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"The One That Got Away" is the twenty-fourth and last episode from Season 2 of Modern Family, it aired on May 25, 2011.

Plot Summary

Jay desires to have a quiet birthday while fishing on the lake, but the family misinterpret him as wanting a big celebration, and in their frantic scramble to put everything together. Claire and Mitchell wind up trapped in the yard of their childhood home. Phil runs into his old college nemesis while at the mall with Gloria and Lily; Cameron gets himself into trouble at the bakery, and the kids do some creative editing on Grandpa's birthday video, all of which leaves Jay with a headache.

Episode Description

Jay's birthday is coming up, and Claire doesn't think Phil's card ("Hip, hip, hip Hurray! - Better save that last hip for when you need it.") is a good idea, despite the nice bottle of wine to go with it. She actually took an idea from him to re-create a photo of her and Mitchell when they were kids, just like Phil did for his parents. (Spaghetti bowl over himself.) Things seem a bit weird, but Mitchell was on board with his sailor's uniform. Perhaps they should start to consult Jay, whose best birthday was when he took a boat out by himself for a day to go fishing. Gloria can't believe it, although Jay did apologize for not liking the chorizo the Sausage of the Month club sent him the prior month.

Cameron drops Lily off with Gloria because she was driving him insane all morning with her crying for not getting dressed. Of course, Gloria needing to go to the mall to get Jay's gift won't stop Cameron from laying the guilt trip on her.

Manny needed Jay's advice on going to a friend's house. The glove gave away to Cameron that Manny was going to a girl's house, as Manny was trying to be something he wasn't. As Tara, the girl Manny wanted to hang out with, was on the softball team, Cam volunteered to toss the ball around to the athletically-challenged Manny.

After running into his still-a-jerk college rival, Glen Whipple, at the mall, Phil was feeling a bit emasculated. Then Gloria showed up with Lily and people started mistaking the three of them for a family, including some very approving looks from other guys. Phil was suddenly feeling a lot less emasculated, and she heads for the shoe store.

Claire (wearing bell bottoms and a tight rainbow t-shirt) and Mitchell (wearing his sailor's suit and not worrying about the weird looks he was getting) ring the bell at their childhood home to re-create the picture of them as kids. A locked fence wasn't going to stop Claire. The rather large dog might, and Claire and Mitchell got chased up the tree house. With their car being towed, they settled in with Dad's birthday gift. Claire has a knack for opening a wine cork without a corkscrew.

Manny calls Cam for advice on what to say to Tara. And Cameron delivers: "You're the prettiest, smartest, funniest girl in the 6th grade. I know you're only eleven, but I can't stop thinking about you. I've loved talking to you online, and I think we should become boyfriend and girlfriend." Of course, he said that in the middle of a bakery. "Oh, no! It's not what you think. I'm talking to a little boy." Cameron get kicked out of the bakery and with everybody else busy, it leaves him no choice but to call Jay and ask him to pick up his own birthday cake who had to pick up Stella from the groomers because he had Gloria's phone. He is still no closer to the lake.

Haley and Alex were attempting to do a video letter to Grandpa for his birthday. However, getting everybody to talk about Jay was...well, problematic. Luke volunteered to break out the video editing tools to make a video that made sense. He just needed two hours...then an extra hour...and a chocolate milk with some salt in it.

Phil all but begged Gloria to go to the shoe store with him, but she was trying on dresses. The good news was, Glen Whipple was looking in the window...when the trolley wouldn't pass by. Phil tried to sell he was with someone to Glen, but he wasn't buying it. Until Gloria came out in a tight, low-cut dress. Glen actually confessed to being jealous of Phil because he was with Claire back in college and thought Phil would marry her.

Claire and Mitchell, well buzzed by Jay's birthday gift, find a doll to throw across the yard for the dog and they get down to call Jay, who was none too happy he had to pick them up and have his fishing trip ruined. Claire and Mitchell are snickering in the back because Jay had to climb the fence and almost wrecked his new pants. Meanwhile, Stella wrecks the cake.

Later on, the family apologized to him for collectively ruining his fishing trip, but he said he was acting like a jerk. He loved everybody for making such a fuss over him. So it's time to open the presents. The photo Claire and Mitchell never got, the ruined cake, the bottle of wine that needs a refill, and a phone in the shape of a lips. "Wait a minute, I mentioned a few times taking up the saxophone. Is this a sexy phone?" Only one gift left: the video. Which lasted about six seconds and was the words "Grandpa, we love you" spliced together by whatever Luke could find in the videos. Haley and Alex were especially upset because they weren't in it, but Manny still hadn't given his present: Jay's boat in the pool so he could still have his day of fishing.

Of course, everybody wanted in on the boat. Claire almost went in the water until Phil grabbed her. "I got Claire!" But everybody enjoyed themselves, and Mitch and Cam even considered adopting another baby.

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 second episode to revolve around Jay's birthday, after "Airport 2010".
  • The tributes to Jay were recorded during the events of earlier episodes:


  • This is the last episode for twins Ella & Jaden Hiller to play Lily.
  • Jay turns 64 in this episode.
  • This episode has no recurring characters.
  • This is the last episode of Gloria with black hair

Cultural References