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Ep107 En Garde

10/27/09 Season 1 TV-PG D

Manny is excellent at fencing. Seriously, the boy's got game! The entire family cheers him on at the competition, as Cameron captures every lunge and parry with his camcorder. Manny advances to the championship where he'll face a cute little girl named Caroline. Jay thinks it's so cool to finally have a kid in the house that is the best at something. This has Mitchell and Claire feeling a little self-conscious for very different reasons.

Mitchell is bummed because he had a chance to be the best at something until Claire blew it for him. Apparently, they were a pretty good figure skating duo when they were kids. They were called Fire and Nice. Mitchell was Fire. He's still pretty bitter because Claire hung up the blades right before a big competition.

Claire and Phil are worried because their kids don't excel at anything. This is bad news for Luke, as Phil is determined to turn him into a great baseball player. He read somewhere that it only takes about 10,000 hours to achieve excellence. We're thinking Phil's going to spend most of that time chasing down Luke's lame throws.

The buyer of a house Phil is showing doesn't feel the home is kid-friendly. Luke convinces her otherwise. Phil is thrilled. Luke does excel at something: Real Estate! His career is short-lived when, on a follow-up showing, Luke slips on the floor, badmouths the house and claims to have seen a ghost. On the bright side, he finally does have a successful catch with his dad. It's not exactly a Field of Dreams moment, but it'll do.

Gloria loves the fact that Jay is so proud of Manny. The enthusiasm is short-lived when Manny announces he is retiring from the sport. He feels that defeating a woman would be a mark on his honor. This doesn't sit well with Gloria, who convinces her son to show no mercy against his opponent.

At the competition, Jay and Gloria sit next to the guardian of Caroline, the little girl dueling Manny. The woman is Caroline's nurse down at the children's hospital. Her parents passed away, with her father never having made it back from Afghanistan. Her only family is the nurse and the parade of wheelchair-bound patients rolling into the gym. Yes, Caroline is their little miracle and Manny methodically kicks her sickly, diabetic butt.

In the parking lot, Mitchell finally confronts Claire about the troubled past of Fire and Nice. The reason she quit is because Mitchell kept dropping her in practice. She always felt guilty about quitting, as she knows how much Mitchell loved figure skating. Turns out he didn't. What he loved was the fact that he was part of a team with his sis. Awww. Claire steps over to the middle of the parking lot and strikes a pose. Mitchell can't believe it. Fire and Nice is back for one last performance, sans skates. Claire leaps into Mitchell's arms and he doesn't drop her! Do you believe in miracles?!

As the others slink out of the gymnasium with Manny's trophy in hand, Jay says, "I can't decide if I'm feeling more proud or mortified." Then he sees Mitchell and Claire doing what may be a double axel leading into a split jump. Yeah, he's mortified. Back home, Jay places Manny's trophy on the mantle right next to a framed picture of Fire and Nice. Okay, maybe he's a little proud.

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