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"The Bicycle Thief"
1X02-The-Bicycle-Thief2
Season 1
Episode 2
Total Episode Count 2
Written By Bill Wrubel
Directed By Jason Winer
Production Code 1ARG02
Air Date September 30, 2009
Episode Guide
Previous
"Pilot"
Next
"Come Fly with Me"

"The Bicycle Thief" is the second episode from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on September 30, 2009.

Plot Summary

Phil goes behind Claire's back and gets a bike for Luke,and then really ends up lying about it when the bike gets stolen. Jay has problems trying to bond with Manny, but takes advantage of Manny's father not showing up in an effort to make peace with him, even though Gloria believes there's real peace in the household. Mitchell and Cameron begin daycare classes with Lily.

Episode Description

Phil, Claire and Luke are out on a family bike ride when they run into the new neighbor, Desiree, who has taken her enormous...assets out for a run. Desiree just moved in down the block and enjoys jogging around in nothing but a pair of running shorts and her slightly-too-small sports bra. Desiree shares that she's just staying in her new house until her divorce is final and Phil, who can barely keep his eyeballs in their sockets, replies with and overly friendly, "Now, who is coconuts enough to divorce you?" That's Claire's cue for them to bid Desiree adieu, and inform Phil that they're never to have her over because rumor has it she's already slept with two fathers at the school. "That's horrible!" Phil says, sneaking one more look back.

Phil is working on being the quintessential dad. To that end, he feels that the time is right for getting Luke his own bicycle. (Luke has been riding his sister's old girly bike, badly camouflaged with black tape.) Of course Claire, who must play the responsible one of the pairing, thinks that Luke is not quite at a point in his life where he is responsible enough to take care of such an important item. However, Phil thinks he is. Unfortunately, as is to happen in these situations, Claire is right. Luke has been leaving the bike unlocked and unsupervised at various locations. He decides that it's best to teach Luke a lesson by stealing the bike when it is unlocked against a parking meter. A good strategy, but Phil stole another's bike instead. Poor Phil.

Mitchell and Cameron are ready to take Lily out to meet the other kids. They make a play date at a place with several other moms and their kids. They are very excited, well, Mitchell is. Cameron decides to be a bit too forthcoming with his current state of unemployment. One of the other moms asks if Lily is scooting or grabbing things yet as an eight-month old. Mitchell is very proud of Lily's ability to scoot...as far as the other parents know. Lily, however, is not yet scooting or grabbing, and Mitchell is worried. However, it's dance time for Lily, and Cameron is more than happy to participate. ("Dance like a straight guy,") Fortunately, Cameron dances very straight...and subdued.

Riding the stolen bicycle home, Phil runs into Desiree, who has locked herself out of the house and asks Phil to help her. Once Phil adjusts to looking at her face, he agrees to do so. He is certain he would never stray. He unlocks her house and somehow avoids unlocking her shirt, but Phil has a problem. The bicycle he was riding is gone. He runs like hell to the bicycle shop again to purchase a new bike (and takes the insurance this time).

Jay and Manny are working on a little project together to install a ceiling fan. In typical dad (or granddad) fashion, Jay is ignoring the instructions, and Manny has them memorized. Gloria has planned a weekend away with Jay in wine country because Manny's dad is taking him to Disneyland, but she is happy the boys are bonding. Gloria equates the two to a Colombian sitcom, "Salazar & El Oso," sort of a Laurel & Hardy meets Monty Python deal that she thinks is hysterical.

Phil brings the new bike into the house, ready to teach Luke a lesson about responsibility. He corners Luke with a little reverse psychology, and it works. Luke breaks down and apologizes for the scratch. Oops. The bike wasn't stolen. Phil decides to return the second bike, the new one he bought, to the place where he stole the first bike, which got stolen from him. He figures everybody is even on bikes, and things would be OK. Of course, Claire catches him.

Unfortunately, the male bonding between Jay and Manny isn't going well. As Jay tries to install the ceiling fan, apparently using the screwdriver wrong according to Manny, one of the fans comes down and hits Manny on the arm. Jay is apologetic, but Manny is upset. He thinks his arm is broken, but Jay wants him to be tougher about it. Manny would rather wait for his real dad and said he hates having to be with Jay. Unfortunately, Jay says the feeling is mutual, which was the wrong thing to say, and he knew it.

Phil is trying to cover his tracks, but Claire thinks it's actually a bit funny that Phil would steal another kid's bike to teach Luke a lesson and then try to return the bike. She is more annoyed about him keeping things from her, like how the bicycle got stolen en route bringing it home. Phil claims it got stolen while he was at a gas station, and the lie works. It's classic Phil, up to the point where the woman he helped returns it. Apparently one of her neighbors put it in her garage while Phil was in her bedroom. Classic Phil, right?

At the Gymboree, Lily is still not up to speed on stacking or scooting, but Cameron is ready to go 12 rounds with a woman who didn't think Meryl Streep was right for Mamma Mia!. Mitchell decides to take matters in his own hands, by taking another kids' blocks and giving credit to Lily. The instructor is impressed and is more than happy to give Mitchell a copy of the security camera feed. Mitchell is embarrassed and wants to leave, until Anton and Scott arrive with their kid. Mitchell apologizes for making Cameron stay in first gear, but it's time for parents' dance time, and Cameron wants to dance for his baby. Mitchell tells him to make that horsey move. Cameron is a hit.

Manny is sitting in front of Jay's house, waiting for his real father, Javier, to take him to Disneyland. However, Javier tells Jay (not Manny) that he can't drag himself away from the craps table. He decides to run block for Javier anyway, ordering a limo to take them to Disneyland, still giving Javier credit for the idea.

JAY: The key to being a good dad...well, sometimes things work out just the way you want. Sometimes they don't. But you gotta hang in there. Because when all is said and done, 90% of being a dad is just showing up.

(OK, corny, but still so true.) Just as Phil, who returns the bike to the kid he stole it from. Just don't get some dads started on Meryl Streep and Sophie's Choice.

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

  • Brandy Ledford as Desiree
  • Lindsey Stoddart as Helen
  • Julia Lehman as Danielle
  • Davis Mikaels as Anton
  • Alex Staggs as Scott
  • Kofi Natei as Bike Salesman
  • Shamari Berkley as Kid

Cultural References

  • When Jay sees Luke riding his sister's old bike, he says that he looks like a Little Bo Peep, referring to the popular nursery rhyme.
  • Gloria says that Manny's father is taking him to Disneyland and later Manny says that his dad will take him on Space Mountain, referring to the space-themed indoor steel roller coaster that's located in Disneyland.
  • Jay mentions that Manny thinks of his dad as Superman, the fictional comic superhero.
  • Gloria refers to Jay and Manny as Salazar and El Oso, referring to a comedy from Colombia.
  • Cam talks with a mother at the toddler play class about movies and she mentions Mamma Mia! which featured Meryl Streep. When the mother says that she doesn't think Streep was the right choice for the part, Cam says in a monologue that Streep could play Batman and still be the right choice. He also mentions different movies that featured Streep such as Kramer vs. KramerThe Devil Wears Prada and Sophie's Choice.

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