Modern Family on ABC

2009, TV Show

Modern Family Episode: "Mother Tucker"

Season 2, Episode 9
Episode Synopsis: A visit from Cameron's force-of-nature mother (Celia Weston) makes Mitchell nervous; Phil is distraught over Haley's breakup with Dylan; Jay's stomach ailment gets worse after he and Manny log on to a medical Web site.
Original Air Date: Nov 24, 2010
Guest Cast Celia Weston: Barb Tucker Reid Ewing: Dylan Ki Hong Lee: Busboy Thomas Kasp: David
Full Episode
click to playclick to play
Season 2, Episode 9
Paid | iTunes
Length: 21:37
Aired: 11/24/2010
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
play more info

Modern Family Episode Recap: "Mother Tucker" Season 2, Episode 9

Yikes! Sorry I am late, guys, the holiday craziness got me a little behind! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and had time to catch the latest Modern Family. This week, Haley breaks up with Dylan, Phil takes it pretty hard, Jay feels ill but Gloria ignores his symptoms in favor of mockery, and Mitch must deal with Cam's handsy mother.

The episode opens on Haley guessing her way through algebra with her new hunky tutor, David, while Alex sits nearby dispensing condescending encouragement. The girls exchange some jabs and this time Haley actually nails Alex with, "Are you familiar with the term 'Dunphy, party of one'? Because you will be." Claire and Alex are getting in car as Alex assures her mother that Haley will never get a job and, "how do we know the right Middle Eastern businessman wouldn't treat her great?" Claire goes back into the house to retrieve her shopping list but finds Haley and David discussing the Pythagorean Theorum with their tongues. Haley replies to here mother's scolding, "What? We only do this when I get one right!"

Over at the Pritchett-Tucker house, Cam is unnerved by his mother's lateness and Mitchell takes the opportunity to mock his Missouri roots. Cam defends his home state and reminds Mitchell that Missouri has "a very vibrant cowboy poetry scene." Barb Tucker arrives, played by character actress Celia Weston, not a household name but whom I think I've seen onscreen about a million times. The three engage in a sandwich group hug and we've already got a sense of what kind of woman Cam's mom is.

In the following testimonial, Cam proclaims his mom is "the greatest woman that ever lived." Mama's boy alert! Mitch tries diplomatically to explain how loving and caring he finds Barb, but a cutaway to an uncomfortable Mitch having his shoulders aggressively rubbed by his mother-in-law, imply that perhaps she takes it too far. Mitch then confesses, "If I had one complaint, and I do, it's the inappropriate putting of her hands on my body." In a montage, Mitch arrives with cranberries, which, in Barb's mind, warrants a kiss on the lips. A long one. We also see a full leg rub down followed by a Barb/Mitch/Cam spoonfest in bed, with a lot of rubbing. When we cut back to Mitch, who stammers, "It's been going on a long time."

At the Delgado-Pritchett house, Jay's not feeling well and Gloria immediately starts sarcastically coddling him offering to place him in a crib and buy him a dress. In a testimonial, Jay explains that Gloria thinks Americans are babies and she claims that in Colombia, they couldn't seek medical attention for every little thing.  Cut to Gloria putting her dislocated shoulder back in place using a wall and then jumping back into a game of ping pong. Manny asks Jay for his symptoms so he can put them into some Web-MD-type site on the Internet. Doesn't everyone have a hypochondriac sibling/friend/coworker who is just a little too fond of search engine doctors? Manny gets a little worked up trying to diagnose Jay and Gloria insists he cut out the research and makes Jay concede that he is fine. "Home fine, not mall fine."

Back at the Dunphys, Alex is trying to figure out how it all works: "So dumb guys go for dumb girls AND smart guys go for dumb girls? What do smart girls get?" Phil chimes in with that Modern Family perfect timing, "Cats, mostly." Haley admits that at first she was making out with her tutor just to shut him up but now she's starting to like him. Claire encourages her to break up with Dylan if she really likes David. Phil is clearly upset and feels Dylan is part of the family. Claire insists she just do it quickly and Phil just hopes she'll go easy on him since guys at that age are sensitive. Cue the "Water Polo Girl Story." Phil launches into a story about a high school girlfriend who dumped him out of nowhere and as he pleaded with tears for her to reconsider, he realized he was sitting on the button for the intercom and whole school could hear his emotional breakdown. "Don't do Dylan like Linda 'The Cannon' Kilcannon did me."

Phil then suggests that he should call Dylan post-break up to be his shoulder to lean on, Claire insists it's inappropriate and they argue until Haley snaps her phone shut and announces, "It's done, we broke up." So strange that this is probably how teen romances end every day now in the digital age; just an exchange of sad emoticons. L

The next day, Mitch is complaining to Claire about how touchy feely Barb is. "It was like she was blind and wanted to know what my thighs look like." Claire thinks Mitch is exaggerating and brings up his lifelong struggle with boundary issues. She proceeds to aggressively invade his personal space until he exclaims, "Force field!" to make her stop.  He insists he's not inventing it and that Cam seems to not notice and Mitch doesn't dare bring it up since one time he added salt to Barb's food an it caused Cam to punch a car. Claire suggests that Mitchell arrange to have Cam witness the fondling and then let him deal with it.

The doorbell rings and Dylan, looking as mopey as he did pre-break up, is at the door to collect some of his things from Haley's room. He addresses her as "Mrs. Dunphy" and then rethinks it, "I guess since now that Haley and I broke up I should call you Claire." Claire replies, "Actually we're gonna stick with Mrs. Dunphy." Dylan admits he's not doing so well, he sees Haley's face everywhere he goes. At that moment he sees Haley in a family portrait and groans. On his way up the stairs he moans and sobs at every photo.

Meanwhile, Jay is on the phone with Manny asking for the name of the medical website. Manny is a bit perturbed that Jay is bothering him during his mini-golf game, "Can this wait? I'm having the round of my life." Gloria enters and asks if he is talking to Manny but Jay claims its work and starts faking a conversation about orders. Manny says, "Did she buy that? Because it sounded fake on this end." Gloria doesn't seem to buy it.

Back at the Dunphys, Phil tries to comfort Dylan. "Now that you guys are broken up you can call me whatever you want. Phil, Vitamin P, P. Daddy." Phil obviously thinks of Dylan as a buddy and wants to jam on guitar but Dylan just wants to talk about the break up. Phil tries to tell him everything will be ok and offers, "You know I was a lot like you in high school. Except my hair was shorter and my guitar was a flute." Dylan offers to take him guitar shopping but Phil declines until Dylan makes a sad sack comment about being alone forever and Phil agrees to go. Dylan attempts to take his leave through Haley's bedroom window and Phil tells him he can just use the front door. "Oh right. Habit." Dylan explains.

Cam and Barb are going through his old yearbook and reading an inscription from an old girlfriend to which Cam answers, "Oh Brenda you are about to have the most confusing summer of your life." Mitch comes home to a nice butt-grab from his mother-in-law but Cam is too involved with his yearbooks to notice. In a second attempt, Mitch presents Barbs with some lottery tickets and then leans in for a kiss, which Cam notices and a look of confusion crosses his face momentarily. As Cam goes to fetch his mother's tea, Barb begins digging around in Mitch's pant pocket for a quarter to play her scratch-off game. Mitch fails yet again to bring Cam's attention to the feel up. In a last ditch effort, Mitch fakes a muscle strain in his "fanny" to try to incite another inappropriate massage but Barb is not biting this time. Cam walks in just as Mitch is thrusting his butt in Barb's face and asking, "just put your fingers all over my fanny." Cam diffuses the uncomfortable moment by giving his mother her tea and asking to see Mitch in the other room.

Cam asks why Mitchell is "presenting yourself to my mother like a baboon." Mitch confesses that Barb is always touching him inappropriately and Cam never seems to notice. Cam immediately picks up one of Lily's dolls and asks Mitch to show him where his mother is touching him, clearly mocking Mitch with a little hat tip to Law and Order: SVU. Cam claims that Mitch is simply not used to a mother who shows physical affection but Mitch argues that this is not about his mother and that these aren't just pats on the bottom, "she squeezes and lingers." Cam goes back to the doll, "show me where she squeezes and lingers." Mitch tries to explain to Cam that he doesn't know whether it's sexual or "crazytown" but Barb cannot keep her hands off of him and "it's creeping me out." Of course, at this moment, Barb has entered the room just in time to hear the declaration of her creepiness. She exits visibly upset while Cam, on the verge of tears, says, "Let me show you where you stabbed my Mama" and thrusts a finger into the squeaky heart of the doll.

Meanwhile, post-guitar shopping, Dylan and Phil are sharing an ice cream sundae, like they're on a date. Dylan explains that he always wanted to bring Haley there but she thought the place was stupid. Phil compares her strong opinions to those of his wife, "Claire hates this new sweatshirt I bought," referring to the semi-feminine orange striped hoodie Phil is sporting, "she says it looks like something a girl would wear to the beach." Dylan agrees but Phil insists that he wears it anyway because life is about doing things you are passionate about. Dylan reveals that his passions include a road trip to Graceland and possibly obtaining a pet bobcat. Phil goes to the bathroom leaving his hoodie on the chair. Meanwhile, Haley walks by and sees Dylan sitting alone, with a shared sundae, and what she thinks is girl's hoodie on the chair. She asks a waiter if Dylan is there with someone and if anything is going on between them, he doesn't know but overheard them talking about taking a trip to Graceland together. Haley is steamed and shouts, "He just wants to go because he thinks it an amusement park!" I love how the show establishes that as dumb as Haley is, Dylan is in a special league of stupidity.

Jay's symptoms are getting worse and Manny is diagnosing him with some exotic disease he's found on the Internet. Gloria walks in on them and asks what they are looking at, to which Manny replies "Huffington Post" while Jay simultaneously says "girls." She discovers they are looking at the medical site and gets angry claiming that the computer just puts paranoid delusions in your head that can present as symptoms. She shuts the computer and walks out. Jay tells Manny, "Give me 15 minutes and then tell Florence Nightingale I went to the hospital."

Phil is riffing on his guitar, annoying Claire, when Haley storms in screaming about

Dylan's new girlfriend. Even though she initiated the break up, she didn't think he'd replace her so quickly and it's causing her to second-guess her decision, "maybe he's better than I thought." Claire is outwardly trying to push Haley towards David, claiming he is better and smarter. The doorbell rings and Claire tells Haley it might be David and "do you want the house to yourself?" Obviously an odd offer from a mother to a daughter but we all know how desperately Claire wants to plan out her daughter's lives, especially the one who probably won't go to Harvard.

Haley answers the door and it's Dylan, they start arguing as she accuses him of having a new girlfriend, which he denies. She's yelling that she saw him at the restaurant with the ugly sweatshirt but Dylan is distracted by his ringing cell phone. Haley picks up the phone and redials to confront "the skank" at the same moment Phil comes down the stairs in the striped hoodie answering his own phone. Haley puts it all together and realizes her ex was actually out on a date with her dad. Phil explains he was just trying to help because Dylan took the break up so hard. This softens Haley who then seems to be angling for reconciliation. But Phil has helped Dylan realize that he needs some time to himself, news that Haley takes pretty well.

At the hospital, Gloria still doesn't believe anything is actually wrong with Jay and is treating him like a baby. Manny is convinced of his previous diagnosis, some unheard of and unpronounceable ailment, until a doctor enters to disagree with Manny. Gloria is about to start an "I told you so" rant when the doctor explains that Jay has acute appendicitis and has to go into surgery immediately. Gloria feels awful for not believing Jay and making him suffer for so long. She begs for forgiveness before he goes into surgery, in case he dies in surgery. Jay insists that an appendectomy is not a dangerous surgery and Manny agrees, "It's usually the anesthesia that gets you. You're over 60 right?" Gloria does her best Latina soap star and wails, "I'll never forget you Jay!" as he's being wheeled off to surgery.

Barb knocks on the bathroom door and has a conversation, through the door, with Mitch about what happened. He apologizes but she says realizes that she may touch him a little excessively and it's only because they're family. Mitch says it's his fault too and all seems resolved. Until Barb enters the bathroom, where Mitch is in the bath, and sits on the edge of the tub talking to him. Suddenly Barb's bracelet falls off into the bathwater sending her on an awkward fishing expedition. Mitch repeats his "Force field" mantra to no avail. Cam enters and gently scolds his mother that this is one of those situations where she is being inappropriate. Barb seems truly ignorant and is apologetic, promising to reevaluate her behavior. She just wants to get the one quick picture of the two of them and they'll be out of Mitch's way. Mitch's face is priceless; he's still trying to look good for the camera even though he's in the bathtub with his mother-in-law beside him.

Phil finds a sad Haley, lamenting her lost love, her first real boyfriend. She tells Phil how he used to drive over to meet her at night and she'd sneak out. Phil admits he knew, "his car is 30 years old and doesn't have a muffler. And he honked." Then Phil and Haley have a very sweet moment where he tells her, "I know it hurts now sweetheart, but that's how you know it was a relationship worth having."

In the postscript, Phil is strolling down the street, in the orange striped hoodie, talking to Dylan about Graceland. "Yeah that's true, it probably would be cooler if they had rollercoasters." He passes a young girl wearing the same sweatshirt as his and continues his conversation as he takes it off and discards it in a nearby trashcan.

I thought this was a solid episode with great pacing and a bunch of good lines. Didn't laugh out loud as much as usual but I might have just been in a Thanksgiving food coma. What did you guys think? Leave a comment below!

show less

Yikes! Sorry I am late, guys, the holiday craziness got me a little behind! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and had time to catch the latest Modern Family. This week, Haley breaks up with Dylan, Phil takes it pretty hard, Jay feels ill but Gloria ignores his symptoms in favor of mockery, and Mitch must deal with Cam's handsy mother.

The episode opens on Haley guessing her way through algebra with her new hunky tutor, David, while Alex sits nearby dispensing condescending encouragement. The girls exchange some jabs... read more

Related Links

TV Recaps, ABC

Are You Watching?

Loading ...
Premiered: September 23, 2009, on ABC
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (1,740 ratings)
Add Your Rating: 1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
Premise: A mockumentary-style sitcom chronicling the unusual kinship of the extended Pritchett clan, a brood that includes patriarch Jay; his younger Latina wife, Gloria, and her preteen son; Jay's daughter, Claire, and her family; and Jay's son, Mitchell, who lives with his partner, Cameron.



Modern Family: Season 3
Buy Modern Family: Season 3 from
From 20th Century Fox (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $17.49 (as of 12/21/14 8:33 AM EST - more info)
Modern Family - Season 1-2 [Region Free]
Buy Modern Family - Season 1-2 [Region Free] from
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $26.99 (as of 12/21/14 8:33 AM EST - more info)

More Products

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular