Last night’s”Modern Family” began with Alex Dunphy’s 8th-grade graduation ceremony, where she, as valedictorian, was about to give a speech. Why an 8th grade class needs a valedictorian is beyond me, but whatever. I guess they do things differently in the land of make believe, so who am I to judge? In attendance, we see all of the family, with the notable exception of Phil and Claire. Oh where, oh where can they be? I’m glad you asked (even if you didn’t) because all will be explained in flashback form.
Four hours earlier, everyone is preparing for the ceremony, including Cameron and Mitchell. While the two are having an extended conversation about birthing farm animals (and Claire), Cameron falls into a kiddie pool in the backyard. Mitchell laughs uncontrollably at the site of his husband falling, which doesn’t go over too well with Cam.
Meanwhile, Jay has returned home from the doctor with a droopy eye. Gloria and Manny worry, thinking he may be having a stroke, but Jay assures them it is nothing. What has actually happened is that Jay was talked into getting Botox by his dermatologist, and there was a slight mishap, causing his eye to temporarily droop. He confesses that he hasn’t felt this stupid since he bought a bracelet that supposedly helped to maintain balance. Cue flashback within a flashback of Jay getting knocked over while demonstrating the bracelet.
Back at the Dunphy’s, Alex is practicing her speech, when Haley overhears it and is horrified by the content. Alex is using the ceremony as a chance to settle old scores, and plans on mocking the popular kids for being vapid. Despite her sister’s protests, Alex plans to go ahead with the speech.
Later, the family has met up at Jay’s house for pre-ceremony refreshments. Mitchell tells the story of Cam falling in the pool to his relatives, but no one seems to find it funny. In fact, they go as far as to chastise him for being insensitive. But when Cam accidentally walks into a closed door, they all break down and laugh, causing Cam to remark that cruelty must be genetic.
As the family sets out to the ceremony, Jay’s driveway gate malfunctions, trapping the family inside. Since no one is able to figure out what is wrong with the gate, Gloria comes up with a plan. Claire and Phil can ride her bike to the ceremony, and the others will catch up when they can. Aside from advancing the plot, this scene allows for the bouncing of Sofia Vergara.
Desperate to arrive on time, Claire decides to go with the plan. Using his cheerleading skills, Phil pushes his wife up and over the gate. He asks Jay to do the same for him, but Jay walks away silently rather than touch Phil’s ass.
Haley and Alex arrive at the ceremony, and Haley makes one last plea to her sister about reconsidering the speech. She tells Alex that just because her classmates seem vapid, it doesn’t mean they don’t have their own problems. For example, Haley is worried because she has failed a class, which means she has to attend summer school and may have a hard time getting into college. For some reason, this causes Alex to reconsider. I guess the fact that Haley is failing her class because she’s a vapid moron was lost on her.
Although they look ridiculous, Claire and Phil seem to be making good time on Gloria’s tandem bike. However, the chain breaks, and the couple is left stranded on the side of the road.
Luckily, Phil is able to utilize his knowledge of Spanish to communicate with some gardeners, who give them a lift to the school. The fact that the gardeners speek perfect English doesn’t hurt matters.
Claire and Phil arrive just in time, although they are forced to scale a hill to get there.
Alex goes ahead with her speech, and instead of being vindictive, follows her sister’s advice and sticks mainly to clichés and song titles. The crowd responds positively, but I threw up a little in my mouth.
As the episode closes, Phil and Claire are saddened when Alex decides to go to a party rather than go out to dinner with the family. But when Haley offers to go instead, they feel as if their prodigal daughter has returned, and instantly begin smothering her.