"Three Dinners" is the thirteenth episode from Season 5 of Modern Family, it aired on January 22, 2014.

Plot Summary

Phil and Claire take Haley out to dinner to discuss her future, but Haley manages to turn the tables. Elsewhere, Jay's friend Shorty and wife Darlene are back visiting, and they have some news that doesn't sit well with Jay. And, Mitch and Cam decide to have a nice, romantic dinner date where they don't talk about the wedding or about Lily, which then leads to a lot of awkward silences.

Episode Description

Claire and Phil have had a lot of difficulty with Haley. She seems quite unmotivated, taking a lot of selfies, sleeping ten hours a day, and missing half of the three classes she takes each week. Yelling and screaming don't seem to work, so Claire and Phil try to take her out to dinner and talk some sense into her, even trying to get her to notice their waiter and see what his plans are. (PHIL: I'd kill to have those lips. I mean on me. I mean I want his lips on my mouth.) Short-term, he was going to go home and smoke some weed. Long-term, he wanted to be a screenwriter. Claire and Phil still think that's a lot more than Haley wants to do. As it turns out, Haley did have a plan. Those selfies were pictures of her in different outfits and she was writing a blog about them. Aside from a few pervs who kept asking her what she was wearing, she got a lot of fashion questions from women and had over 1,200 followers, even making a few bucks in the process. She thought a career in fashion photography had potential. Certainly it was more than what either Claire or Phil were doing at her age. Phil wanted to be a magician, and Claire had changed her major almost every week, according to Grandpa Jay, who Haley would rather drink with than her own parents.

As the night wore on and the drinks kept coming (for Phil and Claire, not Haley), she asked her parents what their plans were, turning the tables a bit, when Alex, Luke, and her were out of the house for good. Phil wanted to buy an RV and drive across the country with their dog Merlin, but Claire wanted to fly to India, Africa...(PHIL: Diarrhea, diarrhea). Haley pressed on, asking Claire how long she planned to keep running Jay's business and whether Phil wanted to sell houses for the rest of his life or try to become a magician like he wanted. And Phil and Claire were too plowed to remember to bring their money, so dinner (and the ride home) was on Haley.

It was a night out for Mitchell and Cameron, and talk of Lily or planning the wedding were verboten. This, unfortunately, didn't leave them much to talk about, despite Cam's attempts to read up on Syria on his smartphone. They did manage to strike up a conversation with the couple at the next table. Katie, according to her boyfriend Brandon, loves sharing food, and the Tuna Tartar did look delicious to Cam. It turns out Katie's father was a Missouri farmer, and Cam just loved the fact she understood the rules of eating on the farm. (CAMERON: In my family, we didn't say Grace; we said "On your mark, get set, go!") Katie excuses herself, and the reserved Brandon (a virtual copy of Mitch) told them he was about to propose to Katie and needed some privacy. Mitchell and Cam agreed, and Cam even offered to videotape it on his phone under the guise of reading an online site so they would have the video forever. Mitch was afraid Cam would give it away, Cam denied it. Brandon proposed....and Cameron DIDN'T screw it up. But Mitchell...didn't screw it up, either. Katie saying no...now THAT screwed it up!

Brandon was flabbergasted and excused himself from the table. Katie tried to explain to Mitch and Cam that she didn't want to be in a relationship where they had nothing in common and spent dinners as a couple not talking to each other. And despite the fact Mitch and Cam didn't have much to converse about, Mitchell told her he could not picture his life without Cameron, who felt the same way. Brandon returned, and Katie told him she tried to picture her life without him...and could. (oops) She left, leaving Mitch and Cam to console Brandon with a lot of scotch and promises she wasn't the right girl for him and he could definitely do better. Then, of course, Katie comes back and decides she just got cold feet and wanted to marry Brandon. Mitchell and Cameron left before they could do any more damage.

Jay and Gloria had dinner with his friend, Shorty, and his girlfriend Darlene. They had a big announcement for Jay: they were moving to Costa Rica. With the lower cost of living, they could afford a huge place with their own private beach, and Shorty figured the humid weather would be just like being in the sauna...only he wouldn't have to see wrinkly Jay. Jay, knowing Shorty's track record, told him he gave it only three months. It was Shorty's pattern, according to Jay. Do something crazy without any thought to it, give up after he became broke and come crawling back to Jay begging for money. Jay put his foot down and said he wouldn't bail Shorty out this time, and Shorty took offense, walking out of the house. Gloria and Manny, however, thought there was a lot more going on than that. She "accused" Jay of being the most sensitive person she knew. Jay had a pattern as well to push people away before they had a chance to hurt him. It turns out there was some validity behind that, since Shorty stayed at the hospital with Jay for three days when Mitchell was born a month premature and things were very touch-and-go. Shorty was a true friend to him, and Gloria thought Shorty actually hurt Jay by deciding to move away. Shorty comes back to get the jacket he forgot, and Jay said he didn't mean all the hurtful things he said earlier in the evening. Jay thanked him and told him what a good friend he was, and Shorty said he valued how forthright Jay always was, that he was a self-made stand-up guy that you could always count on. And then the waterworks started and the two ended up hugging each other.

GLORIA: To be honest, this is a little girlier than I thought.

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



  • Shorty stayed at the hospital with Jay for three days when Mitchell was born a month premature, so Jay named Mitchell (in middle name) after Shorty's real name, Vincent.
  • Shorty was a Marine.
  • Phil always wanted to be a magician.
  • When Haley was younger, she cannot pronounce the "P".
  • Alex, Luke, Lily and Joe do not appear, although Lily is mentioned by Cam.
  • This is Darlene's last episode.


Cultural References


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