"Treehouse" is the seventh episode from Season 3 of Modern Family, it aired on November 2, 2011.

Plot Summary

Gloria wants Jay to go out for a night of salsa dancing after seeing how much his friend Shorty and his girlfriend do together. Meanwhile, Cameron makes a bet that he can get a woman's phone number at the bar and Phil builds a tree house for Luke.

Episode Description

Phil is ready to lay some wood. (For a tree house). Claire would normally object to such things, but Phil said she okayed it, but she must have forgotten. Actually, that was a lie on Phil's part, since Claire wouldn't have okayed it if he actually asked her.

Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria are entertaining Shorty and his date, Darlene, where Shorty regales them of a romantic night on the beach where they opened a bottle of wine and watched the sun set. Gloria whined about never going to the beach and laying on a blanket, but Jay said it didn't have back support. Jay also hates crowds, so Cirque du Soleil was out, and rainbows are just a bunch of colors to him. And Shorty inviting Gloria and him to go salsa dancing was definitely not something he was up for.

Perhaps he should take romantic advice from Cameron, who was on the receiving end of some serious flirting by the waitress at a nightclub. He's confident he'd be dating Julia Roberts right now if he was straight, having met her at an AIDS walk. (MITCHELL: You handed her a bottle of water.) Still, Cam's confident, so Mitchell and he make a bet: Cameron has to try to get the phone number of a woman sitting at the bar. Loser does the laundry for a month.

Cam goes up to Katie and pretends he knows her from somewhere, but she confesses she's had a hard time remembering names and faces since the car accident put her in a coma. Cam apologized and confessed it was all an act, which Katie caught him in. But she gave him an A for effort...and her digits.

Phi is actually doing a good job building Luke's tree house, although Luke is right: you should use screws instead of nails for support. Phil tells him to enjoy it to the fullest because it goes away eventually. Life gets in the way.

Phil's envious he just can't call across the street to his friends like Luke, but at least the tree house is just like their house. ("Ugh, fix that...board!")

Haley has to write an essay for her college application and is upset she hasn't had any major obstacles in her life. Yes, she blames Claire for it. But now Haley thinks she's not ready to handle anything interesting and dangerous.

Cameron calls Katie back because he had a case of the guilts. He thought he charmed her so much, she was just waiting by the phone for him to call. Mitchell naturally doesn't believe it, but Katie does pick up on the first ring. Sure enough, Cam couldn't break up with her over the phone, so he invited her over. Mitchell isn't happy with this (nor Cam's efforts to un-gay the place before she arrived), so he went over to see Jay, who finally broke down and got salsa dancing lessons from Manny.

Jay doesn't hate dancing; he's just bad at it. His first dance with Gloria was reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast. ("Actually, that was the song. Manny picked it. He didn't like me back then.") Mitch sends Manny off for a moment and gives Jay a pill to help him let his inhibitions loose a bit, since he's as self-conscious as Jay is. Well, that works better than the YouTube video of the farmer who taught his pig to disco dance.

To get Haley to realize why Claire and Phil protected her for so many years, Claire takes her up in the foothills to read what is carved on a tree. Claire's too embarrassed to show it to her personally, so Haley gets out of the car...except Claire drove off and left her there.

CLAIRE: THERE'S your obstacle!

Phil and Cameron have even bigger obstacles. The tree house isn't going well, and Luke doesn't want to stay around to see Phil play with a nail gun when he was the victim of a glue gun accident. Katie thinks she's found the perfect guy in Cam, already asking him to attend a family wedding with her. Cameron tells her he's gay...and she already knew that. It was the way he walked and talked...not to mention the theatrical hand gestures. Now Cam's a bit offended he didn't fool her the prior night. But Katie wanted a gay friend to hang out with, get guy advice from, go shopping together. Katie understands Cam did it over a stupid bar bet, and Cam is ready to confess the truth to Mitchell. But Katie plays along and pretends to be upset with Cam for pretending to be straight and hitting on her. She warns Mitchell she thought he was the least-gay guy she ever met and even told her mom about him. She gives Cam one helluva kiss before she leaves.

At the club, Gloria didn't do much in the way of salsa dancing until Jay showed up. Gloria was in ecstasy and Jay...was on a drug named for that. ("If I was going to make an ass of myself, at least I wouldn't remember it.") Provided he actually took ecstasy. Mitchell gave him children's aspirin.

On the good side, Phil gets some help for the tree house from his new neighbor...who has lived next to him for 8 years and didn't even know about.

PHIL: So, I guess I was wrong when I said once you get older it's harder to make new friends. Andre, it turns out, is an orthopedic surgeon, handy with tools, and is a great guy to hang out with. Plus, he's a bad-ass black man that gives me extra street cred. (Andre's right there with Phil in the interview.) That was his joke. He's my brother from a different mother. (That wasn't Andre's) Oh, it's 'brother from another mother'...never mind.

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



  • Haley is allergic to lactose.
  • This is Darlene's first episode. Alex and Lilly are absent.
  • Eric Stonestreet won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance in this episode.

Cultural References

  • Jay references Beauty and the Beast.
  • Cameron says he could date Julia Roberts if he was heterosexual.
  • Phil mentions a plan to help geese migrate by leading them in a glider, a reference to the plot of Fly Away Home.
  • Cam says "It's ironic, like the gift of the vag-i", a reference to the O. Henry short story "The Gift of the Magi".
  • Cam says he "could've gone Gerber", a reference to the Gerber Baby. In reality, the Gerber company showed the same baby 1928-96, only changing the baby in 1996 and 2011.