book all year. No dates, no friends, not caring how you look. (As Alex walks by)

Phil, Claire, Jay, and Gloria head over to Mitch and Cam's to set their respective plans up. And all four discover what's going on. Phil and Gloria think it's cute and romantic. Jay and Claire, not so much.

JAY: This is what happens when they let men marry men! (Joe throws up again) That CAN'T be a coincidence!

Jay is not thrilled, and gluing stars to the walls when there was adhesive already on the back didn't help. Gloria was sick of his bellyaching given his proposal to her consisted of ordering Manny to grab the ring and give it to him. But there was more to the story. Manny had jumped the gun by accident when Jay really wanted the remote.

JAY: I was asking for the remote. He jumped the gun. He was supposed to give me the ring later that night at the restaurant. The waiter was gonna come by and offer coffee. I was gonna say, "No, thank you. It'll keep me up, and lately, I've been loving my dreams, and there's one in particular I hope comes true". Manny gives me the ring. I say, "Gloria...

GLORIA: Yes, Jay! Yes, I marry you! I love my new story.

Phil gets a text from his dad wanting him to visit right in the middle of their free week during the summer. He thinks it's a bad coincidence...until Claire looks at how beautiful Phil set everything up and confesses she wanted some alone time during that week for herself. And the fact that he even kept the speeding ticket he got when he was in such a hurry to get to her and propose back in 1994, she is in tears for doing that to him when he is a born romantic.

CLAIRE: I told your dad to call you because I wanted some time for myself. Yeah, couple of days away from my perfect, romantic husband, who is far too good for this cold-hearted, bloodless wife-bot.

PHIL: Hey, hey, hey, you have blood. So I'm a little more sentimental.

(As Claire's mom texts ready to suggest a few days away, too)

They have plenty of time to set up, however, as Mitch and Cam get a flat tire. (On Mulholland Drive on a starry night, no less). Mitch was actually quite proud of how well he can change a tire these days...and let the flat one fall down the hill and hit someone's house. They go to put on the spare and realize both of them are down on one knee. They look at each other and both say yes.

Gloria found the card Manny wanted Jay to give her, but he had decided to wait a few days because she was so emotional about him leaving. Then he reads the card, where Manny tells her to take care of Jay and make sure she called to tell him how his doctor's appointment went. And a tearful Jay was off to send Manny his other robe.

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

  • Courtney Grosbeck as Carly
  • Jill Matson-Sachoff as Carly's Mom
  • Lauren Pritchard as Waitress
  • Phil Young as Traveler



  • Phil and Claire got engaged on May 19, 1994.
  • Mitchell and Cameron get engaged in this episode as the gay marriage is legalized in California.
  • Luke’s voice is now broken.
  • At the scene where Jay and Manny go to the court house to get Manny's birth certficate, the people who are standing outside the court house are crew members of the show, including the cast director of the show, Jeff Greenberg, and his partner Lars.
  • Luke (Nolan Gould) now looks a lot older and has clearly gotten a lot older between this episode and the previous episode (Goodnight Gracie)
  • This episode was foreshadowed in Little Bo Bleep when Cam suggests that he and Mitch not go to any weddings until gays get married.
  • Several times in this episode baby Joe vomits whenever gay marriage is mentioned.
  • No recurring characters appear in this episode.
  • All of the family shots in the opening credits are updated to reflect how much the younger members of the cast have grown since the first episode (Nolan Gould stating that they had to shoot a new one for this reason). as well as including Joe in final shot. There are also a few other differences:
    • Everyone is now wearing different clothes (However Mitch and Cam have already had this happen since the Season 3 premiere until the previous episode, so this is the second time they change clothes, unlike the others.).
    • This is also the last episode of the serie to feature Alex Dunphy wearing smaller framed eyeglasses.
    • The Dunphys are now standing in a different position when they appear.
    • It is now Mitchell, rather than Cameron who holds the picture frame and it is now Cam, rather than Mitchell who carries Lily. Also, Lily and the picture frame have changed sides.
    • When the characters are seen in the white background, Lily isn't carried anymore and now she only stands smiling with her arms crossed.

Cultural References

  • The episode title references the play of the same name.
  • The legalization of same-sex marriage in California is referenced (it was legal in June to November 2008 but Proposition 8 made further gay marriages illegal, until that was overturned on 28 June 2013).
  • Jay mentions the Spanish perfume Paco Rabanne, made up by the fashion designer of the same name.
  • The film Dirty Dancing is referenced by Carly.
  • Phil calls Claire Beautiful Mind when she moves around the Post-Its - a reference to the main character of the film, who moved around notes while creating his conspiracy theory.
  • Jay references the song "Hey There".