S1 E02 The Bicycle Thief

09/29/09 | TV-PG | CC

The question posed to the patriarch of each family is: What's the key to being a great dad? Judging by the varied responses, we're thinking not one of these Modern men has a clue.

While out on a family bike ride, Claire, Phil and Luke run into their attractive new neighbor, Desiree. The spandex-friendly Desiree is every suburban wife's nightmare. She's hot, fit and soon-to-be divorced. After some short-lived gushing by Phil, the family gets back on the road where we learn that Luke has been riding his sister's old bike. It's decorated with strips of black tape to make it look less girly. Claire doesn't think he's responsible enough to have his own bike; Phil aims to prove her wrong by getting his boy a new set of wheels.

When Phil sees Luke's new bike sitting unlocked outside a store, he decides to teach his son a lesson by stealing it. As Phil pedals home (without adjusting the seat), he runs into Desiree, who is locked out of her house. Phil saves the day by climbing through her bedroom window. But while Phil was doing the valiant neighbor thing, Luke's new bike is stolen for real. Think he should tell Claire? Nah. It's easier (i.e. safer) to buy another bike.

Phil buys a second bike only to discover that Luke's first bike is safe at home. Phil swiped some other kid's ride. Think he should tell Claire? Nah. It's easier (i.e. safer) to replace the bike he stole with the new bike he bought. But when Desiree stops by to say a neighbor parked bike #2 in her garage while Phil was in her bedroom, Claire stares at her loving hubby with daggers in her eyes. Busted!

Mitchell and Cameron take baby Lily to her first toddler play class. Mitchell is worried about being judged as the only gay parents. He wants them to tone it down a bit, which means Cameron can't slap his butt during the introductory "hello dance." That's going to be difficult for Cam. Butt slaps are how he makes his "horsey go."

Mitchell worries that Lily isn't up to speed with other babies her age. He even steals a block tower created by another child and passes it off as Lily's. Too bad the theft was caught on hidden camera. Mitchell realizes that this toddler class has turned him into a complete monster, as he's sunken to the level of stealing the intellectual property of infants. But when another gay couple shows up acting as their flamboyant selves, Mitchell sees the error of his ways. He even lets Cameron loose to "make that horsey move" with Lily during the family dance. We think you'll agree that this dancing dad can totally get down with the baby-friendly crowd.

Gloria wants Jay to bond with her son. She makes the boys spend time together by having them team up to install a ceiling fan. While reading the fan instructions to Jay, Manny tells many tales of his extraordinary father who is scheduled to take him to Disneyland. Manny's dad is so brave that he once killed a bear and is so fearless that he doesn't even wear a seatbelt. Jay, who thinks Manny's dad may have killed that bear by having it sit in the passenger seat, can't compete with all this hero worship. The bonding session doesn't go well.

When Manny's dad calls to cancel his plans, it's up to Jay to break the news to his stepson. Manny is crushed and believes his dad just didn't want to come. The kid's instincts are on target, as superdad couldn't pull himself away from the craps table. Rather than disparage Manny's hero, Jay makes up a tall tale to cushion the blow. He says Manny's dad sent a limo so he and Gloria could pinch hit and take him to Disneyland in style.

Remember how we said the guys didn't seem to know what makes a great dad? Well, for Phil it seems to be taking a ride on a couple of non-stolen bikes with his son. For Mitchell and Cameron, it's realizing their baby is going pick up things at her own speed. She's her own person, as are they. So why hide it? But it's Jay who hits the nail on the head when he says, "Ninety percent of being a dad is just showing up." That type of thinking keeps us "showing up" to see this Modern Family each and every week.

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