MODERN FAMILY "Family Games Night


written by Gavin Warner WGA#


MITCHELL AND CAMERON INTERVIEW Cameron nudges Mitchell. Tell them. MITCHELL (reluctantly) So we’re having a family games night. Cameron claps excitedly. CAMERON Organised by moi. Cameron looks over at Mitchell’s sour face. MITCHELL Oh c’mon it’ll be a blast. (sing-songy) Charaaaades. Give me one. Mitchell sighs. Squints. CAMERON Clint Eastwood. Mitchell nods. Puts his hands on his hips. CAMERON (CONT’D) Mickey Rooney. A sour expression. CAMERON (CONT’D) One Flew over the Cookoo’s Nest. Mitchell shows two slight changes in facial expression almost imperceptible. MITCHELL No, this is One Flew over the Cookoo’s Nest. THIS is The Death and Life of Peter Sellers. CAMERON (to the camera) We’re still working out some of the subtleties. Beat. Mitchell starts to move his hands forward.

CAMERON (CONT’D) Casablanca! INT. DUNPHY HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY Claire is on the phone. CLAIRE Hang on I’ll just check. Claire goes to back door. Phil and Luke are battling it out dressed as robots. Phil slams Luke’s body-armour-cardboard-box with his foil covered arm. PHIL Gorbotron strikes hitting Rotozor in the fuel tank. CLAIRE Phil, Cam wants to know if we’d like to go to a family games night at their place tonight. PHIL (sounding robotic) That’s a big O. CLAIRE Is that a ‘yes’? PHIL Word to your mother. CLAIRE (to the phone) I’ll get back to you.

INT. JAY AND GLORIA’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY Jay is sitting with his arm around Manny watching Saturday morning cartoons - old-school. MANNY I don’t understand why Tom and Jerry fight all the time. Why can’t they just sit down and reason out their differences. JAY It’s a cartoon. It’s funny. Beat.

MANNY There’s this kid at school called Henrich that keeps picking on me. JAY (indicating to the T.V.) So, be like the Jerry. Outsmart him. Gloria enters. GLORIA We’re going to a games night at Mitchell and Cameron’s tonight-JAY But I’ve got a thing on at the...thing... Gloria ignores him. GLORIA Annnndd... JAY (to Manny) I don’t like the sound of that and. GLORIA Does anyone know what day it is today? JAY Happy birthday Manny. MANNY Already had it. Jay nods...back to the cartoon. GLORIA We’re picking up Diego from the airport. JAY Whosa? GLORIA My cousin Diego. We talked about this last month. JAY Ah, that’s why I remember it so well. Gloria starts handing out ponchos.

GLORIA And we all need to wear traditional Colombian outfits today. JAY No, no we don’t.

JAY & GLORIA INTERVIEW Jay and Gloria are dressed in traditional Colombian outfits. GLORIA My cousin Diego arrives today from Bogota. He’s the sweetest florist you’ll ever meet. JAY Maybe he’ll get on well with Mitch and Cam. Gloria throws Jay a glare which he ignores.

INT. MITCHELL AND CAMERON’S DUPLEX - STUDY - DAY Mitchell is typing away at his laptop. Suddenly, Lily’s head pops around the door corner. CAMERON (O.S.) Daddy. Daddy. Are you in here. I really want to go to the park and am wondering why you are being so emotionally withdrawn today. Mitchell sits back in his seat, looks at the camera and sighs.

EXT. PARK - WALKING PATH - DAY Cameron is pushing Lily in a pram while Mitchell walks beside. MITCHELL The whole Games Night thing it just...brings back memories. CAMERON We’ve all had a bad run of charades. I remember a time when everyone thought-MITCHELL You’re not listening.

CAMERON Just adding some levity. MITCHELL Our family loved board games. Friday nights. But one year my dad found some magazines under my bed...he was so mad with me that he’d wouldn’t play on my side anymore. Soon our family grew out of board games anyway, but the point was-CAMERON He wasn’t there for you. MITCHELL Yeah and he-CAMERON Kept to himself. Kept busy. MITCHELL Yes. Yes. CAMERON Was emotionally distant? MITCHELL Right... (realization dawns) Oh. Mitchell slips a hand inside Cameron’s arm. Looks down at Lily and smiles.

PHIL & CLAIRE INTERVIEW PHIL Every Tuesday night before there were kids biting our ankles we’d have a few friends around, play a few games...

FLASHBACK INT. APARTMENT - NIGHT Three couples including Phil and a heavily pregnant Claire sit on the floor around a small coffee table. On the table a board game.

Phil rolls a die, moves his piece, then suddenly leaps up in the air. PHIL Yes. Yes. Winner. (to the others) Loooosers. Woo hoo. U.S.A. He jumps up on the table, but slips, falls on his back. CLAIRE Are you okay?

PHIL & CLAIRE INTERVIEW RESUMES CLAIRE (CONT’D) It’s not all about winning. PHIL Yep. That’s what the losers say. Phil produces the board game ‘Trivial Pursuit.’ PHIL (CONT’D) And here’s my secret weapon. Claire hangs her head in despair. CLAIRE Oh God. Phil pulls out the card deck. Hands it toward the unseen camera operator. PHIL Ask me any question. Phil waits. CAMERA OPERATOR (O.S.) What’s the capital of Russia? Beat. PHIL That’s a good one. Uh...let me think now...when Gorbachov was president it was... PHIL (CONT’D) (reaching) Can I... He’s given back the card. Examines it carefully.

PHIL (CONT’D) Did you take this from the front or the back? CAMERA OPERATOR (O.S.) The middle. Another quick look. PHIL (handing back the card) Ok. Ask me again.

EXT. PARK - PLAYGROUND - DAY Cameron and Mitchell have parked the stroller and are pushing Lily on a swing. Both involved. A happy family. Another woman comes along. Puts her kid on the swing beside Lily. Begins pushing. WOMAN (to Mitchell) She’s gorgeous. How old is she. MITCHELL Two. WOMAN Really. So’s mine. She walking yet? Mitchell nods unconvincing. Looks to Cameron who is surprised. WOMAN (CONT’D) Oh little Jessie’s been walking since one. CAMERON Really. WOMAN Took to it like a champion. What about climbing? Cameron is about to speak but Mitchell gets in first. MITCHELL Great climber. WOMAN Jesse could climb from day dot. Up on chairs, holding the edge of anything she could get her hands on.

Mitchell begins unhooking the chain holding Lily in the seat. MITCHELL Yeah. Well you know we’ve got to get her to swimming class now. WOMAN (shocked) She can swim? MITCHELL Does 15 in less than a minute. WOMAN Wow.

INT. DUNPHY HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY Claire and Hayley are waiting at the front door with Claire. Phil enters dressed in a tight fitting basketball outfit. PHIL Still fits. CLAIRE Really? HAYLEY Do we have to go mom? CLAIRE Your brother who loves you needs your support... Phil is oblivious. He’s pretending to do lay-ups. CLAIRE (CONT’D) does your father. Luke comes down the stairs. PHIL Here’s the baller. Claire puts a hand on Luke’s shoulder as he reaches the bottom stair. CLAIRE Play fair. Do your best. Phil makes a honking sound PHIL Ball just hit the rim.

Phil looks at the camera.

PHIL INTERVIEW PHIL (CONT’D) Do you think Michael Jordan ever said, ‘Let’s just go out there and play fair. Let’s NOT slam dunk on everyone’s heads today.’

INT. DUNPHY HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS Claire shuts the door behind Phil, Luke and the girls as they leave. She then indicates that the camera should follow her. She moves to a nearby potted plant. Reaches in. Pulls out a few Trivial Pursuit cards and shows them to the camera. Claire then moves into the living room. Goes to the couch. Reaches in-between the cushions. Pulls out more cards. SERIES OF SHOTS --Cards are stashed in a suit jacket; --Under the dining table with sticky tack; --At the back of the fridge; Pan up to Claire at the fridge. CLAIRE Phil studies the first twenty or so cards and then puts them to the front.

INT. PHIL’S CAR - DAY Phil is not concentrating on his driving. He’s looking at three cards which are stuck to the inside of the visor. HAYLEY Dad! Phil quickly pulls the car back into the lane.

INT. MITCHEL AND CAMERON’S CAR - DAY Cameron reaches over to Mitchell who is driving and puts a hand on his.

CAMERON I’m so proud of you. MITCHELL For lying to that lady. CAMERON For sticking up for your daughter. Being there for her. Mitchell smiles. Glances at Lily in the rearview. LILY Da!

EXT. MITCHELL AND CAMERON’S CAR - DAY Their car screams to a stop. Mitchell gets out and takes Lily out of her seat. Cameron’s running around in circles shaking his hands. CAMERON (high-pitched) She said ‘Da.’ (to a walker nearby) She said ‘Da’.


ACT TWO INT. BASKETBALL COURT - DAY Phil sits on the sideline of a basketball court, Hayley and Alex beside him. Hayley is texting on her phone. Alex is looking bored. Luke is playing on court. He’s a bit weak. Nobody’s passing him the ball. PHIL C’mon Lukey. Call for it. Call for it. Phil looks over at Hayley. Reaches across and grabs her phone off her. HAYLEY Dad! PHIL At least try and look interested. Hayley crosses her arms and sits back. HAYLEY (sarcastic) Yay Luke. Phil nudges Alex. ALEX (bored) Yay Luke. Someone finally passes Luke the ball. He starts moving down the court... PHIL Yes. C’mon little buddy! ...but is soon stripped by another player and stands there shaking his head. Phil shakes his head. A whistle blows. Phil calls Luke over. Phil gets up and waves the girls to their feet. Encourages the four into a huddle. PHIL (CONT’D) Now listen son, you need to start getting your game on. (MORE)

PHIL (CONT’D) You don’t want to shame on this family do you.

Luke shakes his head. PHIL (CONT’D) Let’s not forget I was an allAmerican football legend. HAYLEY Let’s not forget you were a cheerleader. PHIL Games were made or broken on my thigh stands young lady. Phil breaks the huddle. The girls quickly sit down again. PHIL (CONT’D) Just...start bringing home the bacon. LUKE What’s that mean? PHIL Okay, let me put it another way, if you don’t get that ball and put it in that hoop, I’m going to be all like, ‘who are you? You’re not my son.’ Luke stands there looking hurt and shocked. Phil looks at the camera and then heads back to the bench seat with a smug look.

PHIL INTERVIEW PHIL (CONT’D) Encouragement. We all need it.

BACK TO THE GAME Luke is trying really hard to get the ball this time but without much success. Phil is shouting instructions from the sideline. He suddenly stops. PHIL (V.O.) (CONT’D) It was then that I realized what I had to do...

Phil starts cheerleading. It’s really corny and weird; so much so that the crowd lose interest in the game and begin watching Phil; so do a lot of the players. This gives Luke the opportunity to snatch the ball off a mesmerized opponent, bounce it down the court, and shoot a basket. Hardly anyone notices. Not even Phil who is still selfabsorbed in his routine.

INT. BASKETBALL COURT - LATER Phil and Luke stand before the coach. PHIL Lot of potential huh coach. COACH It was...disturbing. Phil sees the coach looking him up and down. PHIL Oh, no, I mean, Luke. COACH Has he tried baseball? PHIL He has. Look, he swished didn’t he. COACH Controversial.’s not all about winning. PHIL (pretending to cough) Michael Jordan. Phil looks at the camera. COACH Sorry, did you say something? PHIL No, no, just got a tickle. So then tell me coach, what is it all about then. COACH One word - ‘team’. PHIL That’s right. And how do you spell that?

COACH Uh...T..E..A..M. PHIL Exactly. Ever notice the letters m and e in there?

INT. PHIL’S CAR - DAY Phil looks in the rear vision. PHIL Don’t sweat it champ. I don’t think he was the right coach for you anyway. LUKE So am I still your son? The girls look horrified. ALEX Dad? PHIL Of course buddy. That was just court talk. Maybe the coach was right. LUKE About winning? PHIL About baseball. Phil becomes involved in another Trivial Pursuit card which he has hidden in a flip panel on the middle console. He’s trying to get a peek at it. ALL KIDS (looking through the windscreen) Dad!

INT. JAY AND GLORIA’S CAR - DAY Jay is driving. The family are still in their traditional garb. GLORIA I want to get Diego a welcome present. (she points ahead) Let’s stop at Costco.

JAY I’m not getting out. GLORIA So you’re not proud of your wife and son’s wife’s nationality. JAY You always put things so...harshly.

INT. COSTCO - DAY Jay, Gloria and Manny come through the doors. Jay is looking around nervously hoping not to get noticed by anyone he knows. As they head toward one of the isles they see Mitchell and Cameron pushing their trolley. GLORIA Hey boys. JAY Oh great. CAMERON Hey Gloria. Both look with interest at Jay. CAMERON (CONT’D) I like this! GLORIA My cousin Diego is coming from Bogota. CAMERON So you’re making him feel welcome. How sweet. Make sure you bring him along tonight then. MITCHELL You all look so festive... (to Jay) especially you. JAY Yeah yeah. Laugh it up. Manny is preoccupied staring at a father and son over near the toilet paper. MANNY That’s him. GLORIA Who?

MANNY Henrich. The kid who’s picking on me at school. GLORIA A kid is picking on you at school. Jay did you...? Jay nods. GLORIA (CONT’D) (to Jay) Well go over there. Talk to his father. Mano o mano. Jay stares at the father who looks a little rough around the edges. JAY But...the kid’s got to learn to fight his own battles. Mitchell scoffs at this. MITCHELL Yeah, I did. Jay looks at Mitchell. Sees the hurt. Contemplates this. Gloria waves Jay onward. JAY Alright alright. Jay ambles over. Sticks out a hand to the father. JAY (CONT’D) Jay Pritchett. The man just stares coldly. JAY (CONT’D) Uh...your boy there...well...he’s been picking on my kid and...maybe you could talk to him. HENRICH’S FATHER About... JAY About stopping. HENRICH’S FATHER Why?

JAY Why? Because it’s hurting his feelings that’s why. Henrich’s father looks Jay up and down, looks to his son and smirks. JAY (CONT’D) C’mon. You’re a father. How would you feel if it was the other way around. HENRICH’S FATHER I’d tell him to harden the-A voice comes over the speaker drowning out what Henrich’s father says next, although we can tell it’s not pretty. SHOP ASSISTANT’S VOICE Price check on a packet of wild oats. Henrich’s father finishes what he was saying as the voice finishes the price check. JAY I bet you would. Jay throws a hand out in frustration. JAY (CONT’D) Ah, forget it. Jay begins to move away. HENRICH’S FATHER (calling after him) Nice dress. Jay stops. Turns and heads back. Gets in Henrich’s father’s face. JAY You know this is traditional Colombian poncho. My wife’s Colombian, my kid’s Colombian, and we have quite a few Colombian friends who’d be interested in the whole...situation we have here. The man’s eyes widen as he realizes what Jay means. He looks down at the poncho again. HENRICH’S FATHER You know...the colours aren’t so bad.

Jay nods and walks off. He moves up to Manny and puts an arm on him. Begins to lead him away toward an isle. JAY C’mon Manny. He won’t bother you anymore. GLORIA Baby, what did you say? JAY I just reasoned with him. You know...mano o mano. GLORIA Awwww. You’re so brave. She looks back. GLORIA (CONT’D) He looks scared of you. JAY (wide-eyed) Mmmm hmmmm. Mitchell watches his father leave.



INT. MITCHELL AND CAMERON’S DUPLEX - KITCHEN / INT. DUNPHY’S HOUSE - KITCHEN SPLIT SCREEN or cut back and forth as necessary. Mitchell is buzzing around the kitchen getting things ready for the Games Night while holding a phone to his ear. In the B.G. Cameron is dancing with Lily to Aretha Franklin. MITCHELL I don’t know. This mother was all like my daughter can do this. And my daughter can do that. Claire is arranging some flowers in a vase in the kitchen. Out the window in the back yard Phil and Luke are wrestling. Phil is dressed in a cape and a mask and Luke has underpants over his head and is wearing some bed leggings. CLAIRE Not every kid develops the same Mitch. MITCHELL That’s true. That’s helpful. CLAIRE Take you for example. You were never as good at sport as me. A late bloomer. MITCHELL That’s not as helpful. Claire looks out the window - frowns. CLAIRE Don’t you remember...Mum and Dad were always letting us try new things. MITCHELL Yeah. Basketball. CLAIRE Baseball. MITCHELL Present wrap club. TOGETHER Mum’s idea.

MITCHELL Ice skating. Who would’ve thought I’d find my niche. CLAIRE Even then I was the one who... MITCHELL Alriiight. Point taken. Bet me iceskating disappointed dad though. CLAIRE Nah. You were always the apple of his eye. MITCHELL What? CLAIRE Even when he found out you were gay Mitch. MITCHELL Really? CLAIRE It was such a turbulent time you probably didn’t notice. It was hard for him too with his traditional values. MITCHELL (in deep thought) Yeah. Right. CLAIRE The key with kids is to work on their strengths. Claire looks out the window. Phil is now climbing on the bin ready to Hammer Drop Luke who is sprawled on the grass pretending he’s injured. CLAIRE (CONT’D) Uh, I gotta go. MITCHELL See you tonight. Claire races for the back door. CLAIRE Honey that’s not... CRUNCH


PHIL AND CLAIRE INTERVIEW Luke sits between his parents on the couch. He has his arm in a sling. CLAIRE (CONT’D) I realized that Luke’s strength lies in pretend-play, so we-PHIL You. CLAIRE I, enrolled him in acting classes. PHIL Mainly girls. Wearing eighteenth century dresses and pretending to be the Brontes. CLAIRE One of the male students recently got cast in the next Narnia-PHIL one of the sisters. CLAIRE The kid’s making more than his parents income combined. PHIL When does Luke start again? CLAIRE Monday.

INT. JAY’S CAR - DAY A huge Colombian man sits beside Manny in the back of the car. He’s so large that he has to hunch over to fit. Manny stares up at him in awe. JAY’re a florist. DIEGO A fauna engineer.

JAY Uh huh. How’s that working out for you? DIEGO Good. JAY Great. DIEGO I just open my twenty third store in Barranquilla. JAY Wow. So business is blooming. Jay laughs at his own joke. Stops when he sees Diego is not. Jay pulls up at the lights. A beefy Hummer pulls up beside. Jay looks over. Henrich’s father is behind the wheel. JAY (CONT’D) Diego. Do me a favour and wave at that guy over there. Diego waves enthusiastically. JAY (CONT’D) Lose the smile. Henrich’s father looks across, sees Jay, and then sees the huge Colombian man in the back waving darkly at him. He quickly looks away. As soon as the lights go green Henrich’s father takes off quickly. Jay laughs.

INT. MITCHELL AND CAMERON’S DUPLEX - FRONT DOOR At the door stand Jay and family with Diego. Mitchell and Cameron open the door. Cameron is dressed in a Colombian outfit. He’s the only one. He bows to Diego who looks at him strangely. MUSIC MONTAGE

INT. STUDY - NIGHT Cameron opens the study door for Manny and sweeps an arm toward the other children who are sitting around a stack of board games looking bored. When Cameron leaves, the kids quickly sweep the board games away and pull out a set of poker cards. Hayley begins dealing. Manny smiles and sits down.

INT. MITCHELL AND CAMERON’S DUPLEX - LIVING ROOM - DAY Jay and Gloria are in the lounge chair, Phil and Claire on the floor with Mitchell and Cameron around the coffee table. CLAIRE (V.O.) Life’s not about getting it right all the time... A bunch of games are stacked on the table. Phil produces his trivial pursuit and starts opening it. As he pulls out the card set he drops it and it spills everywhere - the cards getting mixed up. Phil looks horrified as he frantically starts to scoop them up. Claire stifles a giggle.

INT. MITCHELL AND CAMERON’S DUPLEX - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Everyone is now playing Outburst. Jay is teamed up with Mitchell. They are obviously winning. CLAIRE (V.O.) It’s about accepting one another... Jay throws an arm around Mitchell in victory, and Mitchell quickly glances over at Claire and Cameron who are teamed up. Both are smiling at him. Mitchell smiles back. CLAIRE (V.O.) Especially those closest to us...

INT. MITCHELL AND CAMERON’S DUPLEX - LIVING ROOM - LATER Mitchell and Cameron are winning at Charades. Phil is not happy with this but Claire pats his arm and he relaxes slightly.

INT. DRAMA CLASS - DAY CLAIRE (V.O.) And celebrating their strengths with them. Luke is dressed in an eighteenth century costume complete with leggings and frilly shoulders. He has his arms around two other boys and is kicking his legs from side to side and singing boisterously. Phil and Claire sit to the side. Phil’s clapping happily along.


TAG INT. MIDDLE SCHOOL - CLASSROOM - DAY Michael Jordan sits in front of a class of students who are seated in front of him on the floor, parents behind them.

INT. MIDDLE SCHOOL - HALLWAY - DAY Phil is rushing down the hallway dragging Luke behind him. PHIL This is so exciting. This is so exciting. INT. MIDDLE SCHOOL - CLASSROOM - DAY Phil bursts in the door and pushes his way to the front, seats Luke, then heads toward Michael and shakes his hand. PHIL Hello Mr. Jordan. I’m a big fan of your work. MICHAEL Thanks. PHIL The NBA final of ‘86...what a game. That was magic. MICHAEL Yeah it was...Magic Johnson. Not me. PHIL You weren’t on the bench or... Michael shakes his head. PHIL (CONT’D) Well, 90 against the Mavericks-MICHAEL Also Magic. PHIL I think my wife mixed up my DVDs again. MICHAEL If you don’t mind... Michael indicates he wants to start.

Phil heads to the back of the classroom with the other parents. MICAHEL Alright welcome everyone. Nice to see you today. My name’s Michael Jordan and let me start by saying, ‘It’s not all about winning.’ Luke looks around at Phil. Phil shakes his head as if to say, ‘Don’t listen to him.’ It’s then he notices Michael Jordan is staring straight at him. END OF SHOW

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