A big fight upsets Claire and confuses Phil. Jay pays for past mistakes when Gloria develops a karaoke obsession. Meanwhile, Mitchell scrambles to repair the damage he's caused to a charity event that Cam is planning.
It's morning at the Dunphys and Phil and Claire have clearly slept apart. They have a vague conversation about the previous evening's fight. Claire looks disheveled and Phil has no clue what he did wrong. And the kitchen literally looks like a bomb went off. Normally, I would find this "men are clueless, women are crazy" scenario pretty tired, but Phil and Claire have been exhibiting these characteristics all season, so they've earned my patience for the time being.
At the Pritchett-Delgado residence, Jay, and his eardrums, are suffering in silence as Gloria enjoys her latest birthday gift: a karaoke machine. As she slaughters "Angel of the Morning," Jay casually drops a spoon into the running garbage disposal, a sound he finds preferable.
Cam is in a tailspin readying his home for an event, and when Mitchell asks him what the occasion is, Cam flips out and says that Mitchell never listens to him. It turns out, Mitchell was kidding and knows every single detail of the event, what charity it's supporting, and the fact that Cam has to nail it in order to defeat Andrew, his charity-event nemesis. Apparently, listening is a recurring issue in their relationship: Mitchell often multi-tasks, letting things fall through the cracks, and Cam never misses a detail, which is exhibited by his ability to translate what Mitchell wants from the store through a mouthful of toothpaste.
Back at the Dunphys, Jay is attempting to fix the microwave, the door to which has been ripped off the hinges during the previous nights mêlée. Claire and Phil are tripping over themselves to come up with a story to explain the damage to Jay, who doesn't buy either one. Haley enters bragging about her tips from her waitressing job, since Claire and Phil have agreed to match the money she earns so she can buy a car. And Phil pipes in with an amazing '80s movie reference.
Luke appears to ask his mom if his outfit is "upscale casual," since Cam has hired him to work at his event. Jay gives up on trying to fix the microwave, so Claire asks Phil to go to the mall with her to find a replacement, which he is obviously reluctant to do, citing a weird habit Claire has at the mall. Enter Gloria, impatient to go home so Jay can make a video of her doing karaoke to send to Colombia. Phil hastily throws out an excuse -- he was actually going to get a haircut. Jay says he'll take Claire to the mall, while Gloria relives her salon days by giving Phil a haircut. Gloria agrees and begins crooning a Pink song, sending Jay flying out the door with Claire in tow.
In the car with Lily, Cam hears from Andrew that not one person has called in their regrets for his benefit. Cam is going on about his "sympathy" for the PETA folks, who are also having an event that night when Mitchell notices Lily playing with something. It's an invitation. He realizes with horror that he put all the invitations in his car six weeks ago and completely forgot to mail them.
Cut to Mitchell pretending to be in the shower and making last-minute calls to try to cobble together a crowd for this benefit. Everyone seems to be going to the PETA event. Cam has equipped himself and Luke with headsets even though the event is happening in their modest-sized home; he never misses an opportunity to kick things up 10 notches. He's stressing out over the visual concept of the event when the doorbell rings. It's the caterers, followed by Andrew, the nemesis, stopping by to wave his full sign-in book from last year's event in Cam's face. He seems like he gives Cam a run for his buttoned-up, gay, party-planning money.
Meanwhile, Phil is getting a haircut from Gloria, trying his hardest to not accidentally motorboat her, but she keeps positioning his face in her cleavage. Phil eventually confides in Gloria about the fight with Claire and asks her advice.
Then we finally figure out what Claire's weird mall habit is: She has an affinity for those 15-minute upright massages, which incidentally send her into a Meg Ryan impression from When Harry Met Sally. Jay stands by embarrassed as Claire loudly expresses orgasmic appreciation for the hands of her masseuse.
Manny and Alex are discussing Haley's new job and Alex is not impressed, while Manny reveals that he's been to the restaurant a couple of times and Haley hasn't been there. Alex is immediately suspicious and presses Manny for details. Alex figures out that Haley is just hanging out at the mall every day and coming home flaunting some old birthday money so her parents will match the amount. Determined to out her sister for lying, she asks Phil if they can eat at her restaurant that night. The only hole here is, what does Haley plan to do in the end when she doesn't have any of the money to show for her parents to match? I know Haley is crazy —stupid, but this scheme seems too dumb even for her.
Back at Gloria's makeshift barbershop in the Dunphy kitchen, Phil is explaining things to Gloria at the same time as Claire is talking things over with Jay at the mall. In a series of flashbacks, we see exactly what happened the night of the fight.
First, Claire is smashing a bag of broccoli all over the kitchen and screaming at Phil. It's a stereotypical scene: Claire demands that Phil admit what he did wrong; Phil looks like a deer caught in headlights. When Phil can't offer an answer, Claire storms out, gets her robe caught in the door, and then tries to climb in through the dog door (Do the Dunphys have a dog?) in her nightgown, all to avoid just ringing the doorbell and having to face her husband. On the other side of the door, Phil is convinced that a raccoon is trying to come through and sprays Claire with a fire extinguisher. She is furious and sprays him back, covering their kitchen in white foam and causing Phil to rip the microwave door off.
Gloria is not buying that Claire would go crazy for no reason, so Phil explains what led up to the hurricane. First, he left Claire a message about a canceled lunch date on a scrap of paper the size of stick of gum. He also mentions a small car accident she got into. He also ran into an ex-girlfriend who's lost a lot of weight and with whom he made a future coffee date. Finally, he presents her with the broccoli she asked for just as he realizes it was cauliflower. Gloria thinks all these individual reasons are the reason Claire snapped, and then thinks that it's all the things collectively that were the cause.
Claire explains to Jay that she got so upset over a comment Phil slipped in among the other gaffes, about his lame coworker introducing him to wedge salads. She's been trying to get him to try them for years, but Phil has ignored her suggestion and then accepted it from someone else. She thinks he ignores her opinion. She tells Jay that they talked it out and suggests he do the same with Gloria about the karaoke issue. Jay doesn't think it will be that easy. When Claire starts ribbing him for being a tough guy gone soft, he tells her what he thinks about her massage-chair performance.
At Cam's house, he gets a disturbing call from Longeness, (the Oasis for men guy!) who explains he's not coming because he didn't get an invite, and neither are any of their friends. Cam is furious and demands that Luke get Mitchell on the phone, after he explains the highly complicated redial button. When they finally reach Mitchell, he is passing out flyers to recruit guests. Cam is furious and demands that Mitchell fix this.
At Uncle Jimmy's BBQ, Phil, Claire, and Alex arrive to be waited on by Haley, who is clearly pretending to work there. Phil is kissing up to Claire trying to figure out the cause of the fight: canceling the coffee date with Carla, calling her a great driver, and presenting her with a cauliflower bouquet. Claire insists that they are fine, especially since none of these things was what angered her to begin with. But when Phil suggests that she order a wedge salad, Claire flips out and explains that he has repeatedly ignored her recommendations for years and storms off. Haley uses this as an opportunity to get "fired" from her job. Alex is foiled again.
The whole family has been recruited as guests at Cam's benefit and they are the only guests, so Cam is stressing out.
Phil brings a photo album and shows Claire an old picture of him from when they first met to demonstrate how much her opinion has actually changed him. He's lost a ponytail and a forestry major, among other things, for Claire. He admits he misses things here and there, but she is a huge part of who he is. Sweet makeup kiss.
Cam is on the mic about to call off the event when Mitchell arrives with strangers to fill seats. Now Harp Attack can perform for double the amount of people that Andrew brought in for Cello Submarine the year before. The episode winds up with a harp soundtrack intertwined with Jay's voiceover as Mitchell is trying to listen to Cam more and Phil and Claire have moved past their fight. But when Gloria begins to present another song she's been working on, Jay is about to broach the subject with her, which could get scary. Manny, beating him to the punch, comes running down the stairs and demands that the karaoke torture come to an end. He exits, calling Jay a coward.
Well, I gave the Phil and Claire story line some extra berth and there were some laughs, but it's a little annoying that all the laughs come as the result of old stereotypes about men, women, and marriage. I wanted more out of the Haley waitress story line, but thought the other story lines were funny. It was a very busy episode, a lot going on, and certainly tons of funny lines. What did you think? Leave a comment below!
My picks for this episode's best lines:
PHIL: That's our working girl; let the river run, honey!
GLORIA: I do Jay; why can't I do you?
PHIL: You... can do me.
MITCHELL: I feel terrible. I haven't been to the gym in six weeks. And I ruined Cam's event.
CAM (to Andrew): Oh well thank you for thinking of us, but shouldn't you be getting back home to Donald? That is the name of your cat, isn't it?
CAM (re. Andrew): What did I tell you?
LUKE: She's even worse than you said.
ALEX: Why's everyone acting like she's the first 17-year-old to have a job? In other cultures, she'd have two kids already and they'd have jobs.
MANNY (when Alex pushes him for details): OK, it was a romantic comedy my now-ex-friend Ruben recommended...
PHIL (calling after an angry Claire): Happy Valenbirtherversary!
JAY (to Claire): You know when you get a massage you sound like a Tijuana prostitute.
CAM: You wanna hear the guest list for tonight? So far it's Anger, Betrayal, Terror, and Sadness. Congratulations Mitchell, you packed the house!
MANNY: You keep this up and this won't be the last plug I pull.