"The Incident" is the fourth episode from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on October 14, 2009.

Plot Summary

Jay's ex-wife, DeDe, shows up for the first time following a nasty incident at Gloria and Jay's wedding. Phil and Claire try to judge whether Haley's boyfriend, Dylan, is acceptable to take her to a concert or not.

Episode Description

We open with the Pritchett household, seeing Jay eat something unhealthy, when Gloria walks through the door. She announces she's home and Jay, unbeknown to Gloria, puts his snack down and picks up an apple. Manny is at a sleep over party. Gloria says she's worried about Manny and Jay reassures her. Gloria invites Jay to join her in the shower, to which Jay reminds Gloria that there is a gun in the garage and if he ever says no to that question, she should shoot him with it.

We are next at the Dunphy household, where things are bit strange as Claire is watching in disbelief at Luke and Haley who are playing but not arguing. Phil walks in and asks why they aren't trying to hurt each other. Claire says she doesn't know but she is afraid to move in case it stops. Phil also in disbelief asks Claire what's happening.

We are now at the household of Cam and Mitch, where Cam's mother, DeDe, has arrived as a surprise. We go back to the Pritchett house, where a bird slams into the window and Gloria states that it's a bad sign. Back at the Dunphys' house, Luke and Haley stop playing and start to hurt each other. Claire asks what happened and Phil states that he is sad. Back at Cam and Mitchs', Mitch warns Cam that DeDe is here. Cam insults DeDe thinking that Mitch is joking, before then stopping when he sees her in the room, and exclaims 'Grandma!' acting happy.


We come back to wehere things left off with DeDe playing with Lilys' legs, Mitch asks what she's doing, and DeDe says she's doing Tai Chi and says that Cam should try it, by which he gets offended. Mitch and Cam are first to be "interviewed", in which Cam says that Mitchell's Mom has a problem with him. Last Christmas, she gave him a piece of excercise euqipment with a lettuce dryer, whilst Cam gave her diamond earrings Cam then simplifies it saying that he gave her gorgeous earrings and she gave him a hint. We go back to DeDe, Cam and Mitch. DeDe tells Mitch that she's been living in spirituality, by living in Sedona; Arizona, America and learning about it. DeDe says that she is back to make peace with the family and move on from the "incident":

DeDe makes an insulting toast

INCIDENT: In a videotape of Gloria and Jay's wedding DeDe is there to support them, but insults Gloria a few times because of jealousy. However it becomes more than that as DeDe started drinking cocktails: "Horny Columbians" through the night as she was there. We cut to Claire in an interview as she said that the drinks are named after Glorias' uncles who were inappropriate with Claire, although Phil has brushed this off and believed that it was a columbian tradition. We cut back to Gloria and Jay's wedding, where DeDe makes a toast to Gloria and Jay, she insults Gloria by saying that she is Charo (see Cultural Refrences for link). Gloria then insults them both again by saying that she knew they were

Phil, Mitch and Cam carry DeDe out.

perfect together when she saw his wallet in her boobs after this she insults both Mitch and Claire by telling Mitch to take a 'Claire-pill' when he tells her to calm down and stop. In the video Phil has to stop Claire from trying to get up. DeDe then gets aggressive and weird, when Phil, Mitch and Cam had to carry her out, while she was screaming "I'm Gloria!, I'm Gloria! Oh hey, kiss me, hey, kiss me" in Gloria's accent, DeDe then makes Phil, Mitch and Cam accidentally destroy the wedding cake when she starts to kick around, however Phil, Mitch and Cam then manage to get her out of the room, but she is still screaming and imitating Gloria's accent.

Gloria and Jay are then "interviewed" where Jay makes a joke saying he drives women crazy, when Gloria doesn't laugh he realises that it was too soon.

Phil tries to solve the situation between Claire and Haley

We are back with the Dunphys', where Haley won't let Claire go to a concert, that she feels is unsupervised although there is going to be an adult there, however she doesn't want her going with her new boyfriend Dylan and other boys, whom she would be spending the night with. Even though Haley says its supervised by a friends, Spencer Patines' Uncle Toby, Phil tries to help by saying that Claire is worried about whether or not Dylan is going to college, Claire tries to tell Phil that she isn't worried about that, but overhears Haley tell her Dad, Dylan isn't going to college which shocks her way more. Haley tells her that Dylan is in a band and they're going on tour, but, Claire doesn't like where it's going further; Haley storms off in a rage. Phil tells everyone to call down; subsequently calling back Haley and getting Claire's attention, when he says 'Let's start from the beginning, what's wrong with Spencers' arm?' Haley continues to storm off in a rage. While Claire just gives Phil a look.

Gloria shows Manny what's on his face

We are with Gloria, Phil and Manny, Manny arrives home after the sleepover and Gloria sees that there is something on his face, Manny just thinks it's a smile, whilst Gloria takes him to the mirror to make him see that there is soemthing on his face, he gives out a disappointing 'ohh'. He then explains: 'That's why they were laughing, I thought it was my funny take on current events', Gloria then asks Jay why they would do this, Jay says it's banter and that Manny should get them back, Gloria asks what Manny thinks and he it seems that he agrees with the concept.

DeDe recaps her life for Mitch and Cam

We are back at the house of Cam and Mitch, with DeDe telling Mitch that she needs closure and needs to have everyone forgive her from the incident. She also says that she met a man and is going to move in with him in Canada, Mitch says that it's wonderful that she is with someone and wants to have a settled relationship, DeDe says that it is and she wants to have everyone forgive her so that she can move on otherwise she will be dragging around the guilt of insulting her family at the wedding. Mitch thinks that she should just repress it and move on 'like a normal family' although she says that she can't. She says that she met a man but can't give herself to him (sexually) and then makes another sexual comment, she says that she needs Mitchell's help. Which confuses both Cam and Mitch, Cam makes a comment as he get's up to leave the room: "D'you hear that Mitchell? Your Mom needs your help to make love to her new man, Chase; that's not weird, at all." when Cam walks out the room, Mitch asks DeDe

Cam compares Mitch and DeDe's relationship to a fish

what she is asking him to do, she tells him that she would like his help at helping her heal her family and make them forgive her. Mitchell invites DeDe to dinner with the entire family the same night (Sunday) without them knowing. Cam in the kitchen watching them hug, gets "interviewed" in which he says that "There's a fish in nature that swims around with its babies in its mouth, that fish would look at Mtchell's relationship with his mother and say, "that's messed up."" (see Cultural Refrences for link)

Haley and Phil talk

We are back at the Dunphys' household, where Phil and Haley start to talk, Phil is "interviewed": "Act like a parent, talk like a peer; I call it 'peerenting.' I learned it from my own dad who used to walk into my room and say, "what's up, sweathog?"" Haley and Phil are talking and Phil says he would love to say yes to the concert. Haley says her Claire just doesn't trust her, Phil says that she does but boys get 'urges', Haley stops him asking if there's something he wants, Phil tells her to pretend he is 'Marcus from biology' asking the question: "Hey, Haley, how's it going with you and Dylan; has he tried anything inappropriate with you?". We're now downstairs as Claire gets the door, Mitchell is at the door, and has brought over their mother to Claire's disappointment: "Oh, God!" DeDe then insults her hair thinking it's constructive critisism for Claire. Mitchell explains the first half of why DeDe is here. Claire then says "How very nice of her to say that; through you." DeDe then says that her sarcasm hurts; like a whip. Claire is then "interviewed" where she says that her Mom was the voice in every kids head that says they're not good enough, except the voice was outside her head; driving her to school.

After Claire's "interview" we come back to Claire, Mitch and DeDe, where Mitch explains the second half of

Mitch & Claire with DeDe

why DeDe is here, and asks Claire if DeDe could join Sunday dinner, DeDe gets dramatic with the line 'it may be the last time you ever see me' Claire, worried and surprised, asks what she's talking about, DeDe says she's moving to a far and dangerous place, while Mitchell tells Claire that it's just Canada, DeDe once again says something sexually inappropriate again this time infront of Claire and Mitchell. Claire and Mitchell both make cringey 'oohh' noises over the awkward situation. Haley comes down without Phil, to say hi to her Grandmother, DeDe tells Haley that she is all grown up,

Haley and DeDe

Haley tells DeDe that Claire doesn't think so as she won't let her go to a concert, Claire tells DeDe that it's overnight with her boyfriend which DeDe laughs at and explains her laugh by saying that 'karma's a funny thing; that's all' she then asks Claire if she remembers Ricky, Claire's ex-boyfriend, Claire responds with 'Oh, God!', Haley needing to ask and provoke her Mom asks who Ricky was, Claire brushes it off, but, of course, DeDe is going to answer it, DeDe tells Haley that Ricky was a boy who looked like Charles Manson (see Cultural Refrences for link). DeDe then tells Haley that one night Claire didn't come home until 4am, Haley asks Claire what they were doing, Claire responds with nothing and they have an argument about how Ricky and Dylan are the same, consequently leading to Claire inviting Dylan around for dinner and considering letting her go to the concert if Dylan is sweet and kind, although she says she'll run a background check on supervisor, Spencers' Uncle Toby. Haley excitingly thanks Claire and walks out the room to call Dylan. DeDe then tells Claire that something is very revealing, Claire thinks she means her change in parenting skills, but DeDe confirms she means Claire's blouse, Claire

Mitch talks Claire into letting DeDe stay

hold her chest as she says 'Mom!' and walks out of the room. Mitch tells his Mom that she isn't making things easy, but still catches up with Claire to persuade her to let DeDe stay. Claire then asks why Mitchell is cleaning up her mess instead of DeDe cleaning up her own mess. Mitchell then says that she is the one with a screwed up relationship with 'Mommy' Claire then mocks the fact he called DeDe 'Mommy' she then agrees to let her stay, and says that Mitchell has to clear it up with 'Daddy' which Mitch mocks her back for mocking him.

Mitch talks to Jay

We go to Mitch over at his Dad's house in the backyard, Jay is sunbathing and Mitch walks up to him, Jay asks what Mitchell is doing here. Mitchell explains that he wants to talk to Gloria, Jay says she isn't in the house at the moment and she's dealing with a Manny problems he explains that Manny set a kids bike on fire (which is shown in a clip shortly) because Jay told Manny to get the kid back consequently of what the kid did to him earlier on in the episode. Jay says that it wasn't his best parenting moment and Mitch under his breath says 'not your worst', it seems that Jay overhears this and breaks it by asking 'what's up?' to which Mitchell says that Mom is in town, Jay asks if it's his ex-wife although this is the only person it can be as Jay's Mom would have to come back from the dead which is a joke that Mitchell makes. Jay then says that it would be less scary than DeDe if she did. Mitch asks whether or not Jay would tell Gloria, to which he says that Gloria would never forgive him if he pulled a fast one on her (meaning, he gave her less than a day to know about it) so he tells Mitchell that he's going to do it and Jay is going to act as if he knew nothing about it, which evidently screws with Mitchell, Jay starts to tell Mitchell that the conversation never took place and he is going to erase this part of his memory. Mitchell then walks away evidently angry with his Dad.

It's now nighttime, at the Dunphys' where everyone is now, except from Dylan (Jay, Gloria and Manny); who rings the bell for Phil to answer. Haley goes up to hug and kiss him, making it awkward for Phil, Haley then introduces Dylan to her family, everyone says hi, and DeDe tells Claire that he is an gentle soul, to which Claire asks if she got that from just a 'Hey', Dylan tells Phil he came from practice when Phil sees he brough his guitar with him. Dylan asks if Phil was in a band and Phil tells him that he could have been but he was all about his magic, and Haley ignores it and bring Dylan to sit down near her family. The doorbell rings again and this time it's Gloria and Jay with Manny; DeDe says that it's silly that she is nervous, but Mitch tells her that it's not silly, she should be as Gloria doesn't know about DeDe being there and staying for dinner, as no one told her, afraid of her reaction. So she is left to be the only one (including Manny) to be shocked she's there.

When Gloria sees DeDe, Mitchell says 'Oh, boy!' knowing he's going to have to explain since Jay won't tellhis wife he knew; what makes it more awkward, is DeDe saying that she thought Mitchell already told Gloria.

Gloria and DeDe fight

Which Gloria responds to with 'lies!' Mitchell says that he couldn't tell as Gloria wouldn't come if she knew. Mitchell tells Gloria that DeDe wants to apologise for ruining her wedding. Jay then pretends he doesn't know by saying 'so you just spring it on Gloria like this; Mitchell what the hell is wrong with you?!' to which Mitchell gives him a look. Gloria tells Mitchell; not talking to DeDe, that she doesn't want apologies from her, Jay then makes it a little too obvious that he knows, however what he says seems to go unnoticed by everyone except them. Gloria then tells Jay and Manny to leave, but is stopped by DeDe when she finally apologises to Gloria properly and beautifully enough that Gloria forgives her (although Jay says before that nothing could ever make Gloria forgive her) and when Gloria does forgive her, DeDe doesn't expect to be forgiven she just wants to apologise, Mitchell then says 'Oh, okay. you see? Yeah, we're all gonna move past this. And because of me, who-who's not a mama's boy. But is a caring person with wisdom and emotional insight, so make a note, bitches!' Cam then tells Mitch that it's not a great colour on him (meaning that the way he's acting isn't him and doesn't suit him) anger once again suddenly gets the better of DeDe and she starts to aggressively attack Gloria after saying 'I just wanna... rip your head off!' consequently resulting in a fight between Gloria and DeDe, that requires Phil, Cam and Mitch again to this time, pull them apart. It also results in everyone accept Haley and Dylan shouting very loudly to tell them to stop. Phil shouts 'I got Gloria!' while Cam and Mitch have DeDe, but don't shout it.

Haley and Dylan

Another fight starts to break out when DeDe says sorry again as Gloria tells her not to say sorry anymore. The person to least give a heart to heart is the person who isn't related to any of them, Dylan. Dylan tell them that "it seems pretty simple to me: You're reaching out, trying to hold on to something awesome-' He is stopped by his girlfriend Haley telling him 'maybe you shouldn't' but he finishes 'I'm not used to this: the whole big-family thing. In my house, we don't even talk to each other, you know, it's funny: The first time I saw Haley, I knew I liked her, I mean, she's beautiful and everything but, it's not just that. It's that she's got this killer confidence, you know, the kind of confidence, that you get from having a family like this: passionate and accepting of 'hot' foreigners, and 'gay dudes' and 'nutty people', you know a family that actually loves each other."

Dylan sings 'In the Moonlight'

Claire and Phil are then suddenly accepting of both letting her be with Dylan and letting her go to the concert with him, and tells him to play music for them. Dylan plays a song (see Music for song link) called "In the Moonlight" by Reid, the person who plays Dylan. As he plays the song he gets to the lyrics "I just wanna do you" and everyone seems surprised and horrified at the same time as they realise that 'In the Moonlight' is a song about having sex with Haley. after a few seconds of realising whilst the music plays, Claire says 'She's so not going' and Phil agrees with 'Not a chance in hell'.

There is an ending scene where everyone is singing parts of the song Dylan sung before. Mitchell is singing the full version of 'In the Moonlight' to Lily having the song in his mind. They cut to Luke singing it, then Claire, Phil, Jay, Mitch and Cam who harmonize together when Mitch walks in on him. Cam tells Mitch he isn't good at harmonizing but Mitch says it was 'good'.

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

Guest Starring


  • This is the first episode to feature Dede.
  • Alex is mysteriously absent in this episode, even during the dinner scene. It is also mysterious that she is also absent from the wedding flashbacks, making it look like she never attended.
  • In the original version, Claire's ex-boyfriend whom DeDe mentions is called Ricky, while in the Greek version, Tasia (DeDe) mentions Faye's (Claire's) ex-boyfriend with the name Babis.
  • In the very start of the episode Luke and Haley are playing a hand-singing game called "Pattycake"
  • When "interviewed" Cameron compares Mitchs' relationship with DeDe to a Mouth Brooder Fish.
  • In the Greek version of the show, there are some parts of the episode that change:
    • While Alex is absent in the original version, in the Greek version Alexandra (Alex) makes a few appearances in the Greek adaptation of the episode, scenes stated below:
    • In the original version, Haley and Luke are seen together playing a hand-singing game on the couch and then start fighting. In the Greek adaptation, Panos (Luke) is actually replaced by Alexandra, but Panos still does appear in the Greek version. She and Danai (Haley) are seen looking at Danai's picture on her phone and then the fight begins with Alexandra apparently pulling Danai's hair and then Alexandra steals her sister's phone and runs off with Danai chasing after her. Alexandra is also seen during the dinner scene, unlike her counterpart in the original version. Thus, in the Greek version, the whole family is present at the dinner scene.
    • Takis (Jay) and Carmen's (Gloria) wedding flashbacks have some differences:
      • In the original version in the wedding flashbacks, there is no sign of Alex, but in the Greek version, Alexandra is seen at the wedding, but there seems to be no sign of Panos (Luke) and Diego (Manny).
      • DeDe gets dragged out by Phil, Cameron and Mitchell while Jay and Gloria remain in their seats glum, furious and quiet. In the Greek adaptation, Tasia (DeDe) is dragged out of the reception by only Philippos (Phil) and Dimitris (Mitchell), while Labros (Cameron) stays behind and tries to keep Carmen calm while Takis and Carmen are standing up and Takis tries to keep Carmen back and Carmen keeps shouting at Tasia things, like ¡Bruja!
      • In the Greek version, everyone was dancing to music and there was Greek music playing while in the wedding flashbacks of the original version, there was no music or dancing.


  • Dylan's third appearance.


Cultural References

  • DeDe, during her speech at Gloria and Jay's wedding, makes a comparison with Gloria saying that Jay couldn't wait 10 minutes to run off with Charo, referring to the Spanish-American actress who married a very much older man.
  • DeDe talks about Ricky, an ex-boyfriend of Claire's, and she says that he looked like Charles Manson.
  • Jay refers to Manny as Rambo after he put fire on a kid's bike because Jay told him that he had to get even for the prank the kid did to him.
  • DeDe metions that she is doing Tai Chi with Lilys' feet, Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art. Its full name is Tai Chi Chuan, a Chinese phrase.
  • We find out that DeDe is living in Sedona, Arizona; to learn about spirituality.