As ABC's Emmy Award-winning series "Modern Family" returns for its second season, Claire finally gets Phil to agree to sell their old station wagon, but not before everyone has to take it on one last ride down memory lane. Meanwhile, when a haphazard hammer-wielding Mitchell decides to build a life-size princess castle for Lily, Cameron calls Jay in for reinforcement, and Manny invites a cute girl over for a study date -- which makes Gloria a little uncomfortable -- .
Jay pokes fun at Gloria's pledge to honor her grandmother's memory by cooking traditional Colombian cuisine. Meanwhile, Cameron and Mitchell debate the merits of public displays of affection; and Alex's interest in a boy brings out Claire's overbearing side.
An earthquake hits, leaving Claire stuck in the bathroom with the plumber, Manny experiencing an existential crisis while out with Jay, and Mitchell and Cameron digging themselves deeper into a lie when they use the quake to get out of a themed brunch party thrown by their friend, Pepper.
Claire and Mitchell enlist each other's help in trying to spare their significant others from embarrassment - Cameron from his unfortunate wardrobe choices, and Phil from his joke-ridden speech for the realtors' banquet. Meanwhile Jay tries to prove a point to Gloria by attending a quincea-era thrown by one of his employees, and Haley gives Alex sisterly advice on how to be cool.
Noticing that everyone is too busy on their electronic devices to actually interact with one another, Claire and Phil declare a family challenge to see who can stay unplugged the longest. Meanwhile, it's a race against the clock as Mitchell and Cameron frantically try to get Lily into the best pre-schools, and Jay and Manny are concerned about how far Gloria will go to alleviate their problem with the neighbor's barking dog.
Claire loves Halloween and is gearing up to spookify the Dunphy house for the trick or treaters. She gives each family member a role to play, but none of it goes quite right... Cameron can't shake a traumatic childhood experience and hates the holiday, Mitchell has had a terrible day at work, and Gloria is acting weird after Jay and Manny teased her about her accent.
Claire and Haley have a bit of quality girl time while they're stuck at home sick, and Phil is preoccupied by the taunts of a chirping smoke detector. Gloria and Manny's surprise visit at Jay's work leads to headaches for Jay, and Cameron gets swept up by all the lights and cameras when he goes behind Mitchell's back and takes Lily for a commercial.
Everyone is gathering at a restaurant to celebrate Manny's birthday, though Manny himself is experiencing a mini-life crisis about getting older. Meanwhile, on the way to the restaurant, Phil and Claire decide to engage in a not-so-friendly car race there, and Mitch and Cam get sidetracked when they stop at the mall to pick up a gift.
Cameron loves his mom, so Mitchell isn't quite sure how to tell Cam that she makes him a little uncomfortable. Meanwhile, when Haley finally breaks up with Dylan, Phil takes it harder than anyone else, and Jay's little stomach ache gets exacerbated when he and Manny start looking things up on a medical website.
It's Luke & Manny's first school dance and everyone gets in on the "fun" -- Jay and Phil have to take the boys on a mall run which becomes quite stressful; and Claire revels in the school dance committee duties, but gets a little jealous when Gloria shows up to help. Meanwhile, Mitch and Cam are horrified to learn that Lily is biting other kids on the playground.
Claire becomes a determined neighborhood vigilante hoping to catch and stop a menacing car that speeds though their streets. Meanwhile, Phil is busy trying to land an important listing with a difficult client, Jay teaches Manny how to ride a bike -- only to learn Gloria needs lessons too -- and Mitchell and Cameron stumble upon a mysterious neighbor who is quite the charmer.
Claire and Phil want Alex to relax a little about her studies, but then they start questioning their own intellectual drives. Meanwhile, Gloria tries to befriend another nice couple, much to Jay's chagrin, and Mitch and Cam run into and old female flame of Mitchell's, only to make a disturbing discovery.
Plans backfire when the kids go to surprise their parents with breakfast in bed on their anniversary, only to catch Phil and Claire in a compromising position. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria's Vegas getaway is thwarted by a brutally honest email that was accidentally sent to Claire, and Mitch and Cam desperately try to get an "in" at the hot new neighborhood restaurant whose owner happens to be a mom at Lily's preschool.
In an attempt to avoid turning into that old boring couple, Phil and Claire decide to revisit their Clive and Juliana role-playing rendezvous from last Valentine's Day. Meanwhile Jay has planned an elaborate surprise evening for Gloria, but his plans keep getting thwarted, and an admirer comes between Cameron and Mitchell on V-day, but they can't agree whom the admiration is directed towards.
Cameron is upset when Fizbo the clown is nixed from the guest list for Lily's princess-theme birthday party, but the invitees do include Mitchell's mom (Shelley Long), who shows up with Claire's high-school boyfriend (Matt Dillon).
Phil and Claire had a huge fight and Phil hasn't a clue as to what it was over, so Gloria steps in to counsel Phil and Jay takes Claire. Meanwhile, Jay may have some regret in buying Gloria a karaoke machine, and Cameron is in full prep mode for a huge fundraising event and enlists help from Mitchell and Luke -- which might not be the best choices -- .
While Claire runs herself ragged trying to play peacemaker with Haley and Alex, Phil sneaks off for a nice relaxing day at the spa. Meanwhile, Gloria is horrified by Jay's morbid plans to purchase two primo side-by-side crypts in preparation of the inevitable future, and Cameron decides he wants to write a book that celebrates the fact that Lily is adopted -- however, during the process he unearths artifacts that are quite disturbing -- .
Phil and Claire have some trepidation when they find out that Luke has befriended their crotchety old neighbor, Mr. Kleezak; Jay's attempt to avoid sitting through a symphony concert with Gloria and Manny lands him in the middle of Mitchell and Cameron's "boys' night out"; and Haley has her own adventures in babysitting with Lily.
Cameron is relishing his role as interim music director at Luke and Manny's school, and he's taking on the upcoming spring musical performance with a little too much zest and fervor. Meanwhile, Jay's brother, Tommy, is in town for a visit, and their relentless brotherly ribbing goes a little too far; and Phil convinces the family to be in his new realty ad, but when he goes as far as to wrap the family minivan in the ad, the results are unexpected.
Mitchell and Cameron are looking to assign legal guardians for Lily in case anything were to happen to them, and are secretly assessing their family members. But no one is blowing their socks off, as they witness Jay giving Manny a dose of tough love, Claire secretly taking Luke to a child psychologist to assess his development, and Haley and Alex getting into some delinquent activities at school.
Claire and Gloria want to spend a nice Mother's Day outdoors hiking with the kids, but their nonstop bickering and complaining drives Claire to the edge, and she brings Gloria down with her. Meanwhile, Phil and Jay stay home to cook everyone a nice dinner, but things get really awkward when Phil witnesses an unexpected moment of weakness from Jay, and Cameron gets very self-conscious about being seen as the "mother" in the relationship.
Phil and Claire swap parenting roles for the day - Claire will be the fun loving good cop and Phil the disciplinarian bad cop - and it's literally a shock to each kid's system. Meanwhile Gloria is at it again, taking in every sob story and stray she comes across, Jay finds himself dispensing business advice to an overzealous entrepreneur about his dog training business scheme, and Cameron is bedridden with the flu -- leaving Mitchell torn about the Lady Gaga concert tickets they have for later that night.
The whole family is gathering at Jay's before heading out to Alex's graduation ceremony from middle school, but while at the house, Jay is preoccupied hiding a botox mishap from everyone, Cameron is upset about Mitchell's habit of laughing at his expense, and Phil tries to sympathize with, yet also antagonize Claire on her impending breakdown over the kids growing up too fast. All of this, plus a faulty gate, could mean their missing Alex's big moment.
Jay wants nothing more than to have a quiet birthday out fishing on the lake, but the family take that as him wanting a big celebration, and in their frantic scramble to put everything together, Claire and Mitchell wind up trapped in the yard of their childhood home; Phil runs into his old college nemesis while at the mall with Gloria and Lily; Cameron gets himself into some hot water at the bakery, and the kids frantically do some creative editing on grandpa's birthday video, all of which leaves Jay with a headache.