Modern Family S4E4 Script

The Butler's Escape (2012)

[ Explosion ]

Is everybody okay?

I'm fine. Thanks for waiting. What was that?

Water heater, gas line-the training's the same, people. Just stay low and move out!

Honey, Luke's gone.

Claire, spontaneous human combustion is very rare.

I don't think he exploded, Phil.

Rope ladder works. Least someone followed protocol.

Oh! Oh, it's there. Smoke is coming out of Luke's stupid suitcase.

Like his old man, Luke is a magician.

[ Chuckles ] I'm taking lessons from some guy my dad found online.

He came personally recommended... from the guy who runs the Warlock Conference up in Modesto.

[ Loud Snoring ]

[ Snoring Continues ]

[ Exhales ]

[ Grunting ] Ow! Ow, ow, ow!

[ Groans ]

Ocupado, big guy. Find another foxhole.

[ Manny Sighs ]

[ Cameron Singing Scales ] This is how we learn to sing Who can go up here with me?

Cam took a job teaching music at the local middle school.

Yeah, his first day's tomorrow.

I'm excited for me, but I'm probably more excited for the students... because a great teacher is a gift.

Hasn't started yet.

I have to tip my hat to my high school music teacher-[ Mouths Words ]

A real force of nature, who was also the defensive coordinator for the football team... and supervised calf birthing for the animal husbandry club. Oh, wow.

Doris Olsen. Great lady.


This is how we learn to sing

[ Door Slams ]

♪ Hey, hey ♪

♪ Hey♪ ♪

Ay, Jay, I'm going to miss you.

It's one night. No, I don't want to be without you, not even one night in my whole life.

What can I make you?

How 'bout a little room on my side of the bed?

I mean, I shouldn't complain. My wife's a knockout.

But she's at that place in her pregnancy... where she's, you know, ample.

And the snoring.

I swear, in the last ultrasound, the baby was like this.

So I should be home about noon tomorrow.

Who drank all the coffee?

Oh, I, uh-I had quite a bit of that.

You know, I haven't, uh, been sleepin' too well.

There's actually a funny story about what's causing that.

Mom, I'm fully aware of the changes your body is going through... and that nasal stuffiness is very common during pregnancy, but we got a crisis in this house.

You've been snoring. But I got you these nasal strips.

In the commercial, the old man's angry red sound waves turn to gentle blue.

So I'm like an old man? No!

Like a dog then? A pig?

What is it, Manny? I'm an old man, a dog or a pig?

Jay, help me out here. You've heard it.

I don't know what the boy's talking about.

If this is a glimpse of teenage Manny, I don't love it.

Have a little respect for your beautiful mother.

[ Blows Nose ] Thank you, Jay.

[ Sighs ] You're right. I'm sorry, Mom.

And, Jay, have a great trip to San Francisco.

[ Blows Nose ]

Okay. Lily's drop-off time is between 8:45 and 8:50, so you should be fine to get to work by 9:00.

Here is her checklist for her backpack.


Oh, I have this whole thing planned.

I'm gonna walk in, take off my jacket and say, "Here comes treble."

Big swing on the first day.

Please don't tamp down my enthusiasm. Okay, what else?

Oh, the dimmer came in for the switch, so I want you to call the electrician, but not Brad.

Remember, we had a problem with him last time about the billing.

He wanted his name above the title?

Yes, you've done that joke before. So cute. So funny.

What else? Oh! Lily needs to get a present for Gio's birthday party.

Don't be thrown by the invitation. It is a pirates party, not a Pilates party.

Now sit. I wanna talk juice boxes.

Cam. Cam. I know what's happening here.

You're feeling very anxious about your first day at work, and you're focusing that anxiety on my day with Lily.

Really? Are you sure I'm not completely confident about my first day?

Because it's gonna be a home run, and I am worried about you because you're taking on a little more of the Lily load.

Don't be scared, sweetie. Mwah! She's not scared! What are you doing?

Just call me if you need me. I won't!

And thank you for managing my expectations today. Not necessary.

I saw you practicing a bow last night.

That was just in fun. I highly doubt some teenagers... are gonna throw rose petals at my feet.

Yeah, well.

But I wouldn't be surprised if I got slow-clapped out of my first class.

Wrong. I am thinking.

If you were thinking, you wouldn't have Seattle as the capital of Washington.

Oh! Yeah. It's Spokane.

Sure. Which makes the 11th president of the United States James K. Pslk.

Okay. Alex, stop. I'm trying to figure this out.

Buzz. Time's up, dummy. It's Olympia.

Make sure you sound out the big, scary words.

[ Laughs, Cackling ]

Mom, something's on my mind, and it's really bothering me.

Yeah, it's really bothering me too.

But I think it's gonna be rich, so we better be nice to it.

I wanna quit magic. What?

I'm not really interested anymore, but I don't think Dad's gonna be happy.

Oh, sweetheart, don't worry about disappointing your father.

He only wants you to do it if you wanna do it.

Tell you what. I will talk to Dad.

Whoa! "Talk to Dad." That sounds serious.

Don't do drugs. Stay in school. [ Chuckles ]

Luke wants to quit magic. That's not happening.

Well, see you guys at dinner.

Sweetheart, don't you even wanna talk about this? What's to talk about?

The kid's a natural. He has everything.

The hands, the patter, the outfits. Okay, let's play this out.

Even if he is one in a million, what's our best-case scenario here?

He becomes, what? A professional magician? A professional magician.

Honey, the boy has a gift. You wanna just throw that away?

I don't think it's about throwing it away.

I think it's about you-Don't I get a say in any of this?

I'm sorry I don't like magic as much as you, but I don't.

This isn't about magic. No, it's about my life and you controlling it.

Look, you made a commitment. You will honor that commitment.

Ugh! I hate it here!


All right, young ladies and gentlemen.

If I can have your attention, please. Let's settle down.

And let's say a temporary good-bye to your neighbor and to life as you know it... because here comes treble.

That's right, my friends.

We got treble, right here at Franklin Middle I'm Cameron T. That rhymes with "G".

And that stands for "Good morning"

Huh? Yes! Love the enthusiasm. Go ahead. First question.

When's Mr. Namagachi coming back?

Okay, Mr. Namagachi isn't coming back, but there is somebody that I'd like to introduce you to.

Don't know that you've properly met.

She's a good friend of mine, and she goes by the name of Music.

And sometimes my friend Music can be shy.

[ Keyboard: "Fur Elise" ]

Sometimes she can be angry!

[ Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 ] Huh?

Sometimes she can be playful. [ "The Entertainer" ]

And sometimes, she can be downright a-funky.

[ Electronic Beats ] Train wreck.

There's no way he ran this past Mitchell.

[ Lily ] Daddy always parks in the back of the school.

I know, sweetie, but, uh, those spots were all taken.

Because we're late? No, we're, like, a minute late.

And that's 'cause of traffic. And because I tipped over.

You didn't snap my car seat right.

Okay, well, it certainly didn't hurt your memory any. All right. Here's your lunch.

You spilled it! Oh, why is the top open?

Daddy always zips it for me.

Maybe you should zip it.

I heard that.

So, with just a few more minutes left-

Mr. Namagachi- Used to work here.

But he got fired, okay?

So now, let's form an orchestra made up of my favorite instruments- your beautiful bodies.

Gettin' creepy. Okay.

So you guys are gonna be my, uh, table slappers.

You're my bass line. [ Imitating Bass ]

And you're gonna be my mouth trumpeters in the back with the melody.

[ Imitating Trumpet ]

Okay, now, let's bring it all together. One, two, three.

[ Cacophony ] Okay, no.

The bass line is a little- a little softer.

Okay, now, louder with the mouth trumpet. [ Imitates Trumpet ]

[ Bell Rings ] Okay, great. Well, thank you so much.

And, um, thought it was a great first day.

And I love the give-and-take, everyone.

[ Voice Quavering ] And, um-

Hey, Dad. How's Frisco?

My meetings ended early. I didn't even have to spend the night.

And don't say "Frisco." They hate it when you call it Frisco.

How do you know what they hate? You've been there two times in your life.

Anyway, I haven't slept in a week.

Gloria's snoring like a water buffalo.

Oh. Well, she's pregnant. It's uncomfortable.

What's she put on, 15, 20, 25, 30?

We're not doing this again. How do I bring it up?

Well, for starters, you don't. You suck it up.

Dad, your hot wife, who was learning to walk when you were 30 years old, is pregnant with a baby you conceived doing something most men would kill to do.

I'm just so tired.

It's a small sacrifice compared to what she's going through.

Poor thing, what with the extra 30, 35, 40?

We're done. Forty-five-

All right. Here we go. How's this? That's not the kind we get.

Okay. [ Cell Phone Rings ]

[ Beeps ] Hello? Hey, Cam. Just checking in on me again?

Yeah. Just wanted to see if you got Lily.

Yeah. We're just-We're at the grocery store having a great time.

Aah-aah! [ Mutters ]

Oh. Yeah. Any questions about the- about the grocery list?

No, we 're just picking up the granola.

So how was it? How was the big debut?

Was it a comfortable ride around the school yard on the shoulders of the children?

Well, I stood and delivered. Thank you for sarcastically asking.

Yeah. Thank you.

Okay. Did you call the electrician about the dimmer?

Yes. Yeah. Yeah, I'm on the other line with him right now.

Oh, well, I should probably let you go. Keep your eye on Lily.

She has a tendency to wander off. Cam!

I'm-I'm totally capable of-

You lost her, didn't you? No. No, no, no. No, no.

She is right next to me. Hi, honey.

I can hear it in your voice. Look in the dairy case.

Cam, do you honestly think that I would lose-

The doors don't pull. They slide.

[ Gloria Snoring ]

[ Whispers ] You never saw me.

[ Piano: Light Jazz ] Thank you very much.


Look, um, I thought about it, and if you really want to, you can quit magic.

You just have to do one thing first.

Execute the Butler's Escape.

It goes without saying that the Butler's Escape... is one of the most challenging feats of escapology an illusionist can perform.

It's based, of course, on the well-known story of the Earl of Flanning's manservant, Percy, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London... and, as we all know, refused to take off his uniform when he was shackled.

Famously, as the, uh, tower guard, Gert, slept, Percy freed himself and leapt over the sleeping guard, giving rise to the popular expression-

Percy jumped the Gert.

[ Grunts ] Why are you making me do this stupid trick?

I think you're quitting because magic's getting hard.

And that's not a good reason for quitting anything.

But if you can do this, then I'll know that you genuinely don't like it... and you'll have my blessing to pursue other interests.

No strings attached.

Ow! Sorry, buddy. I'm so sorry.

[ TV: Woman Chattering]

You're kidding, right? You cannot really be enjoying that stupid show.

I was changing channels. God.

Why are you so mean lately? Is something going on with you?

Is it that obvious? Oh, my gosh.

Come on. You can talk to me.

Well- Mm-hmm.

There's this girl at school, and-Mm-hmm.

She got pregnant.

[ Gasps ] No. I know.

I've been trying to help her, but with all the pills she's taking, she kind of lashes out.

Oh, honey. This is too much for you to take on alone.

Where are the parents? They're no help.

Dad's all consumed with his plastic surgery business, and her mom's an ex-model who's trying to launch a music career.

You're describing the show I was just watching, right?

I'm just saying, mix in a book every now and then.

Mean! Mean!

Try to see this from my perspective.

I can't.

I'm not raising a quitter.

Trust me. I know what's best for you.

Now watch your time. In the stage version, the rope's on fire, and you're suspended over a bed of nails.

I hate this! Why are you making me do this?

Use that anger, Lukini.

Let it be the key that opens the vault of fear... that holds the chalice of hope... that contains the elixir of success.

In a few short minutes-

[ Thuds ]

Son of Alkazeel! You've done it!

I quit.

So how was your first day? Tell me everything.

Well, you know, it was a lovefest.

And the kids, they were, you know, and-

[ Sniffs ] Is that a roast?

Yes! Yes. But I'm surprised you could smell it... over the no-dairy yellow-pepper bisque with cheesy croutons.

Oh, wow. You had time to do a roast and soup.

Hi, Daddy! Hi, angel. How are you?

Did you miss Daddy? Wow. Bathed and braided.

Yeah. Let me just put you in a more flattering light here.

The dimmer? Who'd you call?

I called myself, 'cause I did it. [ Chuckles ]

Yeah. I had time after picking up Gio's present, so, uh-

Go show Daddy what it is. Okay.

Sounds like you had a pretty successful day yourself.

Well, it's just a matter of being organized.

But who am I telling, huh? You do this sort of stuff every day.

Oh, blow on that.

So, tell me more about the kids.

Well, it was as I predicted, you know.

They just needed somebody to come in there and bring music back to life.

And, you know, that person was- that person was- was not me! What's happening?

It was a disaster, Mitchell. They hated me.

Not just the kids. The teachers. They wouldn't sit with me at lunch.

I had to sit alone. Oh, honey.

And my sweater-The shop teacher spilled juice on it.

He said it was an accident, but it wasn't an accident.

It's okay. It's not okay!

I failed, miserably. And look at you.

You did everything so perfectly.

Well, yes.

And-And no.

Look-Look, I gotta tell ya.

Uh- [ Exhales ]

I've just been watching how you've done things all these years, and I just perfected it.

[ Door Slams ] Oh, please, Mitchell! - Claire!

Cam, he was every bit the failure you were.

He was late picking up Lily. She was in with the custodians.

The only thing he had less to do with than dinner was the dimmer.

And her hair was in braids because there was gum in it.

And-[ Inhales ] Why are we hugging?

Because I know if he called you for help... and heard as many insults as I know he had to hear, that he had a worse day than me.

Oh, she was horrible, Cam! Oh!

You know what? It's gonna get better. No, I know.

We just need some time to settle into these new roles.

You were right to lower my expectations.

I just wish I had lowered mine. [ Pot Clanking ]

This gonna work its way around to a "thank you," ladies?

[ TV: Male Announcer, indistinct]

[ Phone Ringing ]

[ TV: Whistle Blows ]

Hey, honey. [ Gloria ] Surprise! I'm in San Francisco!

What? I dropped Manny at a friend's.

And it's crazy, but I hopped on a plane, and I'm here.

I'm driving to the hotel. That is so great.

The thing is, honey, I'm not here right now.

See, I'm, uh- I'm out at dinner.

Probably won't be back for, um-

Oh, I don't know, a couple of hours.

It's okay. I'll wait for you there.

Don't be silly. How often do you get to San Francisco?

There's so much to see there.

I mean, here.

Ghirardelli Square? Fisherman's Wharf? Alcatraz?

Hey, take that Segway tour. That's a great way to see the city.

And when you get the chowder, make sure it's in one of those bread bowls.

[ Elevator Bell Dings ] You can eat the bowl.

Yeah, it's a story you'll tell for a lifetime.

You know what? Later on, maybe we could watch some of your Lance Burton DVDs.

Thanks. I think I just wanna try this escape.

Would you mind tightening my arms? Oh, sure.

[ Sighs ] It's just hard, you know? Mm-hmm.

It's the first time he hasn't shared one of my interests.

It's scary to think that this is the start of us growing apart.

Oh, honey. It's probably just a phase.

Alex is going through something right now. I wish I could figure that out.

I can't breathe. It's anxiety.

No, no, no. I'm fighting the jacket.

The key to this escape is balance.

The whole thing is based on the idea of opposing forces holding each other in check.

Actually makes some sense.

"Some sense"?

There are two things I know with dead certainty.

How to shoulder-roll out of a human pyramid... and the black arts of the Butler's Escape.

No, honey. Our house is out of balance... because Alex is missing her opposing force.

Hmm? Yeah. Oh, you're missing out.

Some people describe this escape as visual poetry.

[ Muffled ] Honey?

Oh, no.


You told me that you were in Frisco, and you were here in a hotel?

Let me just say one thing. Don't say "Frisco." They hate that.

And how the hell did you find me?

The house has been a little noisy lately, and the school library is a pickup scene.

So where does a kid go for some peace and quiet?

[ Piano: Light Jazz ]

Tell me right now if you're having an affair, and we will find some time later for me to kill you.

No. I'm just trying to have one night away from your snoring.

You came to the hotel to sleep? I'm exhausted.

And I didn't wanna hurt your feelings, but you're huge.

And you're loud. It's like sleeping with Rush Limbaugh.

I didn't wanna bring it up because I figured you'd get mad at me... the way you got mad at Manny.

I am not mad at you because you told me that I snore.

I am mad at you because you didn't say anything.

'Cause I didn't wanna get yelled at. Well, too bad.

When you're married to me, you're going to get yelled at many times.

And you're tough enough to take it.

That's what I love about our marriage.

We can say whatever we want, but the next day, we're still there.

That's what I like about it too.

Ah, what am I gonna say you couldn't forgive me? There are things, Jay.

You ready to go? I was thinking-

It's such a shame that this hotel room is going to go to waste.

I like where this is headed.

Make Manny some pasta. I'll see you tomorrow morning, okay?

Hey, Dad. Hey, buddy.

[ Sighs ] Look, I- I'm sorry if, uh-

No, no, no. No. Don't apologize.

There's still plenty of stuff we can do together.

So, if you want out, you are out.

[ Grunts ]

I know we've bought a lot of magic stuff, but we can return some of it.

Merlin's hat, the gloves, most of the capes.

What about Houdini's wands? Uh, they kind of got broken.

All three? What happened? I got you carbon fiber.

Some kids were messing around with them at school.

What do you mean? What were they doing?

I don't really wanna talk about it.

You know, I went through that.

Kids-Kids messing with my stuff.

Really? Oh, yeah. In high school, when I first got nominated for junior tumbling congress, my parents had to sign a release! [ Grunts ]

[ Clears Throat ]

Anyway, my buddy Dizzy Brindizzi saw it, grabbed it, made a lot of fun of me.

I thought about not going. But you did.

Oh, yeah. Had a blast.

Made a lot of friends.

Shared milk shakes with more than one female tumbler.

The minute I stopped caring what other people thought... and started doing what I wanted to do is the minute...

I finally felt free! [ Grunts ]

[ Groans ]

Buddy, you're gonna make your own choices.

And whatever you decide, I'll always support you.

You're not just saying all this 'cause you're stuck, right?

Nothing you decide will ever disappoint me.

Thanks, Dad.

Relax your arms, roll your shoulders forward, bend down your head, exhale.

And then arch.

Oh. Uh, it sort of worked.

[ Sighs ]

Well, honey, I just wanted to check in and say hi.

Alex, come say hi to your sister!

I love you so much. What's up, lady?

Oh, my God. You did not just say, "What's up, lady?" What's wrong with you?

I was just saying hello.

It's like the lamest thing you've ever said! And what is that shirt?

What are you, a flapper? I just bought it at that store that you-

Oh, where? Forever 1921? And what is going on with your hair?

What's wrong with my hair?

Oh, you should just dip yourself in boy repellant.

Shut up! Mom!

And balance is restored.