Phil had a great birthday when he was 11. It was a time when he hit 10 straight fastballs at the batting cage. Then his buddy stepped in and took one in the groin. Phil yelled, "Ball two!" Everyone laughed. It was at that moment that Phil knew he was funny. This year's birthday promises to be even better. Why? One word: iPad.
Yes, the iPad comes out on Phil's actual birthday. He says, "It's like Steve Jobs and God got together to say, 'We love you, Phil.'" Claire loves him, too. That's why she tells her hubby to sleep in on his big day. She'll wait in line at 5:30 in the morning to make sure the birthday boy gets that fancy new electronic "doohickey" he wants. The alarm sounds and Claire is ready to go until she takes a seat on the sofa. Now she's ready to snooze.
A commotion in the kitchen causes Claire to change her oversleeping ways. She sneaks out the door to head to the store. But alas, all the iPads are gone. Claire has no choice but to tell Phil that he won't be getting that new electronic doohickey he so desperately desires. Phil takes the news well. Wait! No, he doesn't! He storms off to the one place where birthday dreams really do come true: The Batting Cage.
As Phil slugs away his frustrations, he hears an announcement for Phil's birthday party. Of course, it's not for him. But at least the other Phil is willing to slide our bummed-out birthday boy some cake. Meanwhile, Claire runs all over town to find her hubby one of those iPad thingies. Haley texts her an address of a store that has them in stock. She takes her place at the end of a long, long line. That's fine. She'll wait.
Jay wants to break in the new chess set he bought for Phil by teaching Manny how to play. Gloria convinces her son to throw the game. Apparently, Manny is quite good and Jay is not a graceful loser. All is well until Jay gets a little too condescending after the win. Time for a rematch! If Manny wins, he gets Jay's watch. The game is over in record time, not that Jay would know this. See, he no longer owns a watch.
Mitchell is paralyzed with fear when he hears a voice coming through the baby monitor. He wakes Cameron who grabs a bat and storms into Lily's room. Don't worry; the baby is fine and alone. A neighbor's monitor happens to be on the same frequency. Mitchell is bummed that he wasn't as proactive as his fearless partner.
Still upset about the monitor mix-up, Mitchell asks Jay for some tips on how to fight. To provoke Mitchell into attacking him, Jay recalls the time he wouldn't let him dress up as Olivia Newton-John for Halloween. Let's get physical! Mitchell charges Jay who subdues him with a sleeper hold. When Jay realizes that Manny may have hustled him out of his watch, his grip gets way too tight and Mitchell's out like a light.
When Claire realizes she forgot her wallet, she calls a now-conscious Mitchell to bring her some money. A rude man cuts in front of Claire in line, so Mitchell tests out the sleeper move he learned from Jay. He's gonna need a few more lessons. The line-cutter is wide awake and trying not to spill his soda. Security comes over to toss all three troublemakers out of the line. This is devastating to a still iPad-less Claire.
Cameron has taken an interest in the drama taking place at Jake and Debbie's house. They're the folks whose voices are still transmitting through the baby monitor. Debbie thinks Jake is having an affair. When Cam realizes this isn't true, he tracks down his mystery neighbors to effectively save the marriage of two complete strangers. It's all part of his Neighborhood Listen program.
Back at the Dunphy house, the birthday cake fell on the floor, the pizzas never showed and Jay rips open Phil's present to challenge Gloria to a match. She would have won, but they opted to call it a draw. Mitchell spills the details of his exciting line fight while Cam tells the tale of how he saved Jake and Debbie's marriage. This is the best day ever for everyone except Phil, who seems to have blown a mental gasket.
Luke tells Claire that he e-mailed some of his dad's geek friends to say that Phil was dying and his last wish was to have an iPad. Claire is mad until she sees that his plan worked. One of Phil's online buddies brought over an extra iPad which allows him to blow out the candles on an electronically-generated cake. Happy birthday, Phil. Have fun with your new doohickey!
Tale of Three Cities