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Comedy/Romance/, 2014

Synopsis It was family photo time. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the concept: get the whole extended family together wearing some sort of 'uniform', like a black t-shirt and jeans in the case of the Dunphys and Pritchetts (We've done that one, and we did collegiate sweaters, but if we try a 70s motif, I'm out). Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) took Jay (Ed O'Neill) to the mall to get his t-shirt, and Jay was impressed that Mitch kept up his piano playing because he was really good. Mitchell was fooling around on the piano in the mall that played by itself, so he wasn't happy Jay didn't know anything about him. Luke (Nolan Gould) was desperate to find a clean t-shirt...or underwear...because the washing machine needed to be fixed at the Dunphy household. Phil (Ty Burrell) had to wait between 10 and 2 for the repairman to show up, which worked for him. The record store nearby found the 45 (that's a one-song record for you kids out there) he was looking for: Carly Simon's Nobody Does It Better.PHIL: June 10, 1988. Carla Concannon and I spent the afternoon frolicking at the public pool. Later, at her house, things got...private. It was my first time, it was her first time...with me...Phil ran right down to get the 45 and relived the greatest 3:42 of his life. And how long the song was, too. But then overcome by a massive wave of guilt of 'cheating' on Claire, he took subtle steps to hide his misdeeds. Like smashing the record to smithereens and then cutting his hand open trying to pick up the broken pieces, leaving blood on the doorjamb, and shoving Haley's headphones into the couch. (OK, that last part he got away with.) What he didn't get away with was the repairman; they had come and gone.Claire (Julie Bowen), meanwhile, had dropped off another box of hand-me-downs for Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) to go through for Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons). Claire apologized for it being in her car for a long time, but Lily could sympathize with that. (CAMERON: It was three minutes while I went into the pharmacy, the window was cracked and you had a juice box. Could we retire that story?) But it turns out Cam wasn't much for dressing Lily in any of the girls' hand-me-downs, which angered Claire to no end. She thought Cam was being a snob about it. Mitchell related the story of Jay and him earlier, and Claire said Jay wasn't wired for compliments and she was certain Mitch's piano playing was great. Again, Mitchell never played the piano. And Cameron was offended that Claire thought he was being a snob. He had permanent dirt under his fingernail from working the soil. (Definition of working the soil: re-potting his orchids.)Gloria (Sofía Vergara) was a bit apprehensive about having Joseph in the picture. Since her family in Colombia would see it, she thought Joseph looked a bit too pale. She gave some thought to getting him a spray tan, but then taking him for a walk later without putting the shade up on his stroller fixed that problem for her. Of course, Joseph is half-Pritchett, so Manny (Rico Rodriguez) had to come up with an idea to cover the sunburn on Joseph's face. What baby wouldn't look cute with a Colombian flag painted on him like it was the World Cup.Jay, having had his banner day of shopping at the mall and pissing off his son, got a call from Phil. Jay insisted he never saw Phil and Phil never saw him. Phil was shocked but delighted Jay wasn't going to narc on seeing Phil coming out of the record store with that 45. Actually, it was Phil not seeing Jay walking Stella with a pretty collar around her neck outside a doggie boutique. Jay found out about a dog show in the park and wanted to enter Stella. But he wasn't completely sure about doing all the prancing around like you see in those shows, so he was doing it on the sly. Which, unfortunately, was right when the family photograph was scheduled.Cam set to prove Lily did wear hand-me-downs by staging a Christmas photo in the house, complete with a tree and empty boxes all around it. (LILY: You're killing me!) Although it would have been good to let Mitchell be in the picture because he was getting more neurotic about his stocking not on the mantle. That, and Cameron not even paying attention to him about the family ignoring him. Meanwhile, Haley (Sarah Hyland) had to take Luke to a laundromat to get his shirt washed. (Never occurred to them to take other articles of clothing?) Since all the machines were occupied, she slipped in the wash of another person. That person was a nerdy guy she convinced to get her a Coachella ticket and then ditched him the minute she got there. Needless to say the guy wasn't happy, and given he waited for her for eight hours, walked the parking lots twice, and had the battery from his car stolen when he went home, you could understand why. But at least Haley distracted him enough for Luke to get his shirt from the dryer. Of course, it was the wrong shirt (not even the correct gender), but Luke did like the way it looked on him.Phil was feeling the guilt over what he did. So much so, he was starting to fall asleep. On the good side, though, Alex (Ariel Winter) could now change her AP Biology topic from mono to narcolepsy. She even had a test case, having correctly guessed why Phil was falling asleep. Phil was all set to confess to Claire when a diamond ring fell out of Lily's pocket. It was Claire's engagement ring. Which was weird, given Claire was wearing her engagement ring. Or perhaps the ring she replaced her original with when she lost it. Of course, let's go back to the reason she would have lost it in the first place. She had taken it off to flirt her way out of a speeding ticket and started liking pretending to be single every now and again. Given she just berated a Christmas picture of Lily's on Cam's phone as being fake, she wasn't in much of a place to do anything but apologize. And obviously Phil was now off the hook because someone else did it better. (see what I did there? :-P ) But now Mitchell had reached his limit, given they were about to take the picture and nobody noticed he wasn't in it. After causing the weakest scene in recorded history, Jay took him aside and apologized, thinking this was his fault. But Jay didn't sugar-coat it; he said they don't always focus on Mitchell because people are focused on their own stupid problems. And he's very steady (NOT boring like Mitch thinks). In fact, Jay said Mitch insprired him recently.JAY: It all started when I noticed this group of guys in a corner at the park. And when I found out what they were doing, at first I thought it was kind of weird, but I kept thinking about it and I decided to give it a whirl. I think you know where I'm going with this. One of the older guys showed me the ropes, next thing you know I'm hanging out in that corner of the park every day and loving it! But I also had some shame about it because it feels good when I'm doing it, but is that me now? A guy with a show dog?MITCHELL: (relieved) See, there it is. I knew what it wasn't. I just wasn't sure what it was.Jay was ready to give it up, but Mitchell said he shouldn't be embarrassed or not tell anyone about it. It was something to be proud of.MITCHELL: A wise man once told me "I don't get it, but if that's who you are, don't you DARE be ashamed of it."JAY: I did handle that kind of well. And it wasn't easy. I just never pictured my kid a lawyer.Sure enough, everybody went to see Jay and Stella at the dog show and cheered them on.MANNY: (voiceover) It's scary to let people see the real you. Even when those people are your own family. But aren't they the ones we should least worried about? The ones who will love us without judging? Who will forgive our faults and celebrate our imperfections? Maybe even encourage us to let our true selves shine through?Of course, that talk would go over better if Gloria didn't ask Manny to hit the button to get rid of her wrinkles on Photoshop. Or if Manny didn't take a header on a skateboard...that Stella was riding?

Directed by Ryan Case  

Starring Ed O'Neill, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, more...

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