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"The Butler's Escape" is the fourth episode from Season 4 of Modern Family, it aired on October 17, 2012.

Plot Summary

Luke wants to quit magic and Phil just can't seem to accept it. Meanwhile, one of Gloria's new pregnancy symptoms is snoring and she's keeping the whole house awake, forcing Jay to take desperate measures; and Mitchell and Cameron's household dynamic is put to the test when they decide to swap duties - Mitch staying at home with Lily while Cam goes off to work at his new job as the music teacher at Luke and Manny's school.

Episode Description

It's a late night for everybody. There are many ways for a fire to start in a household, but Luke's box of magic tricks (The Great Lukini) is a new one. Phil, naturally, is proud of him; he even got Luke lessons from a man he found online. (Because that never goes wrong.) On the other hand, Jay is up for an entirely different reason: Gloria is snoring like a buzzsaw thanks to her pregnancy. To make things worse, Manny already claimed the couch downstairs. And Mitchell is being kept up by Cameron practicing for his first day as a music teacher. Mitchell decided to let it go, but Lily took the direct approach, unplugged his electric piano, and threw the plug at him.

As Jay thanks his lucky stars he has a trip to San Francisco and gets a night away from the snoring machine, Cam is excited and confident he'll knock the socks off of middle school students. But Mitch is being supportive, even handling Lily duties for the day, the list of which Cam must remind him of, naturally. Meanwhile, Luke wants to quit doing magic because he isn't interested in it, and Claire thinks Phil will be OK with that. (No, he's not).

Give Cameron credit for the enthusiasm, but middle school kids are the toughest to teach. But Cam pushed forward and tried to teach the kids about his good And Luke and Manny pretended they didn't know him. Mitchell wasn't having much more luck getting Lily to school, thanks to traffic, not strapping her seat in the car correctly, and Lily pointing these things out to him. Cam checked in with him at the grocery store and even helped Mitch find Lily when she wandered off in the store.

Jay ended up not needing to stay in Frisco ("They hate it when you call it Frisco.") overnight and he hadn't slept in a week. Claire's advice about Gloria's snoring? Suck it up.

CLAIRE: Your hot wife, who was learning to walk when you were 30 years old, is pregnant with the baby you conceived doing something most men would kill to do!

And Claire said Gloria was going through so much with the extra weight, which was up to 45 pounds by the time Jay hung up. By the time Jay got home, even Stella was begging for help. Jay snuck out and headed for a hotel.

Meanwhile, Phil made a deal with Luke: he could quit magic if he could execute The Butler's Escape, where Luke is shackled in a butler's uniform and obviously must get out of it. Which he did...even before Phil had finished tying him upside down. Phil was upset because Luke didn't share one of his interests, but Claire found some wisdom in what was going on. Alex had been sniping at everybody and Claire couldn't figure out why. But the opposing forces needed to make the Butler's Escape work was figuratively what Claire needed. Alex was missing her opposing force: Haley. But one nasty Skype call to Haley, and the family was balanced once again.

At home, Lily had her braids done, the dimmer switch was fixed, and there was even a nice meal on the table...all thanks to Claire but Cam doesn't need to know that. But Cam broke down and admitted his first day was a disaster. Even the other teachers didn't like him. Mitchell tried to still take credit for his work, but Claire ratted him out, saying Mitch was every bit the failure he was today. But Cam hugged Mitch, figuring he was on the receiving end of many sisterly insults that day. (CLAIRE: Is this going to work its way around to a 'thank you', ladies?)

Gloria calls Jay to surprise him and say she took a plane to San Francisco. Jay panics, grabs all of his stuff, and runs down to the hotel lobby. Where, of course, a ticked-off Gloria is waiting for him. Apparently, Manny was already at the hotel looking for peace and quiet, since the house had been a little noisy lately and the school library was a total pickup scene. Gloria thought he was having an affair, but Jay confessed needing a night away from her snoring and hogging the bed like Rush Limbaugh. Gloria was mad at him for not saying anything, even though he didn't want her to get mad at him like she got mad at Manny earlier. But she wants that because she knows he can take a little yelling: she loves that about him, in fact. And at least his hotel room won't go to waste: Gloria will sleep at the hotel while Jay takes Manny home and makes him dinner.

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


  • Haley only appears via Skype in this episode.
  • No recurring characters appear in this episode.

Guest Starring

  • Malachi Smith as Delroy
  • Lucia Vecchio as Goth Girl


Cultural References