Luke and Manny have their first day at high school, which proves to be harder for Phil and Gloria than for the boys. Elsewhere, Claire makes her big return to the workforce at Jay's closet company and is a little rusty on her first day, and Cam starts a new substituting gig at the high school, leaving Mitch to try to juggle Lily's first day of pre-school and a very important meeting at work.
It was back-to-school time for everyone. Even for Claire, who was going to work at Jay's office to learn how to manage his company. Phil figures if she gets in a jam, she could always do the impression of the Christopher Walken closet. Haley thinks it's not even a real job, like the summer she worked at her dad's real estate company and blew off delivering those flyers he needed delivered. Naturally, she was all set for community college. But Cameron needed to be ready as well. His music teacher position was cut but they made him a substitute teacher, which he thought was like being Batman, only he gets a phone call instead of the Bat-signal. (MITCHELL: Yeah, you found the one difference). But that meant Mitchell had to take Lily to school for her first day of first grade. In fact she had been dressed for an hour waiting for them. (MITCHELL: Sometimes I forget to factor in the Asian). But Mitchell got to wave goodbye to her...and watch her take a header into a brick support column when she wasn't paying attention. Which is pretty much how Phil felt when Luke wanted to be dropped off a block from the high school so none of the kids would see him with his dad. Manny took it a little better when Gloria dropped him off at high school, too. Well, if you got hugged like Gloria hugged him, you'd be OK with it, too. In fact, another freshman wanted a hug like that from Gloria.
As Phil and Gloria decide to go off and get some coffee to drown their sorrows over their kids starting high school, Cameron found out he was substituting in Alex's AP History class and that he might get the job permanently if he could pull it off. Cam didn't know much about history (or biology, or a science book...yes, Mitch and Cam love that song), but he did know a good theatre department when he saw it and entered Alex's class in full George Washington regalia. This did not amuse Alex in any way shape or form, given she was actually studying before her she even had her first class and was freaking out about her grades already.
At Mitchell's office, he waited for Haley to take Lily home while he dealt with an obnoxious client, Charlie. How obnoxious? The man landed his helicopter on the building's roof (which didn't have a helipad) and gave Mitchell only 30 minutes to talk about all of his business dealings so he could go back to his vacation in Cabo. And Haley showing up apparently meant to Charlie that he could hit on her. Charlie, who was about ten years older than Mitchell at the minimum, kept trying to impress Haley with his clothing line, but Haley ended up impressing him by saying how lame it looked and gave some suggestions on how to make it look good.
Claire brought cookies to Jay's office. That was her first mistake. Saying hi to everyone was her second mistake, but she wanted everyone to like her. Yes, the cardinal sin of management. We all remember The Office. Jay tried to tell her it was more important to be respected than to be liked, but Claire was going to do like she did when she was a teenager: not listen to her dad. Of course, everybody in the office now thinks she's an idiot and only got the job because her dad owns the company. One of the workers, however, was OK with her. He even asked her to lunch. However, that was Todd, Jay's IT person. Who he planned to fire as soon as he found an IT person who would actually show up on time and not creep out the office. Maybe I should type my résumé. After all, I never went into a long discussion about how to find out if your turtle is male or female. And Claire was starting to see why Jay didn't want her to go to lunch with Todd. However, he was about to buy a house and Claire let it slip he was about to be fired. And discovered the reason you always make sure you fire someone at the end of the day and not in the middle of it. But at least Jay had Claire's cookies to munch on while he caught up on all the work Todd gave him when he trashed their network.
Phil and Gloria find a coffee place, but it was closed because they were shooting a commercial for a reverse mortgage. The film crew needed a couple to play extras, so Phil and Gloria were happy to do it. And between Gloria hamming it up trying to look "natural" and Phil getting depressed over Luke giving him the cold shoulder as he entered high school, the commercial shoot went over time and way over budget.
Alex was not happy Cameron was teaching her class, as evidenced by the fact she had to teach the entire lesson about conflicts between settlers and Native Americans in the 1600's. She didn't want Cameron ruining her chances at a good score on the AP exam, and Cameron promised to learn as much as he could. But realizing he didn't want to jeopardize Alex's academic record, he told the principal to find a new AP History teacher. The principal was busy trying to coach the freshman football team. And failing. Cam asked him what routes the receivers were running, and the principal didn't know what he was talking about. But Cameron showed them a few things, and he had a job as a freshman football coach and phys. ed teacher.
(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
- Justin Kirk as Charlie Bingham
- Andrew Daly as Principal Brown
- J. P. Manoux as Todd
- David Haydn-Jones as Director
- Mitchell Edmonds as Albert
- Nicholas Hormann as Roy
- Marsha Kramer as Margaret
- Craig Welzbacher as Office Worker
- Caleb Thomas as Freshman
- Kenny Ridwan as History Student
- Zachary Mitchell as Tyler
- Evan Hofer as Big Guy
- This is the third episode to revolve around the first day of school, after "Run for Your Wife" and "Schooled".
- Claire takes the job she took in "My Hero".
- Charlie Bingham reappears from "Benched", Halloween" and "Phil on Wire".
- Manny mentions spending the summer in Colombia ("Suddenly, Last Summer").
- Barkley, from "Not in My House", "Express Christmas" and "Flip Flop", is now in Jay's office.
- This are Margaret's and Mark's first appearance.
- Luke and Manny start going to High School.
- Alex is now wearing new glasses.
- Christopher Walken is referenced.
- Mitch and Cam sing "Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke.
- Cam says "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself", quoting Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- Henry Winkler is mentioned.
- Luke and Manny start taking classes at Palisades High School.