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"Clean Out Your Junk Drawer" is the eighth episode from Season 7 of Modern Family, it aired on December 2, 2015.

Plot Summary

Gloria won a bid at the school auction for a family seminar with famed doctor and author Debra Radcliffe, whose self-help book 'Clean Out Your Junk Drawer' encourages people get out all their emotional junk to become healthier people and in turn better partners and spouses. Jay is resistant to the whole experience and can't get away fast enough; Mitch and Cam decide to keep it very surface level so they can come off as super stable; and Phil and Claire also make it competitive and strive to be the best and strongest couple of the group. Things quickly escalate, though, as junk starts flying. Elsewhere, Haley and Alex meet up and counsel each other on their boy problems.

Episode Description

We open with Debra Radcliffe, the author of Clean Out Your Junk Drawer welcoming everyone and introducing herself to the parents; Mitch and Cam, Claire and Phil, Jay and Gloria. It's evident that we are in the household of the Dunphys. Everyone is all very excited and anxious to begin the treatment, Debra says "Welcome, everyone. I'm Dr. Debra Radcliffe. And today I'm going to help you clean out your junk drawer. Of course, I'm talking about an emotional junk drawer where we store all the pain, fear, anger that shapes us. Who would like to share why they're here?" Jay starts first and says "This one didn't have her glasses at the high-school auction. Thought she was bidding on a home organizer.", Gloria then says "And what a lucky mistake. In Colombia, we never get to do things like this. The only time that I ever went to a seminar was how to escape the trunk of a car when your hands are tied behind your back." Debra then ignore what she said and tell everyone to get on their feet, Claire and Mitchell are startled by this and Claire says "You know, I-I sort of thought this was a 'sit here and listen' kind of a thing", Mitchell then agrees with her, Phil interrupts Claire by saying "Or as I call it: Marriage, where's my husbands at?", Phil puts his hand up for a high five from Jay and Jay ignores it. Debra then says "It's good to laugh at what makes us most uncomfortable. But the next three hours will require active participation. Let's clear a little space for ourselves." Jay whispers to Gloria "You said this was a 45-minute talk." Gloria tells him "So what? I was wrong, what, is there a place that you'd rather be than connecting with your family?" Jay tells her "You're really asking this question on football Sunday? All these men here gave up their football today." Jay turns to Mitchell and says "Thank you, Mitchell for your sacrifice." Mitchell then says "Hey, you know what? I'm missing a farmer's market to be here, so yeah I- Yeah, I just made it gayer." Debra tells them both "It's perfectly normal- to resist opening your emotional junk drawer.", "I address that in Chapter One - 'Hey! Get a Handle On It!'. Why don't we start with a fun activity to loosen everyone up?" Jay then tells her "I don't care how loose we get, I'm not spilling my guts to some table lamp pretending it's my mother." Debra then tells him she isn't asking him to and that kind of silliness gives therapy a bad name. She then states that they're going to play a game called 'Tiger, Rockstar, Bunny' Phil then says "I got this. (clears throat) Marry the Tiger, Kill the Bunny-" he gets cut off by Debra telling him "That not my game".

She then explains her game "When I call out tiger, you will (Growls) become a ferocious tiger. (Claire and Mitchell give each other looks) When I call out rock star, you will be (British accent) A major rocker. And when I call out bunny, you will be-" She then gets cut off by Jay who says "-halfway home, goodbye". Gloria tells him "Oh, yeah, go ahead, but don't forget that we don't have a prenup." Jay looks at Gloria for a second and then gets back into the situation. Debra says "Let's get started." and shouts out "TIGER!" and everyone becomes a ferocious tiger. Mitchell says "I feel ridiculous", "I might need booze for this" Claire then says "Oh! Me likey that idea" she then whispers to him "We are not cut out for this", Cameron then tells Mitch and Claire "You can't compare yourself to me. I was in 'Cats'.", Mitchell tells him that no one is comparing themselves to him. Debra then calls out "ROCKSTAR!". Everyone strums a guitar, but Mitchell holds a pretend microphone to his mouth and starts singing in a rockstar way. Debra says "Looking good, Phil", Phil says "I won an air guitar contest in high school", Jay then tells him "I bet that got you a lot of air girlfriends" Gloria tells Jay "Come on, Jay loosen up, it's fun" Mitchell changes from Microphone to flute. Claire then asks Jay "Oh! What the hell is that Dad?" Jay says " I'm playing an accordion." Claire tells him "You're supposed to be a rock star I think you should do, like, a guitar or something" Jay tells her he only knows how to play an accordion and tells her to pick on Mitchell as he's playing the flute and then says "At least I think he is".


We are with the two female Dunphy children, Haley and Alex. Alex asks her sister "So, why did they need you out of the house?" Haley tells her that "They said it was some sort of therapy, but part of me thinks it's an intervention for Mom.", "So, how's school?" Alex tells her that "Well, in my Newtonian mechanics class, we're learning how to calculate the velocity of free falling objects in a- (Haley gives her a confusing look as she doesn't understand and Alex takes it in and realises she's talking to her sister the second dumbest in the family) School's hard." Haley carries on "So, anyways, um I sort of did something and I need your advice- but I don't want a lot of judgment and criticism." Alex then says "And you came to me?", Haley tells her that she has always had such a strong sense of what's right and wrong and she always knows- Alex cuts her off telling her "I have a high-school boy toy." Haley is surprised by this and asks who, Alex tells her it's their brother's dorky friend, Reuben. Haley gives her sister a disgusted and disappointed look which makes Alex say "I feel so ashamed." Haley tells her "Oh, my god. You should be! Isn't he, like, 8?", Alex tells her "No, he's 16 and 3/4, and he has to shave almost every two weeks." Haley asks her how she let it happen as she goes to CalTech and she is supposed to be surrounded by age appropriate dorks. Alex tells her sister "I know, but, I was home and still feeling sad about Sanjay breaking up with me, and it's overwhelming here, there are so many brilliant people and... Reuben idolises me I guess I just kinda needed that so I let him kiss me and... a little bit of this (she makes a gesture implying he touched her boobs)." She then gets disgusted with herself and says she's so weak and she can't imagine anything worse. Haley then tells her that she hooked up with Andy, Alex asks if it's the 'engaged Andy' or another one. Haley tells her sister "I know, we were all alone in this house that Dad had set up to be sexy", Alex gets the wrong idea and asks her "Dad made it sexy for you!?!" Haley is quick to correct her saying that he made it sexy for the buyer and he didn't know that her and Dylan were going to be there. Haley carries on saying "Andy and I were alone and then suddenly... BAM!", Alex asks "BAM!?, BAM! as in sex or BAM! as in what Reuben shouted when he unhooked my bra?", Haley asks her sister to "just leave it at BAM". Alex then says "Look at us! I don't even know what to feel right now". We hear Debra saying "Shame, guilt..." while still on Alex and Haley, implying that's what they should feel.

We come back to Debra Radcliffe who is still with the parents we see her then finish the sentence "...fear, these are just some of the things we shoved in the back of our junk drawers when we were young", "This exercise comes from 'Chapter 3: Scary Dreams, Expired Creams'" Cameron says "Oh, I have both of those", Debra carries on "This may seem unconventional, but, it helps access painful memories" the sound of Debra's voice gets drowned out although we hear that she is still talking semi-clearly. We come to Phil & Claire, Phil tells Claire "This is nice" and Claire tells him it's not, saying it's weird, Phil says "You're so tense today, my little baby. What are you worried about?" Claire tells him she's worried about looking like idiots, Phil assures her saying that they are superstars in this game, he tells her that they're "Married the longest, three happy children, one with a bright future.", Claire then realises and says that he is right, they're "gonna win this thing", but Phil tells her it's not a competition and she tell him he's right but isn't hearing him and says "Exactly. We have this in the bag. Mitchell and Cam fall apart if they've got to pick a restaurant, and all Gloria ever does is yell at my dad." We see Gloria and Jay, Gloria shushes Jay and we come back to Phil who says "Yeah, I'd really hate to be your dad right now". We come back to Jay and Gloria, Gloria says "Now, tell me everything that you're thinking", Jay tells her "I'm thinking about all that other stuff we could've bid on at that auction instead of this nonsense. Lunch with Larry King. A ride along in a cop car. I heard they let you tase someone." Gloria tells Jay that the cleaning out their junk drawers' session is important as Dr. Debra told Gloria it would be good for them. She then tells him to close his eyes as she doesn't like him looking up at her neck like he is and tells him she took a selfie and thought she was facetiming with her grandmother. We come to Cam and Mitch, Cameron says in baby talk "I wemember my mom went into the store and left me all alone in the back of a twuck.", Mitchell gets annoyed with the way he's talking and says "Okay, do you have to do the baby talk?" Cameron tells him that he couldn't pronounce his "r's" when he was younger and the other children made fun of him. He then states "It was very twaumatic. Mom? Mommy? Where are you!?". Mitchell then says that he's starting to lose feeling, Cameron asks if he is squishing his legs. Mitchell tells him he meant in "our relationship". Mitchell then says "All right, we need a game plan here. My dad and sister are here. Let's keep a low profile, light and surfacy.", Cameron then asks "But aren't we wasting a great opportunity to learn more about me?", Mitchell tells Cam that they aren't going to be the sideshow gay couple. He states "Okay, nothing too personal. For god's sake, no bedroom stuff. We're representing a community.", Debra walks over to ask how they're doing. Mitchell says "We're very good, very healthy", Cam interrupts to say "very happy". Debra asks if Cam would like to switch positions. Cam takes in what Mitchell says about "no bedroom stuff" and tells Debra he can't talk about that, not knowing she's talking about seating positions they are in right now. Mitchell gives off a shocked "seriously!?" face expression. Debra walks over to Gloria and Jay and asks how they're doing. Gloria tells Debra that Jay isn't even trying. Debra says "Sounds like you're stuck in that drawer", Jay says "Sounds like you're stuck in that metaphor". Debra asks Jay what's holding him back. Jay says "I don't like to be held like this." Debra asks if he feels vulnerable. Jay says "I don't know. It just reminds me of something." Debra tells him to go with it and talk about it, and then says that he's safe here. Jay says "I don't want to be safe here. I don't want to talk about this." Gloria asks "About what? Tell me.", Jay then says "It's like the time my mom held me like this when my dog ran away and never came back. She kept telling me they didn't know how it got out, but I knew. I left the gate open. It was my fault. I lost Checkers." Jay gets up to leave he hold his heart as he says "I can't take this", we cut to Claire who says "Wait, what -- what just happened!?", Gloria says "I think he's not used to feeling emotions. Maybe it was too much for him.", Debra says "No, no, this is good.", "Some people's junk drawers are so full, it's a struggle to open them.", a worried Mitchell asks "W-was he holding his chest?", Gloria says "Si!", Cameron then states that "something seemed wrong". They all rush over to the door and Gloria says "Jay, are you okay? It's Gloria." Claire then says "Dad! Dad!", Phil rushes to the door and says he has a paperclip and opens the door. We see that Jay is watching sports with headphones in, hearing nothing, shouting "Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!" very quietly.

We come back to the aftermath and we see Gloria sternly say " You prefer to hide in the bathroom than to deal with your emotions!" Jay asks "Gloria, what's the big deal?" Gloria states that "The big deal is that we're raising a child together, and you have a chance to make him different (she points at Mitch and Claire) than those two.". Mitchell says "Hello!?", Claire says "Us? I'm sorry. What's wrong with us?", Gloria states that she'd take a bullet for them but they are kind of neurotic. Mitchell says "We're not neurotic.", Claire asks "Do people say that we're neurotic?", Mitchell asks "They don't say that, do they?", Debra interrupts with "Yes, yes. All the junk wants to come out of the drawer. Can you feel it?", Cameron quietly states that he can. Gloria states that "Jay doesn't feel anything." Jay states that he feels lot of things, "Annoyed that I'm missing my game, Joy that the Steelers are winning", Cameron interrupts with "Oh, what is the score?", Gloria says "No. We're not gonna talk about football here!", Jay says "Gloria's right. We should talk about deeper things like those awkward years between 14 to 6.", Cameron whispers "YES!" subliminly being given the scores of the game. Gloria asks "When do we get to talk about the dumb things that our husbands do?", Debra says "Gloria, thank you. I'm glad you said that.", Gloria says "You're welcome. At least somebody's helping.", Debra then says "Because that kind of language is counterproductive." Jay then makes a gestrure with his fingers, snapping them and saying "Oh, Snap!". Debra then says "This next exercise will teach us how to communicate our needs in a constructive and non-threatening manner." Phil looks at Claire and says "We do that all the time." Claire then says "Very constructively communicated.", they then kiss. Debra then asks "Would one of my couples like to help me demonstrate - for the rest of the group?", Cameron then puts his hand up and says "Yes, we would. We'd love to help.", Mitchell tries to whisper in his ear asking "How's this low profile?", Cameron says "Come on, it'll be fun", Debra then asks Cam to put his chair next to her, Mitchell then does the smae thing, following Cam's lead. They sit down in their chairs as they hold hands. Debra says "Now, I'd like you both to think of a behavior of your partner's that you would like to change. But we're going to avoid phrases like "you always" and "you never", and instead put it in terms of how we feel.", Cam silently confirms he understands and Debra tells Mitchell to start. Mitchell says "Okay. Sometimes, I wish you wouldn't wear blue so much because I feel jealous that you look so good in it.", Debra then says "Now, Cam, let Mitch know if you heard him and if you feel you can do that.", Cam then says "I did hear that." Mitchell interrupts with "Okay." Cam carries on with "And I will try to wear less blue.", Debra claps as she says "Very good. Very good.", "Maybe dig a little deeper in the drawer.", Cam then says "Well, sometimes when you don't use a coaster with a drink, I get anxious because I love our furniture and we bought it together.", Mitchell then says "Aww, that's very sweet, I hear that. And I'm gonna try and use a coaster more.", Debra says "Excellent, both of you", Mitchell goes to get up and Debra says "Mitch!, keep going.", Mitchell looks as if he is feeling a little awkward now. But says "Yeah, so, uh Sometimes when you leave the room and you don't turn off the lights, I just feel-", Cam interrupts him with "Seriously? That again?", Mitchell then says "Surfacy.", Cameron then gets louder but still quiet "Well, I told you not to harp on me about the lights.", Mitchell then says "Oh, because this is the first that I'm hearing about the coasters.", we cut to Claire and Phil, Claire says "Here we go" as she smirks. Mitchells sees her and says "Okay, I don't appreciate the smirking.", Claire then says "I hear you, Mitchell, and I will try to smirk when you're not looking.".

We come back to Haley and Alex. Haley sips coffee and says "I feel like if Andy weren't engaged, we'd have a chance.", Alex then states "And if Reuben were just a little bit older and didn't wear prescription shoes-" Haley interrupts to say "It'd still be gross.", Alex states that she knows. Haley then asks what they're going to do. Alex then says "We should both just end it.", Haley misinterprets this as her talking about suicide. Haley says "I am not killing myself.", Alex is surprised and is quick to dispute it "NO! Break up with them. Oh God. You deserve somebody that isn't engaged to somebody else.", they both nod and Haley says "Yeah and you deserve to be with someone who didn't take baths with Luke". Alex then explains that she already tried to dump him once and she hopes that it'll go better the next time. We then go back to Alex trying to break up with Reuben. Reuben tells Alex "I'm sick of hiding our love. If you're ashamed of me-" Alex says "I am", Reuben finishes "Then maybe we should break up", Alex states that they should, however Reuben is quick to backtrack on his statement and say that he doesn't want to break up, leaving Alex to be polite and get back together as quick as they broke up. We come back to Alex and Haley. Haley says that she is going to text Andy right now and tell him that they need to talk today. She then tells Alex that she should tell Reuben they need to talk too. Alex then says that she can't text him as Reuben lost his phone privilleges until he gets his Spanish grade back up. Alex states that she can just wait around the playground until his kickball practise is done. After Haley finishes texting Andy she reaches out of Alexs' hand and tell her that she is glad that they talked, Alex does the same and says "Me too". Haley says that it should be this way and that's how they are going to stay on track for the rest of their lives, "By always being there for each other.". Haley then asks "He (Reuben) plays kickball?", Alex, ashamed, says "Equipment Manager".

We are back with the Parents and Debra. Debra walks ast Cam and Mitch as she says "Now that we're learning to communicate constructively, let's put those new skills to use.". Debra hands Claire a sheet as she says "Thank you" and carries on "I want everyone to write down everything about your partner that drives you crazy.", Phil asks "Really?". Debra then says "The drawers are open, dig in". Phil then says "Sounds a little marriage-endy, doesn't it?" Claire then says "I mean, it does, but not for us.", Claire then subtly points to her brother and Cam and says "Maybe", indicating that maybe it is for them. Mitchell picks up on this and says "Oh, huh, interesting. Phil, there's nothing that bugs you about Claire?" Phil says "Nope". Mitchell then prompts him asking "Not even 'me likey'?", Claire is quick to ask "What's he talking 'bout?". Cam says "He says you say it a lot and it drives him crazy". Claire then demands "Phil!?". Phil then says "Okay, uh, Claire?" Claire says "Yeah?" Phil states "I love you" before saying anything. Claire then says "I know" Phil carries on "But when you use that expression, it makes me feel, um Icky.". Claire states that she rarely uses the expression and Phil is forced to bring up occassions where it has happened. Phil says "Me likey Sushi, me likey 'Game of Thrones', me likey chardonnay. It does hit my ear wrong. But you know what?... Forget it. I'm sorry. I got nothing to complain about. Me lucky!" Claire looks at Phil and gestures with her pen "Mmm". Debra notices his statement retration and tells him never to apologise for his feelings, Jay then annoyingly points out that Debra previously said that they're not supposed to say the word "never", we quickly see the annoyance on Debra's face, but as a therapist she just says "Good catch, Jay, thankyou". Debra turns to everybody else and says "As the kids say, it's gonna get real up in here. But trust me after that, once I've guided you through the extremely specific steps, in deciding what goes back in the drawer and what gets thrown out you will be the best version of yourselves, it always works", Jay then jumps in with "Don't say always", Debra thanks him, once again, but even more annoyingly. Debra claps and says "Let's get ready", she walks near Claire and Phil, she takes out her phone as she says "Nothing is off limits, these are your private thoughts, and you are entitled to them" she says "excuse me" as she walks away after reading a text or seeing a phone call, whatever it is she tends to it.

We come back to the Parents after Debra walks away and Gloria sneaks a look at what Jay is writing and being the first to break the silence, she asks "You think I'm too loud" in a loud voice, prompting the others to "shh" her with their fingers on their mouths. Gloira starts hitting the paper Jay is writing on, annoyingly to get his attention although it already seems she had everyone's attention by asking the question, whilst doing this she asks "How am I LOUD!?". Jay says "Well, you take intoo much air, and you expell that air with large and sudden bursts, that's how", Gloria then asks "Oh, so, you're saying that I am full of hot air?", Jay then says "No, I'm saying just the opposite: none of the air stays in you". Gloria nods angrily after being annoyed by Jay. We come to Cam and Mitch, Cameron does the same as Gloria and sneaks a look at what Mitch is writing. Cam complains "The Lights, again, now you've written it down?", Mitch says "I'm trying to stick to the small stuff." Cameron says "Well, congratulations, you nailed it, because that's real small". Mitchell says "It. OK. It bothers me alright. I've asked you very nicely to turn off the lights." Cameron then argues "Constantly. It's like we're Londoners hiding from war planes.". We come to Claire and Phil finally. Claire then does the same thing Cam and Gloria did. She asks "Why did you write down 'teepee joke'?", Phil gets defensive telling her "Debra said these are my personal and private thoughts.". Claire then states that she loves the joke and says it's funny, Phil jumps in with "To you". Claire gets up annoyed and tells the joke, after she tells the joke Jay says "That's, bad Claire, that's really bad". Gloria then complains "You made her like that. If you let her feel things, maybe she'll know what is funny.", Claire jumps in with "Don't care what you people think. Me Likey!" Phil groans after she says "Me Likey!". Claire gets angry and says "WHAT is WRONG with 'ME LIKEY!' ?". Phil states "Claire?", Claire affirms and he states that he loves her again and she tells him to stop stating that it just makes her madder knowing other bad things are going to come out of his mouth, telling him that saying "I love you" doesn't soften the blow. Phil then states "It just seems a little childish." Claire then states "Really? 'cause you're the one who can't stop playing with his pogo stick.", Phil then states "You know what? Maybe you'd be happier if you played with my pogo stick once in a while." (this is made to sound dirty at the same time that it is literal). Claire then annoyed and angry sighs frustratedly as she says "Oh, my God!", Mitch then states "What's sad is they're actually talking about a pogo stick", Cameron then states "What's sad is you love electricity more than me" Claire then ignores this and tells Phil "It's like we have a deranged second grader bouncing around the neighborhood.", Phil asks Claire when she got so old, Claire is visibly pissed off and Phil says "I mean, I love you". But Claire has the same but 1% calmer reaction to it. We get to Mitchell and Cameron where Mitchell tells Cam that not turning off the lights has been a pet peeve of his since he was a kid. He then tells him that he's asked him so many times that when Cam ignores him he views him as passive-aggressive.

Main Cast

(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Joe Pritchett
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring


  • Cam mentions that he was in Cats: see "When a Tree Falls".
  • Andy funded a Zach Braff movie on Kickstarter as one of his charitable donations.

Episode Title

Clean Out Your Junk Drawer, during this episode, refers to getting emotional baggage off of your mind, it means coming clean to whoever is in your life. Gloria wins a bid at the school auction for a family seminar with author of 'Clean Out Your Junk Drawer', Debra Radcliffe. Debra helps the parents to get emotional junk off of their mind. While Haley and Alex do the same with eachother and the other halfs in their lives.


  • Luke, Manny and Lily don't appear in this episode.
  • The only children to appear through more than a mention are the Dunphy girls, Haley and Alex as well as Joe who does not have any dialogue.
  • Luke and Manny are only mentioned in this episode. Ruben only appears in flashback scenes.
  • The episode title refers to everyone getting their feelings out and cleaning out their junk drawer. It also refres to the book written by Debra in this episode.
  • This is the second episode after "Connection Lost" where we don't see any interview scenes, but this is the first episode not to have interviews that was not filmed on iPhones.
  • Phil mentions that he won an air guitar contest in High School.
  • Reuben is wearing a Power Rangers Dino Charge backpack.
  • We learn in this episode that Jay had a dog called "Checkers".
  • Andy's 17th's appearance

Cultural References

  • Gloria mentions facetiming when talking about her neck and her grandmother.
  • Phil mentions that Claire says "Me Likely" a lot and says that she says it about Game of Thrones and Sushi.





Clean Out Your Junk Drawer PROMO

"Clean Out Your Junk Drawer" Promo