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"The Big Guns" is the twelfth episode from Season 6 of Modern Family, it aired on January 14, 2015.

Plot Summary

Claire is furious about their neighbors Ronnie and Amber's eye-sore of a boat on their front lawn and it soon becomes an all-out war when Phil calls in "the big guns" as back up: his dad Frank and all his retired friends to give them a taste of their own medicine. Elsewhere, Jay is trying to potty train Joe but Gloria does not think he's ready yet, and Cam secretly takes Lily to clown school behind Mitchell's back.

Episode Description

Ronnie (Steve Zahn) and Amber (Andrea Anders) get a boat and they park it on their front lawn, something that makes Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil (Ty Burrell) furious. Phil tries to tell them politely to remove the boat but when he sees that being polite leads nowhere, he decides to call his father Frank (Fred Willard) and all his retiree friends to come and camp in front of their houses with their trailers. At first, everything seems to go well for Phil and Claire but Ronnie gets along with the older men and they all hang out together. That leads Claire to call the police.

In the meantime, Luke (Nolan Gould) tries to flirt with Tammy (Brooke Sorenson) who lies on the boat on her swimsuit. Tammy turns him down every time he talks to her. In the end, Luke passes next to Tammy without even looking at her and pretending that he no longer cares about her, something that makes her mad. It turns out that Alex (Ariel Winter) advised him to act like that to make Tammy notice him.

Jay (Ed O'Neill) tries to potty train Joe (Pierce Wallace) despite Gloria's (Sofía Vergara) warnings that Joe has to be ready on his own and Jay has to not put stress on him. The real reason Jay wants to train Joe is that every time he goes to the store to buy diapers, people think that he asks diapers for himself. After a long time and the moment Jay is ready to give up, Joe manages to use the potty.

Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) takes Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) to a clown school without telling Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) because he knows that Mitch will disapprove of it. When Mitch finds out, he is furious but Cameron asks him to let Lily prove to him that "she is a natural". Lily starts making different pranks that indeed make Mitch laugh but they are painful for Cameron. Cameron asks Mitch to not laugh because that encourages Lily and asks him to talk to her. Lily admits to Mitch that she hates being a clown, and the reason she is acting like that is to make Cameron ask on his own for her to give up, so as to not hurt his feelings. Mitch tells her that she has to be honest, but Lily finds another way to tell Cameron and spares hurting his feelings.

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



  • This may be the first time in the show that the relationship between Frank, Phil and Claire has sort of 'gone down'. But Phil and Claire learn to befriend Ronnie and Amber.

Cultural References