"The Musical Man" is the nineteenth episode from Season 2 of Modern Family, it aired on April 13, 2011.

Plot Summary

Cameron is relishing his role as interim music director at Luke and Manny's school, and he's taking on the upcoming spring musical performance with a little too much zest and fervor. Meanwhile, Jay's brother, Donnie, is in town for a visit, and their relentless brotherly ribbing goes a little too far; and Phil convinces the family to be in his new realty ad, but when he goes as far as to wrap the family minivan in the ad, the results are unexpected.

Episode Description

Claire has become a star, at least as far as Horizon Realty says. Phil had the idea of taking a picture of his family and having it printed on the side of the minivan. And every bus bench in the city will now say "I can't be satisfied until you're satisfied." But here's a little curveball for Phil and Claire: Haley is actually an average student! At least her ACT scores say that, but Alex assures her it's just a fluke and she can retake them again. Phil and Claire couldn't be happier Haley could now get into a good school, except she thinks she is going to skip the whole college thing.

ALEX: Well, we took the scenic route, but we ended up in the same place.

Speaking of opportunities, Cameron was now the new musical director for the Franklin Middle School musical, after the regular director suddenly became ill...right around the time Cameron got sick, too. Cameron is going to take the school on a musical trip around the world. Mitchell, as you might suspect, is less than enthusiastic. Mitch tries to play nice and support Cam, even with an original song-and-dance number the kids have to learn by tonight.

Jay has learned to use his smartphone, or at least use it to take a picture of his butt and program that to come up whenever his brother, Donnie, calls him. Gloria is not all that enthused. And when Jay wants to pull the prank on Donnie but doesn't get his phone out, the two wrestle to the ground and break things. Gloria was desperate to remind herself why she married Jay in the first place.

At the play, a bit of a rivalry has developed between Manny and Luke over a pretty girl, Emma. Only Manny is the only one in competition, because Luke is just acting goofy and Emma's liking it, much to Manny's dismay. The kids, you might expect, aren't happy with Cameron's obsessiveness, and one of them wants to leave for soccer practice. Cam reminds him the cast of Rent never went to soccer practice and they have a Tony. (LUKE: We have a Tony) And Emma thinks pointing Tony out is hysterical.

Claire and Haley have to go drive the van somewhere, but Claire was too preoccupied with Haley not wanting to go to college to notice the printers may have wanted to think twice about how they did the picture. Claire is all by herself on the side of the van with the words "I Can't Be Satisfied," while Haley is by herself on the other side of the van with the words "Let me make your dreams come true"...and the phone number.

CLAIRE: (still hasn't seen the sign) Your father's not just selling houses; he's selling us.

HALEY: What will my friends think?

CLAIRE: They'll just think you're helping your father put food on the table.

While Gloria tries to figure out why Jay considers himself getting closer to his brother by sabotaging his scotch and not knowing Donnie was a grandfather, Haley and Claire are getting quite a bit of honking from the other drivers. Claire's tired of it and tells one of them to just call the number! Jay finally relents and talks to Donnie over pool. Donnie really doesn't want to talk. Besides, the doctors caught it early and he got the treatment, so he was fine for the moment. Donnie wrongly assumed his wife called Jay and told him he had prostate cancer. But Donnie wanted it kept quiet. Jay was so quiet about it, he forgot about the chair he sabotaged for Donnie to spill his drink...the hard way.

Claire tries to convince Haley all of the advantages of college. A very convincing argument is that college is a time when the whole world is ahead of you and you get that excited/scared feeling you can never, EVER, get back.

Back at home, Phil is ecstatic about all of the messages he's gotten. Of course, he hasn't listened to a single one. But then the first one comes.

PHIL: You saw the ad? Great! Do you know which one you're looking for? The little one? I think I know which one you're talking about, but if you're interested, I also have an older one with a lot of character. Well, I think the carpeting matches the drapes; I haven't checked in a while. Both of them? Wow. But I guess that makes sense if you're planning to flip one. Well, why don't I call you back, and it will give me a chance to give both of them a good scrubbing.

Of course, it would have helped if Alex had shown him the picture of the van her friend just sent her.

PHIL: (figures it out) I guess I'll be seeing you Wednesdays and every other weekend.

Phil immediately calls Claire, who sounds very upset. But she's upset about college and life passing her by, so he has a temporary reprieve.

At the school, Mitchell is supporting Cam by bringing him some PB&J (Pear, Brie, and Jambon), but Manny talks to Mitch on the side about Cameron driving everyone crazy. Mitch doesn't want to betray Cam, but he tells Manny to bring up any concerns he may be having. And Manny does by chewing out Bob Fussy. And Cam reacted exactly the way you'd think: by going crazy. He introduced this kids to the greats: Bernstein, Sondheim. And Cameron refuses to go back to the old musical.

Phil intercepts Claire and gets her away from the van. She asks if her best years are behind her, and he assures her the trick is to keep looking forward. Cam looks enthused to start the musical. And Luke is all up in the air about it...literally. He can't get down from the wires again. And Donnie wasn't done playing practical jokes on Jay, like taping his mobile phone shut and calling it or giving him a Wet Willie. Now Gloria's mad at both of them, but Jay tells her to calm down because Donnie has cancer. That did NOT calm her down, and Donnie was quite upset. Lucky for Phil, he didn't see Luke still caught on the wires or Jay and Gloria arguing in the audience, as he was outside with a razor trying to get the ad off of his van. Donnie is mad at Jay for treating him with kid gloves since telling him he had cancer. And he wanted to get away from home to avoid that treatment. Jay wanted to make sure Donnie knew he cared about him, but Donnie had known that since they were kids and Jay beat up the kid Joey Calieri who took Donnie's bicycle.

The kids have given up on the musical, especially since Emma had to be put on the injured list after her Joan of Arc role didn't go as planned. And Luke was losing feeling in his legs, but Cam insisted they go out for the finale and spell out "We Love the World". Except Luke (who was the 'L' in world) was stuck on the wires so 'world' became word. Cam figures the hell with it, and lower the Franklin logo. Sure enough, it spelled "We Love the F Word", which caused most of the audience to gasp and be confused and shocked, Jay to say "What the hell?" and Donnie and Haley to laugh.

Phil couldn't scrape off the ad with a tiny razor and Claire finally discovered she can't be satisfied, but Phil thinks it makes her more of an escort than a prostitute. And when Haley sees her side of the van, she refuses to get in it. She'll go home with anyone. (ALEX: That's what it should say on the side of the van.) Claire was livid, but Phil sort of defended himself by saying 25 out of the 30 calls were for the hot blonde.

CLAIRE: Men are pigs. (suddenly not so upset) They say anything else about me?

Mitchell brings Cameron some flowers, and Cam thanks him for staying supportive through the entire disaster. They hug and kiss and have a moment, which Luke interrupts because he wants to be cut down from the wires. He can feel his heart beating in his eyes now.

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


  • Gloria mentions that she has 29 cousins in Colombia.
  • This is the first episode in which Cameron directs a show in which Luke and Manny participate. Also, the first episode in which he has a temporary job.