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"A Tale of Three Cities"
A Tale of Three Cities
The Dunphy children in New York
Season 8
Episode 1
Total Episode Count 167
Written By Elaine Ko
Directed By Chris Koch
Production Code 8ARG01
Air Date September 21, 2016
Episode Guide
Previous
"Double Click"
Next
"A Stereotypical Day"

A Tale of Three Cities[1] is the first episode from Season 8 premiere of Modern Family, it aired on September 21, 2016.

Plot Summary

After recent trips take the Dunphys to New York; Mitch, Cam and Lily to the Midwest; and Jay, Gloria, Manny and Joe to Juarez, Mexico; the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan reunites in its eighth season premiere with all of the families converging at home for Father's Day.

Episode Description

This episode opens with The Dunphy family in New York. Phil and Claire are packing to leave, leaving the Dunphy children to go home on their own, being adults, they have to leave to get home in time to be together for Fathers' Day. Haley asks if they really have to leave, assuming they all have had a really good time in New York. Alex asks "Yeah, can't we just stay a couple more days?". Phil states that it's killing him to leave the City and states that there was an open mic night that he wanted to attended. Claire states that they'll come back at some point because she loves it there too. Compared to the New Yorkers, she's laid back. They all have a group hug and Claire tells them to go upstairs and pack to leave.

Phil & Claire are "interviewed" first. Claire says that "After a great week in New York, I had to get to Raleigh for the Carolina Closet Caucus. Phil and I have always wanted to drive across the country together, so we thought we'd make a road trip of it." We cut back to Phil and Claire saying bye to their kids, whilst Phil drives off. The kids in return wave bye, but as soon as the parents can't hear or see them anymore. Haley turns around and states that they are all staying another night. Luke asks "What? You heard Mom and dad. They said no.", Haley states that they'll "still get home before them. They'll never know." as she continues, we find out that Andy and Haley broke up, and she doesn't want to go back yet and "face life". Alex asks how they'd pay for the hotel and Haley states that they should use Luke's carnival settlement money. Luke states that he earned it and he isn't using it for this. Luke then tells Alex and Haley that he is the one who fell off of the ride. Haley tells him that him and Alex were the ones who suffered. Haley says "We couldn't turn on lights or make loud noises until your head got small again.". Luke tells them they can't use the money he's saving for college. Luke, Haley and Alex, burst out laughing, knowing Luke will probably never make it to college. Luke gives permission for them to spend it afterwards.

We are now with Phil and Claire, Claire sees a Sushi restaurant and says "Oh, look -- that sushi restaurant we never made it to.", Phil accompanies this saying "We tried. They just never had a table for five.". They then remember all of the fun they still got to have. Although they then talk about all of the things they didn't get to do because of the kids. Alex was allergic to carriage leather, so they couldn't ride one of those horse-drawn carriages through the park. Claire then asks "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?", Phil then answers "You could blow off the convention. We could stay here for a romantic few days but never tell the kids because we just made them go home?". Claire then high fives him and states that it's the only time he's ever answered that question right.


INT. THEME SONG


We are now with Cam and Mitch in the Midwest. Mitchell has just come back from running outside, he tells Cam that it's really beautiful outside. As he starts to say more things, he realises, but we don't until the camera pulls out and we see Cameron and his family dressed in black, holding hands, sitting around a table. Mitch is "interviewed" and states that they "decided to spend the summer in Missouri. But we arrived to find Cam's grandma on her deathbed. Right where we left her at Thanksgiving." We cut back to Mitch, Cam and the rest. Cam tells Mitch that he wished he's be a little more mindful of his family's situation. Mitch then responds in sarcasm, bumped he isn't on holiday. "I'm sorry -- I didn't realize the vigil had drifted out to the common areas.", he continues "Cam, come on. She's 95 years old and plugged into a wall. Maybe it's time to, you know--", Cam finishes what Mitch is scared to say "What? What are you saying, Mitchell? That we should pull the plug?" Cam's family ovehear him and they all gasp in horror. We realise that Lily is also around the table and also hears this, she is the only one to say "Lord 'O Mercy!", Cameron then asks "Have you even taken your turn sitting with Gram?", Mitchell then tells Cam that his Grandmother hates him and calls him names. However Cam is having none of it and defends his Grandmother, "This again.", Mitch then straightens it out with an example "Cam, she refers to me as 'the sissy'. Cam jumps to her defense again saying "You heard that wrong. She's hard to understand because of the dentures she inherited. You know they were made from the keys of a child's piano.", Mitch states that he doesn't know what to say even if he was with her. Cam tells Mitch that "Mama's reading her poetry. Lily's reciting scripture. Pam and I are gonna sing a song we wrote when we were younger, 'Sweet Home Ala-gramma.'" Mitch asks to be taught the song. Cam gets sassy stating that she is his 'Alagramma' not Mitchells. Mitchell says that he'll think of something.  Cam walks back to the table, returning his hands to his family members hands. They all sing "Onward--" but are interrupted by Mitchell turning the blender on, he then states that he is sorry, and we hear a slight noise of the blender again.

We are now with Jay, Gloria, Manny and Joe in Juarez, Mexico. We hear Manny complain that his collar itches. Jay, Manny and Joe are all wearing Mexican cultural costumes. Gloria is seen wearing a White & Multicolored dress. Gloria is holding Joe's hand. whilst Manny walks behind them and Jay is behind Manny. Gloria tells Manny to stop complaining because they all look "handsome". Jay tells them that they look like the three amigos. Gloria is the first to be "interviewed" in which she states that they "were in Juarez for my sweet 19-year-old cousin Marisol's third wedding. It was so beautiful. Thank God that they finished that tunnel in time for her father to make it.", we come back to the clan walking through Mexico. Jay gets out his phone and Gloria tells him to put it away, as he is missing things in Mexico. Jay states "Hang on -- I'm trying to lock up some sausages for Father's Day this weekend. You wait till the last minute, you wind up eating chicken and apple, like some damn hippie." The last episode is then referenced as Jay still doesn't know how to work technology and Double Clicks.

Gloria sees Sonia, her sister, and tells Manny "La Diabla" which translates in English to "She-Devil", and tells Manny to come and dance with her, unaware Jay stays with Joe. Sonia goes over to Jay and surprises him greeting him with "Hola, Jay!" ("Hello, Jay!"), Jay gets up to say Hello back. Sonia tells Jay that Gloria is avoiding her. Sonia states that Gloria is still mad because she forwarded her a mass email. Jay states "Could be that, or it could be the last time you saw her, you tried to steal me and kill her.". Sonia then asks how her sister is. Jay says " Fantastic. Great. 'Course, with Joe and also her hot-sauce business, she got a lot on her plate. Hey, have you tried one of these Mexican cookies?", Sonia corrects Jay, telling him they just call them "Cookies" and continues "I'll speak with Gloria later. I have to drop this at the gift table.", a guy holding the same gift wrapped differently, walks past her and she sighs. Sonia walks off and Gloria and Manny come back. Gloria says "My seat is cold, and the flowers wilted. I see that my sister has been here.", Jay tells her to get over what happened. He says "We talked about Joe. I told her how well your hot-sauce business was going." he then carries on about the cookies, Gloria panics, "Why did you tell her about the sauce? Everybody, get your things. We have to leave Juarez right now!", Jay states that it took him 45 minutes to get into his outfit. Gloria reminds Jay of how crazy Sonia can be, and now that she knows about her successful business, she's going to want it, or some of it. Jay says "Aren't you 400 bucks in the hole on that thing?", however Manny interrupts her reply asking " You don't think this looks bad -- us walking out before dinner?", Gloria then tells them " Joe has a fever, and he -- he's sweating very much.", Joe tells Gloria he's not.

We are back with Claire and Phil in Essex House. Claire says "I'm gonna reverse what I said. Central Park dog rentals -- million-dollar idea.", Phil replies with "Yeah, and maybe it's just the high of being on vacation, but is there a bird more majestic than the American pigeon?", We see Alex tells Haley and Luke to "Get dressed. We're going out for walk-around breakfast pizza.",  she ten realises she forgot her room key, and we realise that Phil and Claire are staying next door to their kids and none of them know it except us. Alex and Haley are walking out the room, when Haley receives a call from Claire, Haley and Alex walk back to Luke so they can have a group call. Claire says that she's in West Virgnia. And They say they're out shopping, when they get into the room, they ask Luke who he's on the Phone with, he says "Dad", he asks who they're talking to, they respond with "Mom", they then state what they've both said on the phone with their parent, Phil says what he said to Luke to Claire and vice-versa with Claire. With the information Luke has and the information Phil has now. They then try to connect the dots and fill the information on the phone to each other.

We are now with Mitch and Cam, Cam and Pam are singing their song. Mitch walks into the room and then says that he'll just go. Cam says "No, no, no. I'm glad you're up here. We can finish later.", Pam that says "She likes it when you stroke her hair and rub her feet." Cam then says "And, Mitchell, make sure her tongue stays moist." Mitch tries to asks how he would do that but they are already out of the room. Mitchell leans into Grams and says "Hey, Grams. How's -- How's the coma?" Grams groans and Mitch asks if she's trying to say something, Grams ends up grabbing his hair and Mitchell tells her to let go repeatedly, unfortunately when Barb comes into the room, she overhears him out of context, thinking he's telling her to let go, as in die, she asks "What the hell are you telling her!?", we hear the machine's long beep and realise Grams is dead. She screams and everyone come rushing in. She walks over to Grams and Pam asks "What happened?!", she says that " I just walked in, and Mitchell was telling her to let go, and she did!", Mitch tries to clear it saying that he was asking her to let go of his hair. Cam shouts "Somebody call the race track! Get the doctor!".

We are at a funeral for Grams, and everyone in the room is there, adding some new faces to the pack. People are slowing dropping Grams' coffin into the ground. Cam and Mitch end up having a conversation about what happened. When they seem like they are done, Cam carries on and Mitch loudly tells him to drop it, once again he is misheard, and everyone thinks he is telling them to just drop the coffin and get it over with.

We are now with the Dunphy kids and their are on the phone to the Dunphy parents. Haley asks when they'll be back and Claire says definitely by Father's Day. Haley says "Oh, okay. Well, we miss you guys. But at least it's still only three more days.", Haley is "interviewed" in which she says "Was it a little risky? Not as long as the master did the talking.", we come back to them where Haley says "Uh-huh, uh-huh. Aww. Love you both. Bye", Haley holds the phone to Alex who says "Bye", and then to Luke, who goes overboard and says "Got to run outside and paint the mailbox." Haley says all he had to do was say goodbye. Alex says "Now we have to paint the mailbox when we get home!", Luke says "Sorry. It just popped into my head when I saw the Statue of Liberty holding that paintbrush. You know, what she used to paint freedom in America.", Haley looks approving of Luke's actions and understand, however Alex being the smart one, she looks at Haley's approving look with one of the looks she used to give her family for being dumb.

We are now with Phil and Claire. Claire is being "interviewed", in which she says that the key to a good lie is to keep it simple. We then cut to Phil and Claire in New York, Phil can be seen and then heard on the phone saying "Well, why don't I stop talking about how good it is here and just bring you some? OK. Bye-bye.", after he is off the phone, he tells Claire "We need to pick up a wheel of Arizona spicy sheep cheese.", Claire asks "Couldn't you just say goodbye?!", Phil complains to Claire that "the sign says no loud noises! You'll scare David Blaine.", they then talk about what David Blaine does and Claire gets a little frustrated with it. Luke and Phil then unknowingly complain about how they wish they were both sharing this moment, although they are without knowing the other is there.

Phil & Claire are "interviewed" in which Claire says "The morning we were set to fly back for Father's Day, a storm in the Midwest canceled our flight.", we come back to them coming out of Essex House, with Claire and Phil rushing to get to the Airport. Claire says "Let's just get to the airport, and we will find a flight.", Claire calls a Taxi and then realises it's being taken, as she carries on shouting for another one, we cut to the Dunphy kids, as we do, we realise that they're the ones taking the taxi that their parents wanted. Haley states that she got them on a flight through Denver, and then asks Luke to sit in the middle seat as she is uncomfortable where she is, Haley moves to the right a little and Luke moves to the middle, she then fully moves to Luke's seat. Alex says "Oh! This can't all be carnival-related.", we quickly see Phil & Claire shouting for a taxi again and the camera switches scene.

We are now with the Pritchett clan. We see Jay cooking sausages, Gloria comes in with Manny and complains that she wanted to cook the sausage. Jay then states that he doesn't mind. Manny figures out that "He's taking over because we screwed up the last few Father's Days.", Jay then defends it "Don't be silly, I got this!", he then makes the motion to shoo them away, we cut to Jay being "interviewed" in which he says "When I think of the last few Father's Days, I quake with rage. Hey, maybe put a little thought into it. Maybe we don't order the pizza. And if we do, maybe we get enough crazy bread for everybody. I'm sorry, but who made Father's Day the dirty stepchild of holidays!? We don't even have a song!", we come back to Jay, Joe is now in the room telling Jay he got him a present, Jay then says "That's my boy! Let's see. What do we got in here? Hey. An ice bucket.", Joe is "interviewed" for the first time, "I saw Manny take shampoos from the hotel. So I took some things, too. Then some bigger things. I like stealing. It makes my heart go fast.", we come back to Jay and Joe. Jay pulls out what was in the Ice Bucket, and thanks him for giving him a hair dryer.

The doorbell rings and Gloria goes to answer it, and asks "Who's here so early?", she opens the door wide to see Sonia, and then closes the door, so Sonia and Gloria can only see each others faces, she asks Sonia what she's doing here, and Sonia states that she just wanted to say goodbye, then says that they're sisters, they shouldn't fight and she misses her, Gloria knowing her sister, says "Okay, got it." and closes the door. Jay walks into it and complains to Gloria, he then opens the door for Sonia. Sonia comes in, Manny walks in and says Hi, Sonia asks Manny to helped with her luggage and Manny obliges, Gloria comes back in and is angry at Jay for letting her in. Jay and Gloria argue over whether she is good or bad, they ten awkwardly watch her kidnap Manny and drive off. Gloria then wins the case and says "Great Jay, now she kidnap Manny!", however there is an extreme confusion and surprise look on Jay's face. Jay learns that kidnapping is normal in her family. Gloria answers a call, when she's about to put down the phone, we hear Manny say "Mom, I'm really scare--" and is cut off by Gloria putting the phone down. Gloria says she'll deal with it after telling Jay what Sonia asked for and saying that she'll wait until he comes back.

Phil & Claire come through the Pritchett household. As they do, they also hear their kids pulling up to the same house. Claire tells Phil to act normal and Phil says he was born normal, "not really they said, I cam out with bangs", the Dunphy kids arrive at the house, but go over what to do when they get inside, they go inside and hug their parents. Phil & Claire explain why they were late, Claire takes the girls to go find Grandpa and Luke stays to talk to Phil. However, Claire is as concerned about the girls are about them spilling the secret, so they stay and listen. The girls rush Luke off to the dining room. Claire tells Phil it was great, Phil asks "really!?", Claire then admits she lied but because she was showing Phil how to do it. She tells him to go and splash water on his face and Mitchell comes through the door.

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

Title

The title references the Dickens novel "A Tale of Two Cities".

Trivia

  • In this episode we find out that Haley and Andy broke up.

Continuity

  • Sonia returns from "Fulgencio" and "Valentine's Day 4: Twisted Sister".
  • Jay references his actions; of not being able to work technology, in "Double Click".
  • Claire smiling when talking about death is a reference to the episode "The Last Walt", where we first see her coping mechanism when talking about death: she smiled when telling Luke about Walts' death and another friend of Walt's about his death too.
  • Lily's hair is still in a perm hairstyle from "Double Click".

Cultural References

  • Cam and Pam sing "Sweet Home Alagramma", a version of "Sweet Home Alabama" that he wrote when they were kids.
  • Jay thinks that he, Joe and Manny resemble the Three Amigos.
  • Magician David Blaine sits in Jell-O.

Gallery

References

  1. Season 8 Premiere title [via abc, IMDB, wikipedia & spoilertv]

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