The first time doing anything is anxiety-stricken for most Americans. We’ve got medication for every symptom you can imagine, but when it comes down to it, you get one initial impression. One virgin birth. One shot. One opportunity. You get the idea. The first day back from school is scary and exciting for kids. For parents? They get to break free.
The Modern family gang takes on day one with vigor… and jazz hands.
The usual parenting aggravation– inquiring about assignments, nagging reminders, backhanded comments about not keeping up, and of course standing on the porch in your boxers as the bus full of heckling children pulls up — plague all the families. While Cameron and Mitchell’s infant Lilly isn’t in school yet, they have their own foray into dealing with a childcare first.
In the Dunphy household, Alex drags her cello, larger than her and her siblings tied together, her parents remind her that violin might have been a better choice. Pointing out that cellists are in high demand in university orchestras, Alex is heckled by her big sis, who, with a matter-of-fact tone, states that girls in university orchestras are not. Luke stresses over failing to complete his summer journal. His sole entry? “June 21st. Found a stick. June 22nd. That’s it.” Claire appears dumbfounded. “It was a really cool stick.” Phil agrees — “It looked like a snake.”
Gloria beams with pride about Manny entering fifth grade. Jay is charged with the task of dropping him off and seems nonchalant about it, that is, until Manny appears. In what seems to be a “christmas tree skirt.” Wanting to show his new classmates that he’s proud of his heritage, donning the traditional Colombian poncho sends Jay reeling. Cracking jokes during the car ride undermines little Manny’s confidence who ultimately decides to ditch the drapes after Jay’s intervention.
Back at Mitchell’s contrived, baby-proofed house, and after an amusing celebrity photo montage of little Lilly, Cameron convinces Mitchell to loosen up and dance with his daughter. The result? Mitchell slams poor Lilly’s head into the ceiling. Calling resident good mom Claire for advice, she notes that Luke banged his head all the time and he was fine. Mitchell and Cameron practically race to the doctor’s office.
Taking the first day away from the kids seriously, Jay and Gloria attempt to go get massages and enjoy the day. Claire wants to read a much-anticipated book and go for a relaxing run. Unfortunately, the boys screw up big time.
Nearly escaping to paradise, Gloria finds Manny’s poncho in the trunk and gets offended. Jay tries to explain that he’s simply protecting Manny from being picked on. Unphased, Gloria demands they return to school to bring Manny his poncho. Only after realizing he’s brought a pan flute as well does Gloria realize Jay may be right. She has him smash the pan flute to bits while Manny stares on in horror and confusion. The poncho by itself would be okay, Gloria states, but combining with music and dance? “My son will die a virgin.”
Phil tries to infiltrate Claire’s alone time to no avail, completely unaware that his “No-means-yes” philosophy couldn’t be more off. Phil (who can barely skip without his special orthopedic running shoes) presses to go on the run. Claire ends up getting frustrated and decides to let him race her, knowing full well that she can beat him.
At the doctor’s office, Cameron embarrasses Mitchell with such grace, you’d think he planned it. The doctor, being of Asian descent, prompts Cam to continually make stereotypical references to raising their baby with elements Asian culture. Asking if there’s a place for “pho” and even bowing to her at the end of the examination, the exhausted doc reminds Cameron that she’s “from Denver.”
As Phil and Claire gear up for their sprint, Cam and Mitchell discuss their parenting abilities in the parking lot. As they discuss, they lock their infant in the car… and freak out. Sending a signal, purportedly “from space,” the car is unlocked and all is well.
Phil trails behind and pulls off his sweater, and suddenly Claire realizes that Phil himself is one of her “kids” and doesn’t know what to do with his sudden freedom. She lets him win, right before Haley runs him over in her driver’s ed car. Simultaneously, Mitchell realizes he’s being too overprotective and Jay and Gloria watch Manny play his flute and dance, pretending it’s not a little too flamboyant.
Sometimes we have to make adjustments just to preserve the egos of our loved ones. Sometimes we have to let ourselves fail. And once in a while, we have to let our kids look like complete idiots just so their self-esteem doesn’t get ripped to shreds forcing them into years of eventual therapy. We don’t have to live by the book. That’s why we’re all part of a Modern Family.