"The Cold" is the third episode from Season 6 of Modern Family, it aired on October 8, 2014.

Plot Summary

Phil is putting together Mitch and Cam's wedding video for a special family screening, but when the footage reveals that he is responsible for a horrible cold that has plagued the family, he must do some creative editing. Jay and Gloria have different ways of helping Manny cope with the stresses of high school football, while coach Cam struggles between whether or not to bench him. And, Mitchell gets strangely competitive with Lily's new friend, Sydney, who is clearly a genius.

Episode Description

The family has been going through a bad cold and they blame Mitchell and Cameron, as they were the carriers of the virus after their honeymoon. The latest victim of the cold is Claire, who has to deal with it day to day with the symptoms the rest of the family has already passed. Although everyone believes that the newlyweds are the cause of the epidemic, Phil and Luke discover, while watching the wedding video, that Phil is the main cause of the cold, as he sneezed above the cake while Jay was giving his speech. Phil is supposed to show the wedding video to the whole family, so he has to edit it to get rid of the evidence. He decides to use Luke and a green screen to pretend he was laughing instead of sneezing and edit in video shots of other wedding guests. However, the result is not what they hoped for, so Luke decides that honesty is the best option and urges Phil to confess during the dinner when the whole family will watch the video.

Jay and Gloria are heading to Manny's football game. Cameron, the coach, wants to bench Manny because he isn't doing it well, but he doesn't have the heart to tick off Jay and Gloria. Particularly Jay, who is re-channeling his days playing for Polk High and telling Manny's nerves are good. When the game starts, Jay and Gloria see how good kicks Manny the ball, but they soon realize that the one who kicked it was another kid as Manny was finally benched by Cam.

Lily has a new friend, Sydney, who is very smart and intelligent. Mitchell is delighted that Lily has found someone special like her, someone who assumes an intellectual challenge, not an ordinary child. Or at least it seems at first until he discovers that Sydney is much better than his daughter. After doing many activities and seeing how Sydney beats Lily in everything, Mitchell finally calls her a know-it-all, which makes Sydney cry. Mitchell tries to apologize for telling her to forget what he said, but Sydney says that he can't forget it because she has a photographic memory. Lily is upset with Mitchell, and in the middle of the discussion, he accidentally spills a drink on Sydney's picture and also gets his watch caught in her hair by mistake, which makes her cry more. When Sydney's mother arrives, she gets mad at Mitchell for calling Sydney a know-it-all and leaves. Mitchell then turns into Lily and asks her if Sydney is really a year younger than her.

In the meantime, Jay asks Claire to meet a client for lunch, which she agrees despite her being sick and suffering. Until she gets to meet the client, she regrets her decision when she begins to suffer from vertigo. She manages to meet the client but she passes out when he asks her for a lunch, which will take place in the revolving rooftop of the hotel.

Everybody gathers for dinner at Jay and Gloria's. Mitchell and Cameron are ready to out-duel each other on who had the worse day, and Phil is freaking out about having to admit to sneezing through the wedding video. Haley doesn't want to admit to Alex her true feelings about Andy, feelings that she even does not want to admit to herself. After a conversation she has with Alex, she decides to talk to Andy. He apologizes because he was confused about his girlfriend, Beth, the last time they talked and misinterpreted the signals he thought he was getting from Haley. They agree they are wrong for each other and they are way better as friends. Andy also claims that if they were kissed it would be a disaster as Haley would be destroyed.

Meanwhile, during the dinner, Manny isn't hungry, Gloria benches Cam at the kids' table for benching Manny at the football game, and Lily is ticked off at Mitchell. Nobody takes Mitchell's side on this, including him, because he is upset Sydney was making him feel like a failure with Lily. Phil wholeheartedly agrees that you can't force kids to live up to your tough expectations. Gloria turns on Jay, saying he puts too much pressure on his kids. But Jay claims he doesn't put any more pressure on them than they can handle, just as Claire enters the house and passes out. But Manny finally admits Cameron was right to bench him. Gloria gives Jay both barrels for it, but Manny says is more afraid of disappointing Gloria. Jay knows Manny isn't good at sports, but Gloria always makes him out to be her "perfect little angel", so he freaks out about failure at every turn, even missing the first two days of culinary camp.

Haley, taking advantage of the awkward tension in the house to go back to Andy, asks him what did exactly mean when he said that she would be destroyed if they kissed. Andy tells her that he believes that she would be emotionally wrecked as girls do not get over him. This surprise Haley, telling him that guys don't get over her, revealing that she had 3 stalkers. Andy admits being kissed by Haley would have rocked his world, and also says that it would rock hers even more. Haley, being sure that the one that would be crush would be him, she kisses him. The kiss seems to not affect Andy at all, something that it is not the same for Haley.

The family finally goes to watch the video. When they play it, everyone feels uncomfortable with themselves and they fast forward it. Phil takes the opportunity and says that he can edit the video and cut out all the moments that make them feel embarrassed, something that fits him too since that way, no one will find out that he was the one who spread the virus to the whole family. But Lily tells him he knows he sneezed on the cake, and Phil replies that nobody likes a know-it-all.

In the end credits, Mitchell is awake in the night, and Cam repeatedly demands him to go to bed. But Mitchell can't stop watching his horrible dance moves in the wedding video, which makes to shock himself.

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



  • Haley and Andy share their first kiss.
  • According to Claire, this episode takes place a saturday.
  • Alex, Luke and Lily are apparently the only one who did not suffer from illness in this episode.
  • Jay reveals on the wedding video that his father died 25 years ago on that day meaning that Mitchell and Cameron got married on the 25th anniversary of Jay's father's death.
  • This marks Sydney's first appearance.

Cultural References

  • On their trip to Yosemite, Phil found a mountain chickadee.
  • Siri of Claire's cellphone mentions Paul Rudd.
  • To make Luke laugh, Phil mentions himself doing Yoda walking into a spider web.
  • Sydney mentions several countries and world capitals: Algeria (Algiers) and Angola (Luanda).
  • Sydney has a photographic memory, her painting strongly resembles sunflowers by van gogh.