"The Wow Factor" is the eighteenth episode from Season 4 of Modern Family which first aired on March 27, 2013.

Plot Summary

Mitchell seeks to help Lily deal with a playground bully but goes too far in the process. Jay finds himself in trouble with Gloria when she finds him at a movie theatre during his babysitting time with Joe. Cam and Claire are at odds over their home renovation and seek to influence Cam's lesbian friend to side with their visions for a backyard idea; and Phil's plans to show Alex and Haley the joys of home improvement hit a roadblock.

Episode Description

Claire and Cameron get along just fine when it comes to remodeling. Of course, each has a strategy for dealing with the other. Cam always shows Claire something insane first before "negotiating down" to the thing he really wanted, and Claire confuses Cam with a lot of numbers. Of course, this doesn't last long, so they need to bring in a third party when Cam wants to build a huge fountain (with a fire background). Pam, whose son plays with Lily and goes to school with her, is a contractor, and despite the fact she formerly hated Cameron and had the hots for Claire, offered a neutral opinion. The fountain was too much for someone who was just flipping a house. But Cam wouldn't hear the end of it, so he built a fountain with musically-timed waterspouts. Claire and Pam were quite impressed. They even loved the little goldfish he added. And if you're thinking you shouldn't put goldfish in the same water with a large pump, you would be correct.

Phil was alarmed at how little Alex and Haley knew about doing maintenance in the house, as Alex had spilled some sugar and was sweeping by spreading it everywhere. So the day was a little lesson for the two courtesy of Dad. He showed them how to replace a burned-out light bulb (which later fell on him), and he even showed what to do if the hot water heater wasn't working. However, the pilot light wouldn't start up for him and he sent them on their way to get a torque screwdriver. He had a method to his madness: he could then Skype his father, who stepped him through the process of fixing the heater. Of course, hearing how glad his father was when he called because it made him feel needed, Phil figured he'd let the girls slide because then they would always need him.

Lily and the other kids were getting bullied quite a bit on the handball court at their school. (the outdoor kind, with a dodgeball) Mitchell wanted to help with the bully, so he took the little boy on in handball...and got so humiliated, Lily refused to acknowledge him as her father. It turns out Luke was quite the handball player, so Mitchell decided to get some lessons from him. Despite Luke making The Great Santini look like Robert Young, Mitchell came back to challenge the bully, saying he couldn't stay on the court if he beat him. Mitchell did defeat him, trash talking the entire way to a five-year-old. And now Cam will have to drive Lily to school every day.

Jay and Gloria had to divide parenting duties for the day. Jay figured he'd take Joe and 'convince' Gloria that she needed some bonding time with Manny because he was feeling left out with a younger brother around. The fact that Manny wanted to go to a reading of Moby Dick had NO effect on this plan whatsoever. However, Joe was crying only 20 minutes into it, but Jay took Joe to his playtime date anyway. However, with Joe being completely asleep and Jay not wanting to waste $50 on a "hippie with a puppet" when Joe would never see it, he instead took Joe to bond. James Bond, that is. Jay took Joe to see Skyfall thinking he wouldn't wake up. But of course, like every Bond villain, he gave too much of the plot away and Joe woke up. Thankfully, Rachel an old high school friend of Claire's happened to be there and didn't want to be in the theater...once Daniel Craig has his shirt back on and her sons didn't want her to sit with them...and offered to calm Joe outside the theater. Just in time for Gloria and Manny to pass by (With Manny being able to recognise Joe because the baby has the same blanket). Needless to say, Gloria was absolutely livid with Jay, and no amount of promising to take Manny to the Moby Dick reading the next day would make up for it. But Manny blew the whistle on her, saying she told him the reading was sold out and they went shopping instead. The reading wasn't sold out. But Jay definitely made up for it by reading the book to both Manny and Joe.

Main Cast

(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Joe Pritchett
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring


  • Claire and Cameron start remodeling the house they bought in "Diamond in the Rough".
  • Pam, one of the lesbians from "Schooled", makes a reappearance.
  • This is the second time that Jay encounters an old friend of one of his children. The first time was in "Travels with Scout", where he meets up with Mitchell's old high school friend Ben Dugan.
  • Claire is wearing the hoodie she stole in "When a Tree Falls".


  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson submitted this episode for consideration due to his nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. He also named this episode as his favorite one of the fourth season.
  • Rachel's sons Cooper and Nathan are uncredited.
  • This is the second time that Jay encounters an old friend of one of his children. The first time was in "Travels with Scout", where he meets up with Mitchell's old high school friend Ben Dugan.

Cultural References

  • Luke confuses Louis Armstrong with Neil Armstrong.
  • Phil says that his daughters will say "Help me dad, you're my only hope," a reference to Princess Leia's line in Star Wars.
  • Manny goes to a Moby-Dick reading.
  • Rachel said she lost interest in the movie once Daniel Craig put his shirt back on.
  • While in the mall, you can see a Monsters University poster behind Manny and Gloria before seeing Rachel with Joe.


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