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"Travels with Scout" is the twenty-first episode from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on April 28, 2010.

Plot Summary

Claire suspects there's more than meets the eye to a surprise visit by Phil's father in a RV. Cameron offers to fill the drumming vacancy in Dylan's band. Manny is in shock after seeing a horror movie with Jay after going to a dentist appointment, much to Gloria's dismay.

Episode Description

Phil's father Frank comes over from Cocoa Beach with his RV to visit the family. He also brings a dog called Scout to give it to them, as he can't raise it because his wife Grace is allergic to dogs. Claire as expected is angry at this as she expects the family not to help with the dog and she will do all the work. While taking the trash out, Claire overhears Frank crying in his RV and thinks that has something to do with Grace. Claire tells Phil, but Phil doesn't believe it. Claire convinces Phil to ask his father what is wrong, though when he gets ready to ask, Phil instead avoids it with another question. Claire continues to be bothered by Scout, though it becomes clear she begins bonding with it. When Frank is about to leave, Phil finally asks him what is wrong and Frank tells Phil he fell in love, making Phil think his parents are divorcing. Then Frank says he fell in love with a he, Scout. Therefore, the family decides to let Frank keep the dog and Claire, who ends up being the most upset that Scout is leaving, gives Scout her bra. Frank then leaves with Luke chasing the RV like a dog.

Jay takes Manny to the dentist. There he meets Mitchell's old acting friend from High School, Ben Dugan, who keeps acting and is starring in a new film named Maple Drive. Jay, not knowing it is a horror movie, decides to take Manny to the film. Manny is completely frightened by the movie. Back at home, while Jay is fixing their broken doorbell (which repeatedly rings), Gloria gets angry at Jay for taking Manny to a horror film. He tells her that being scared is part of growing up and assures Gloria that Manny will get over this. But when Manny begins sleeping in their bed, he realizes he has to do something. He asks Ben to come to show Manny how likable he is and not be scared anymore. When Ben arrives, he knocks on the window since the doorbell does not work. Manny sees him, and when Ben sees him he tells him that he is there for. Due to the lighting on his face and his fake machete, Manny becomes especially frightened of him and rushes upstairs, much to Jay's disbelief.

Meanwhile, Cameron comes to the Dunphy house to meet Scout and Frank. There, Dylan has bad news that Brian, the drummer of his band, is moving to Portland because his parents are getting back together. Cameron hears this and offers himself to replace Brian, as he used to be a music teacher before he and Mitchell got Lily. Haley tries to convince Dylan to give him an opportunity, and he finally agrees. Cameron's audition is initially bad, but tells Dylan and the other band components he "was holding the sticks in the wrong hands" and when he put them in the other hand, he proves to be a very capable drummer. When Mitchell finds out, he is annoyed since they are going to the après-ski fondue party of their friend Pepper the same day and demands him to cancel the concert. Cameron says no since he always stays with Lily so Mitchell decides to go to the concert then the party. Mitchell ends up staying at the concert, admitting Cameron was amazing, although Cameron ends up showing off by playing a drum solo that is far too long. Afterwards, Brian returns since his parents separated again. Cameron first thinks he is going to stay but soon realizes that he is the one that is going to leave, and sarcastically wishes Brian good luck beating him.

In the end credits, at Dylan's concert, Jay introduces Gloria to Frank, and Frank obviously hits on her, saying that she is hotter than a Las Vegas sidewalk on the 4th of July. Frank asks Jay if he has gone too far, and Jay lies to him, not telling him he has actually gone too far.

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 episode marks the second appearance of Phil's father Frank Dunphy, who previously appeared through a video chat with the family in "Undeck the Halls".
  • Franks first appearance in-person.
  • Dylan's ninth appearance.


  • Fred Willard previously worked with Christopher Lloyd, Steven Levitan, and Ty Burrell on Back to You and had worked with Ed O'Neill on Married... with Children.
  • This is the second appearance of Phil's father Frank but his first physical appearance his first appearance was in Undeck the Halls but only via webcam.
  • Cameron reveals he was formerly a music teacher, but he gave that up when he and Mitchell got Lily. He will become a music teacher again in season 4.
  • This is the first time that Jay encounters an old friend of one of his children. The second time was in "The Wow Factor", where he meets up with Claire's old high school friend Rachel Lissy.

Cultural References

  • The episode title is a reference to the nonfiction book, Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck in which Steinbeck travels across the country in an RV with his dog, Charley.
  • Jay says that Mitchell and Ben acted really well in The Sunshine Boys.
  • Mitchell calls Dylan's band 21 Jump Street.
  • Cameron compares painting and repainting their den with the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Scout is a direct reference to Jean Louise "Scout" Finch from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Phil drinks Red Bull.
  • Cameron calls Brian Ringo.
  • The progression riff at the beginning of the song that Dylan's band plays is similar to multiple rock songs: "Brain Stew" by Green Day, "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago, and "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" by Led Zeppelin.