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‘Commencement’ Quotes

Modern Family: Commencement

1021. Commencement

Aired May 1, 2019

Cameron faces challenges as he is put in charge of the high school graduation ceremony, with Jay giving the commencement address.

Quote from Alex

Alex: [aside to camera] So we were done with classes, done with finals, and, like college seniors since the beginning of time, we decided to get a little nuts.
[flashback:]
All: Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!
[v.o.:]
Alex: Our classmate Ashish Chug hacked his key card to get us access to the restricted section of the library. We decided to read Alister's Last Theorem. Gottlob Alister wrote a proof showing that zero equals one. This rendered mathematics meaningless and drove him insane. According to legend, the same fate befalls anyone who reads and understands the proof.

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Quote from Cameron

Mitchell: Oh, boy. Is it already the first day of livestock auction season again?
Cameron: It's the same day every year, Mitchell, a fortnight after the first ripe tomato comes in. And seriously? This is what passes for auction-calling these days?
Mitchell: Is it possible you're being a tad harsh?
Cameron: You know, when you've been at the top of your field... Greater Bug County Auction-Calling Champ three years running, it's hard to see anything but the inadequacies. It's why Baryshnikov couldn't watch others dance.
Mitchell: What? He was the Artistic Director of...
Lily: How long have you lived in this house?! It's gonna wind up being some pig named Baryshnikov or some damn thing.

Quote from Mitchell

Cameron: So, how was your trumpet lesson?
Mitchell: It was amazing. Yeah. Oh, these sessions just have really changed my life.
[aside to camera:]
Mitchell: Technically, uh, not a lie. Uh, I started taking trumpet lessons two years ago. But then I noticed the place next door was offering massages for the same price, so... you know. And I felt bad relaxing while Cam was solo-parenting Lily. But... But we were both spending time with an Asian woman who walked all over us.

Quote from Cameron

Cameron: [cellphone ringing] Oh, I have to take this. It's Superintendent Pierce. [answers phone] Hello, good sir.
To what do I owe this honor? [smiling] Oh, no. That's horrible.
[aside to camera:]
Cameron: [excitedly] Principal Brown got into a car accident! Which means, as next in the line of succession, I get to preside over today's graduation. You know, this is why senior administration officials never travel together.

Quote from Jay

Manny: And sorry if I'm distracted. It's cut day at CalArts. Half of the class isn't being asked back.
Gloria: Manny, my mother's intuition tells me that you have nothing to worry about.
Manny: It's just so cruel. I'm halfway to a playwriting degree and a minor in mask-making and they're just gonna throw me out on the street with no way to support myself?
Jay: As a wise man will say in about two hours, "Be grateful for the rocks life rolls in your path, for one day, you'll see them as stepping stones." I had that in my "maybe" pile. Trust yourself, Jay.

Quote from Jay

Cameron: "Jay Pritchett, Owl Killer"?!
What the hell is this?
[aside to camera:]
Jay: The year was 1972. I landed a whale. Every closet on a Carnival Cruise ship. To make the numbers work, I needed a lot of cedar fast and cheap. I ended up cutting down a forest that happened to be the last habitat of the Golden Speckled Owl. You know, nobody talks about all the mice I saved. Nope! Just the owls.

Quote from Jay

Jay: Hey, hey, hey, I was humiliated much worse than you. It was so unfair. A lifetime of service out the window. You think I don't see the faces of owls every night I close my eyes?
Joe: At least you've accomplished something they can tear down. I'm a fraud!
Gloria: You see what you did to your brother? Look at those sad, hurt eyes.
Jay: Like a sad little owl.

Quote from Alex

Alex: If mathematics doesn't matter, then no one can be certain of anything, and I've just wasted the last four... no, sixteen years of my life, and there's no point in me graduating!
Claire: Okay, I can tell that you're very upset, and you're probably really overtired from finals. But you are gonna regret it if you don't go to graduation. Look, I promise, whatever is bothering you, figure it out after the ceremony...
Alex: After?!
Claire: Yes.
Alex: "After" implies "before"! But if one minute ago is the same as zero minutes ago, then before is now and now is after!
Haley: Usually when I hear people talking like this, we're walking through a Taco Bell drive-through.

Quote from Cameron

Mitchell: We should probably, uh, hit the road soon. High school graduation's in an hour.
Cameron: [groans] It's so humiliating being the Vice Principal at these things. It's just a ceremonial position where you have to sit behind Principal Brown, politely clapping while he gets to set the course of history.

Quote from Mitchell

Mitchell: Well, it could be fun with my dad giving the commencement address, though. I got a peek at his note cards, and I don't want to give anything away, but the young kid who boarded the bus with the hair full of Brylcreem and a cardboard suitcase full of dreams, it was him.

Quote from Mitchell

Mitchell: Your glee at another man's misfortune should trouble me, but there's also something sort of sexy about it.
Cameron: Well, power is an aphrodisiac.
Mitchell: Oh. Maybe later you could be the principal and I could be the student who's a few credits short. A bad, bad boy who needs to be taught right from wrong. 'Cause I grew up in a broken home, where social workers and constant fights about money were just... Okay, well, now I'm just sad.

Quote from Jay

Jay: [clears throat] Can we switch seats? I'm right under a vent. This is not good for my instrument.
Gloria: Oh, so nice that you're taking this speech so seriously. When you did Mitch and Cam's wedding toast, you had your mouth full of cashews.

Quote from Claire

Phil: [aside to camera] As a parent, you don't get a lot of good, clean, guilt-free victories.
Claire: That's why it's hard not to feel pretty damn good about ourselves today.
Phil: Because this afternoon, we are going to watch our daughter Alex graduate.
Claire: With honors!
Phil: From the world-renowned Caltech.
Both: ♪ When the Caltech Beavers face you at sports ♪ ♪ Prepare to relinquish the ba-a-all ♪
Claire: Their best minds weren't focused on the fight song.

Quote from Phil

Claire: Oh, my God. It's Skip Woosnam. Have you seen him since he fired you?
Phil: Once, at a listing. I tried to pretend I was a 3D cutout of myself to avoid talking to him.

Quote from Luke

Phil: But you know what? Today I want to talk to him. I think I'll let ol' Skip know I have a daughter graduating from Caltech.
Claire: No, honey, we are not the kind of parents who make ourselves look good by bragging about our kids.
Phil: Then why did we even have them, Claire? Are we really not gonna crow about it when one of our kids finally does something we can be proud of? I love you both very much.
Luke: I'm comfortable being the hot one.

Quote from Haley

Haley: The twins started kicking the second I picked up booze. [laughs] They're my kids, right?

Quote from Jay

Cameron: Are you all planning some sort of protest? Well, that ain't happening on my watch. Now go take your seats!
Jay: "Owl Hitler"?! What the hell is this picture? I never strangled an owl!

Quote from Luke

Haley: Is it too much for Dylan to let me know where he is? My water could literally break any minute.
Luke: Am I okay sitting here, or am I in a SeaWorld splash zone situation?

Quote from Phil

Phil: Claire, your old high school nemesis Ashley Walls, did she have a daughter?
Claire: Uh, I don't think so. Why?
Phil: Well, that woman over there looks just like Ashley, but it can't be. She looks half your... beauty.

Quote from Claire

Claire: [aside to camera] Ashley Walls. She outdid me at everything. Homecoming Queen, Field Hockey Captain, and the summer before we went away to college, she beat me out for an internship at Pritchett's closets.

Quote from Phil

Ashley: Hi. Ashley Walls-Carnegie.
Phil: Phillip Humphrey Dunphy.

Quote from Jay

Jay: Hey, Phil. You know how you're my go-to guy on stuff?
Phil: Huh. I suppose against all odds, we've become best friends.
Jay: Sure. So, apparently, some of the students are angry that I'm giving the commencement address.
Phil: Why?
Jay: Who knows why their sick minds do anything? Gotta say though, it feels good to be hating hippies again. Anyway, would you mind giving this place a sweep? See if you notice something suspicious.
Jay: Consider it done.

Quote from Phil

Phil: Hey. What do you got there? You kids got something under those robes you want to show me?

Quote from Joe

Gloria: Manny, you passed the cuts, so why aren't you in a better mood?
Manny: [sighs] You bribed my dean to get me past the cut, didn't you?
Gloria: I would never do something like that.
Manny: Oh, bravo! If Lisa Wagner pulled out that performance, maybe she wouldn't be driving back to her parents' house with a trunk full of handmade puppets and a suddenly very uncertain future.
Gloria: I didn't bribe anyone. I don't know why you're talking such crazy things.
Manny: Because I saw you bribe Sensei Ron.
Joe: Wait. You bribed Sensei Ron?! So this is just a lie?! Are there others? Who the hell even am I?!

Quote from Claire

Claire: Wow, it's wild to think where all these kids are gonna end up, right? I mean, there's so many great schools. In fact, our... Oh. Is something wrong?
Ashley: [voice breaking] Our daughter joined ISIS.
Claire: Oh, God!
Ashley: [sobs] The government said she's not an American anymore. There's a van always parked in front of our house.
Claire: Oh, God. I'm so sorry.
Phil: [high-pitched] Did Claire tell you our daughter's a genius?

Quote from Cameron

Cameron: And so, graduates, look to your left and to your right. It's a simple key chain with a tiny cowboy hat charm on it. If you see it, please pass it forward.

Quote from Cameron

Cameron: All right, and now on to our commencement speaker. He is a pillar of the community, an entrepreneur and closeteer, Mr. Jay Pritchett. [applause]
Jay: [clears throat] Commencement. "C" for "courage," "O" for "opportunity," the first "M"... [students hooting]
[aside to camera:]
Cameron: Disaster had struck. But did I panic? No. No one chooses to be a wartime principal. But we're the ones history remembers.

Quote from Cameron

Cameron: All right! Wow! That is a lot of deceased for one year. We should probably have the police check into that.

Quote from Cameron

Cameron: Students, hi! When you hear your name, please proceed to the stage and grab your diploma. Nelly Abrishami, Allison Acosta, Frieda Alafary, Scott "The Skunk" Albanese, Jessica Alenick, Richard Thompson Allen, Lavaria Aminu, Larry Annecone, Darla Arleto, Daniel Dey Aronson...
[aside to camera:]
Cameron: I was gonna make it! And then, I hit the Polish names.
[flashback:]
Cameron: Czeslaw Wlodaryzack-ck-kowsky. Wladyslaw Wlod... nisky?

Quote from Dylan

Dylan: How lucky is that? Me cruising by with an Uber fare right when you called.
Claire: So lucky.
Mitchell: Very lucky.
Dylan: Well, this is you, Gerald. Let's have today be the day you stop playing for your dad and start playing for Gerald.

Quote from Gloria

Manny: Well, maybe if you believed in your sons instead of giving everyone Colombian handshakes.
Gloria: What?! I've never sanded down a man's fingers in front of his family! Oh, you mean the bribes?
Manny: You can't deny it anymore. Look at this photo on my dean's Instagram. He's wearing the same watch you gave Sensei Ron.
Cameron: The superintendent was wearing that same watch. I-I noticed it when he shook my hand at the end of the ceremony and said I was a "horrifying disgrace."
Jay: You bribed him?! Is that how I got my speech?
Gloria: Okay, enough! I'm sure you would have gotten all these things on your own, but the world sometimes is very unfair! And the watches are like an insurance.
Manny: Why do you even have so many?
Gloria: Sometimes I do a little bit of Ambien shopping and I buy too much of one thing. Didn't you all wonder when you got the same fun socks for Christmas?

Quote from Manny

Manny: I suppose where you grew up, bending the rules was just a part of life. It's what you had to do to get by. Why wouldn't you do that to help the people you love?
Gloria: Thank you, Manny.
Manny: You're not welcome. That's not how I feel. I-It's a speech from a play I was in. Right after that line, I light up a cigarette and put my clothes back on. Yeah, I'm good, but... now I'll never know if that's why I made the cut.

Quote from Phil

Phil: Sweetie, half your life is having your mind blown. I remember when I heard there were more stars in the galaxy than grains of rice in a box of Uncle Ben's.
Alex: No, there are more galaxies than grains of sand on all the world's beaches.
Phil: [hyperventilating]

Quote from Jay

Jay: I got this! Alex, "I never knew true strength until..." "I met a man with no feet." Wait. No. These cards are not in order. Wait. Nobody help her right now.

Quote from Gloria

Gloria: Alex, you're a smart, confident girl. I know that you're gonna make the right decision.
Alex: Did you just put this watch on me?
Gloria: I have a problem.

Quote from Luke

Luke: I say if Alex doesn't want to go to her graduation, that's her decision.
Alex: Thank you, Luke.
Luke: As long as you know that whatever's going on here isn't about math.
Haley: Yeah, I think maybe you're afraid to leave school.
Alex: What?
Haley: Your whole life, you've always known exactly what you're supposed to do... study, get good grades, repeat. Now that's over, and it's scary. Kind of like if zero equaled 1.
Luke: But lucky for you, your dummy brother and sister have spent time in the real world. And if we can handle it, you're gonna do just fine.

Quote from Jay

Jay: I still can't get over that commencement speech. Not a single laugh. I'll tell you one element he didn't discover, hilarium.


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