With a history of giving bad gifts, Claire is determined to surprise Phil with an amazing anniversary present: a private performance by one of their favorite musicians, Izzy LaFontaine (Edward Norton). However, it turns out to be unexpected in more ways than one. Meanwhile, Mitchell and Cameron call up their "party-girl bestie", Sal (Elizabeth Banks), for a long overdue night out on the town.
The Dunphy kids are in trouble again, but this time Claire and Phil are threatening to take Christmas away. Gloria and Manny want to incorporate some of their Colombian practices into Jay's holiday traditions, but he wants to keep it his way. Meanwhile Cameron and Mitchell take Lily to the mall for her first picture with Santa, however this Santa isn't very jolly.
Jay and Mitchell go on their traditional father-and-son outing to see the meteor showers, but Mitchell is upset when he finds out that Manny will be joining them. Cameron and Gloria spend some quality time together, with some minor incidents, while Phil and Claire both take on one of their child's school projects.
iPad release day falls on Phil's birthday, giving Claire an opportunity to finally score an ideal gift for her technophile husband. Manny and Gloria humor Jay—a sore loser at board games—by suppressing their superior chess skills. Mitchell questions his ability to protect his family, while crossed baby monitor signals compel Cameron to secretly intervene in the love life of a neighboring couple.
Claire is caught off guard when Phil's father shows up in an RV with a little four legged friend, and she becomes suspicious that he might be hiding a larger reason for the visit. Meanwhile, when Cameron hears Dylan is down a drummer in his band, he enthusiastically offers to fill in, and Jay and Gloria have to pay the consequences of accidentally taking Manny to see a traumatizing horror movie.
Claire makes an effort to take a new family portrait, but everybody is too busy to cooperate: Gloria and Manny go with Phil and Alex to a Lakers game and share an awkward moment on the jumbotron, Cameron gets a job as a wedding singer while Mitchell takes care of Lilly and a stray pigeon, and Luke interviews Jay for a school project.
The kids get a surprise of their own when they take breakfast in bed to Phil and Claire on their anniversary. Jay and Gloria's Vegas vacation plans are ruined by a brutally honest email accidentally sent to Claire,. Mitchell and Cam try to get into a new restaurant owned by a mom at Lily's preschool.
With the whole family gathered at Jay's before going to Alex's middle school graduation, Jay is hiding a botox mishap, Cameron is upset about Mitchell's habit of laughing at his expense, and Phil tries sympathetic and critical of Claire's worries over the kids growing up too fast that they might miss Alex's big moment.
Phil contemplates the worst after missing a call from the doctor. Javier, Manny’s biological father, pays another visit to take his son to the horse races, Mitchell wins an environmental law award, creating a competition between Cam and himself on who has the better trophy. Gloria tutors Haley in Spanish.
Gloria and Jay bicker while trying to order lunch at a diner. Claire and Cam have different theories on how to discipline kids. Luke accepts an award under false pretenses. Phil has a hard time firing Mitchell from his temporary job at the real estate agency. The entire family participates in Alex’s living art display of Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving painting.
Everyone flies down to Florida to be with Phil after his mom’s passing. Claire helps Phil with Gracie’s last wish for Frank, and the kids reflect on the gifts grandma left for them. Gloria has to contend with an outstanding arrest warrant in Florida, Cam finds himself fitting right into an elderly women’s group at Frank’s retirement community, and Jay runs into a pivotal person from his past.
Phil is selling the house next door and he and Claire are excited by the prospect of having wonderful new neighbors, but that quickly turns into panic when a loud and obnoxious couple come to look at the house. Jay forbids Manny to see his new girlfriend when he realizes she’s the granddaughter of his biggest business rival. Mitch and Cam are determined to switch Lily out of Mrs. Plank’s class since she is known to rule with an iron fist – and she also scares them.
Phil and Claire don’t know if they should be happy or concerned that Haley and Andy are spending a lot of time together, however, they soon find things are not what they appear. Gloria is pushing Manny to learn Spanish instead of French so she goes ahead and hires a Spanish tutor, Diego, who also happens to be very handsome, much to Manny and Jay’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Mitch and Cam meet a popular news reporter at a school function and one of them piques her journalistic interest.
Phil is cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year with Luke as his sous chef, and Claire has no confidence in them and prepares a secret turkey of her own as backup. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria had plans to spend the holiday away but when the trip gets canceled last minute, they decide not to tell anyone which quickly becomes the worst idea ever since the family dinner gets suddenly moved to their house and it turns into a mad scramble to cover their tracks. Mitch is tired of always being the bad cop so when Lily refuses to wear a nice dress to dinner, he forces Cameron to deal with it who then comes up with a very unconventional approach.
When Alex tells Phil and Claire she has a boyfriend, they worry they’ve put too much pressure on her and has made up an imaginary boyfriend. Jay and Gloria both have parties that they are dragging the other to and Jay has a clever plan to get himself out of it, but Manny just might spoil everything. Mitch and Cam just got a beautiful white couch delivered but when Mitch is stuck helping out Brenda, a distressed co-worker, and allows her to stay – it is a mishap waiting to happen.
Haley is turning twenty-one and the whole family is taking her to a bar to celebrate! Claire really wants Haley to start seeing her as a friend rather than her uptight mom, Mitch and Cam make the sad realization that they may not be as cool as they thought, and Phil and Jay’s quick pit stop to pick up Haley’s gift, a new car, becomes a disaster. Back at home, Alex, Luke and Manny babysit Lily and she decides to drop the ‘where do babies come from?’ bomb.
While driving out to get breakfast, the Dunphys plus Manny have a near death experience causing everyone to reevaluate their lives. Claire resolves to be more fun and less uptight, Haley and Alex agree not to fight anymore, Manny refuses to ever ride in a car again, Luke wants to check off his bucket list, Phil decides to be a take action type of guy, and the rest of the family has to bear the brunt of all the new attitudes.
Claire is furious about neighbors Ronnie and Amber’s eye-sore of a boat on their front lawn and it soon becomes an all-out war when Phil calls in the “big guns” as back up – his dad Frank and all his retired friends to give them a taste of their own medicine. Elsewhere, Jay is trying to potty train Joe but Gloria does not think he’s ready yet, and Cam secretly takes Lily to clown school behind Mitchell’s back.
Phil starts to feel the teenage cold shoulder from Luke and, with Andy hanging around a lot as his apprentice, he easily steps in as his new right hand man. Gloria and the doctors suspect that Joe might be allergic to Stella. Mitchell does some freelance legal work at Jay’s closet company and working with Claire becomes a very enlightening experience for the both of them.
Valentine’s Day means ’Juliana’ and ’Clive’ are back, but things get worrisome when Claire starts sensing Phil may be more into Juliana than her. Jay goes from feeling disappointed to scared when Gloria’s visiting sister becomes a larger deterrence for a romantic evening with Gloria than he thought. Mitchell and Cameron get themselves in a precarious situation with a good friend.
After a long reunion weekend with Phil’s old cheer buddies, Claire jumps at the chance to snag the only first class seat left on the return flight home, leaving Phil in coach. Gloria forces Jay to teach Manny how to defend himself against a bully in his cooking class, but when things backfire it seems that the real bully might be someone else. Mitch, Cameron, Pepper and the whole gang throw Sal a belated baby shower.
Claire’s computer becomes the hub of all the family’s activities when she gets stuck at the airport and is desperate to reach Haley after a big fight. After FaceTiming with Phil and the rest of the family to help track her down, Claire quickly turns to online snooping which inevitably becomes disturbing real quick and everyone gets sucked into the online drama.
Spring break has Claire doing some spring cleaning, while Phil struggles with not being a spring chicken when Luke starts outperforming him at seemingly everything. Haley takes Alex to a music festival to take her mind off of colleges, and Gloria and Jay challenge one another to give up Spanish soap operas and cigars respectively. However, when Gloria accompanies Cameron to his faculty talent show, she projects the soapy drama she craves onto Cam’s rivalry with Senor Kaplan, and Jay tags along with Mitchell to pick up Lily from camp so he can sneak a smoke.
Jay’s birthday brings everyone together and Phil is beside himself over the super cool gift he got Jay, a high-tech outdoor grill. Claire and Mitch decide they will “offer” to pay back the money Jay loaned them ages ago as their gift not really thinking he will take them up on it, and Gloria teaches Manny and Luke a lesson about drinking, while Andy gets real awkward with Haley when she brings over her new doctor boyfriend.
Phil and Jay run an errand together to pick up Lily’s hand me down princess castle for Joe, both though are in a mood because Phil is upset that Claire won’t let him buy an arcade machine, and Jay thinks Gloria is letting Joe play with too many girlie items. Mitch and Cam babysit Joe and both get the itch for another baby – that is until Joe presents to be quite the handful! Meanwhile, Gloria tries to help Haley stand up for herself at work, and Claire tries to bribe Luke’s principal to give him one of the student awards this year.
Alex’s worst nightmare is realized when she gets news that she has to share the Valedictorian title with her number one competitor, Sanjay! Both sets of parents get equally caught up in the rivalry and convince Principal Brown to let them break the tie via a gym grade they both have not completed – a one mile run. Elsewhere, Gloria is studying for her upcoming U.S. citizenship test and a visit from Javier throws her off her game, and Mitch and Cam blindly agree to join a protest against a local restaurant that they are actually secretly excited about.
The family is determined to make Alex celebrate her senior ditch day and Phil, Luke and Haley forcefully take her out but end up at an unexpected detour. Claire is torn when she gets a job offer from a big hotel chain but feeling torn quickly gets replaced with feelings of confusion when she can’t tell whether or not Jay really cares if she stays or goes. And with Manny groggy off of pain killers from his wisdom teeth procedure, Gloria seizes the moment to put a sabotage plan into effect to break Manny and his new girlfriend up.
The whole family is at Jay & Gloria’s for Alex’s graduation party, except for Phil, who ingeniously figured out a way to be there via skype and a robotic vessel after being unexpectedly detained in Seattle on a business trip. During the celebration, Jay frets about Gloria’s cousin who has overstayed his welcome, Claire stresses out about giving Alex the perfect gift, Mitch hides news of being laid off from Cam and Andy’s girlfriend, Beth, is in town stirring up a whole lot tension with Haley which finally leads to a realization that may have come too late
Claire and the kids seize an opportunity to help expedite the ducks leaving the nest while Phil is off visiting Alex at college. Jay helps Mitch with Lily’s sleepover with her friends from her Vietnamese dance troupe. Gloria and Cam are off on a hot pepper heist carefully orchestrated by Manny in order to meet a big hot sauce delivery deadline.
A powerful storm hits Los Angeles and causes widespread power outages, so the entire Pritchett clan hunkers down at Jay and Gloria’s house to use their generator. Meanwhile, Phil tries to make amends for an embarrassing moment, Mitchell and Cameron desperately try to save Lily’s birthday party, and Haley turns on her charm for Andy.
Phil has a new client whom he tries to hide from his wife because she’s attractive, while Claire would rather keep her hot yoga instructor a secret. Jay becomes preoccupied making a Web show, but is tormented by an Internet troll. Lily is nervous about learning to ride a bicycle, and her parents aren’t exactly the best teachers.
Phil has the crazy idea of going on a spontaneous trip to Paris with Claire, the only problem is that they are both so ridiculously tired but try to push through it. Jay has taken over their bathroom remodel, which proves to be pretty hazardous for Gloria, Manny and Joe. Cameron’s sister Pam is staying at the house after her husband has left her, but her emotional outbursts are driving Mitchell crazy. Haley and Andy go on a wild night bender.
Claire brings home a stray dog and gets the kids to help her hide it from Phil while she tries to find its owner. Unfortunately, her evasive behavior only makes Phil try even harder to shower her with more attention. Elsewhere, Gloria invites a new couple over even after Jay has made it clear he doesn’t want to make any new friends, but when the husband turns out to be a real guy’s guy, Jay might be eating crow. And Cameron rents out their upstairs apartment to a Christian rock band.
With Closet-Con right around the corner, Claire is on high alert and convinced there is a mole in the company. Meanwhile, Phil goes vigilante when he and Gloria confront Auntie Alice for stealing her hot sauce recipe. Jay tries to teach Joe how to do some manly handy work, and with prom coming up, Mitch helps Luke with his "promposal" while Cam helps with Manny's, but Cam goes a little overboard, revealing that there maybe something deeper going on.
Dede is getting remarried, and Manny convinces the family to take the train up to the wedding. Jay could not be more ecstatic that Dede has moved on for good but his overenthusiasm might come back and bite him later. Claire and Mitchell work on their toast while Phil and Cam geek out over their favorite author, who is also on the train. Luke and Manny go a little girl crazy, Gloria gets stuck in coach, and Alex gets caught up in the romance of the train herself.
Claire can’t seem to find the right time to fire one of her employees, while, back at home, Phil thinks he caught Luke with a girl in his bed, and no one seems to notice that Alex has moved back home for the summer. Jay refuses to accept that it might be harder to reenter the workforce than he thought, and Cameron and Mitch butt heads on how to share time with Lily now that Cameron took a summer job in Kansas City.
A new family moves in across the street from the Pritchetts and Jay wants to make a good impression. Manny hopes his deeds will catch the attention of a pretty teenage radical. The Dunphys try to look on the bright side of Alex’s bout with mono. Mitch and Cam are shocked to overhear Lily disrespect a new friend.
Phil can’t cover up his excitement when he’s invited to appear in a real-estate news segment for the local news. The day gets even better after meeting his “weatherman” hero, Rainer Shine. Phil made one little mistake; he introduced him to Hayley. Over at the Pritchett house, Jay decides to infuse a little grit into Manny’s video interview for his college application. In the Tucker-Pritchett home, Lily is over their new houseguest and decides to take matters into her own hands.
Luke hosts a Halloween party that quickly turns into a nightmare, so the Dunphys come up with a plan to make it a success and rescue his reputation. Cam confronts his holiday nemesis, but Mitch and Lily try to keep him from going overboard. Jay plots revenge on an old adversary when he finds out where Manny is going to a party.
Hayley’s plan for a fun-filled girl’s day with Rainer Shine’s teen daughter may be a little more angst-filled than expected. Luke finds himself in a compromising position with a widow at the club and unwittingly helps Jay with his petition. Gloria, Phil and Cam have formed a secret alliance to ensure their respective “mistakes” are concealed from their spouses.
A fancy holiday gala at school finds Manny and Luke trying to avoid a disastrous outcome thanks to a texting mistake. Eager to pitch in, Claire, Gloria, Mitchell and Cameron volunteer to help at the dance and get involved in the night’s shenanigans, including Claire and Gloria trying to set up a single mom with the principal, while Mitchell takes an interest in the school bully.
Trying to recover from his Thanksgiving debacle, Cam decides to treat the family to a New Year’s Day feast. After realizing that Cam’s recent attempt is also a complete fail and in order to salvage their meal, Mitch uses a “concierge gift card” that he received as a Christmas gift. Cam soon discovers that the concierge who is on his way to save the day is none other than his ex-boyfriend, Keift, a former circus ringmaster who left him without saying goodbye. Meanwhile, Phil’s dad, Frank arrives with his new girlfriend, who happens to be Phil’s childhood babysitter, which sets him on a confusing tailspin. Finally, Gloria and Jay have to decide who should take care of little Joe if something should ever happen to them.
Fearful that the romance between him and Claire is fizzling, Phil calls upon his alter ego, Clive Bixby, get Valentines day back on track. Jay shows a bit of child favoritism when he and Gloria must deal with Joe’s inappropriate Valentine gift-giving and Manny’s dating indecisiveness. When Cam and Mitch try to empower Lily, Haley and Sal to stand up to the men in their lives, things don’t turn out as planned and go overboard. Alex discovers she has a secret admirer who may be a little too involved with family.
Phil eyes a property he’s always had a desire to develop and wants Jay to be a coinvestor. Claire’s fondness for a TV chef leads to a new love of cooking Sunday dinners. Mitch and Cam try to teach Lily the value of hard work. Jay feels left out when Gloria hires a coach for Joe who doubles as a handyman.
Despite their lofty hopes, Phil and Jay’s property investment might turn out to be a bust, forcing Phil to rethink his original dream. Meanwhile, Cam lands in the hospital due to a head injury and refuses to have an MRI thanks to a traumatic incident with a well when he was a child. Determined to finally impress Claire and keep her from re-gifting her birthday present, Gloria surprises her with a day of luxury at the office. However, after Claire had to implement some rather harsh budget cuts at work, a massage at her desk may not be sending the right message.
Cam is enraged when he receives an online video showing someone has been desecrating his beloved Fizbo costume, which sets him on a quest to restore Fizbo’s good name. Phil is in for quite the surprise when he finally meets his new soon-to-be step-brother at Frank’s bachelor party. Manny’s newest play hits a little too close to home for Gloria, Claire, and Haley when he enlists them to do a read through before he submits it to a young playwright festival.
After choking at last year’s charity basketball game, Phil has been training all year to redeem himself. However, when NBA stars Charles Barkley and DeAndre Jordan attend the game and start making bets, Phil tries to not buckle under the pressure. Gloria has to step-up at Manny’s school when her nemesis, Donna Duncan, tries to shame her for her lack of support at the school. Claire does whatever it takes to keep a work mistake secret from Jay, while Jay’s concerned that Joe doesn’t have a healthy fear of him at all.
Mitch and Cam have five minutes to catch a new flight while fighting the effects of sleeping pills they took prematurely. Then at Rainer’s birthday dinner, Haley and Rainer are forced to reevaluate their entire relationship in the five minutes before the birthday cake arrives. Phil and Claire pay a surprise visit to Alex and are given a five-minute surprise introduction to her new boyfriend. With only five minutes to catch a movie, Manny has to find the perfect parking space and endure Jay and Gloria’s backseat argument.
Frank Dunphy’s wedding has a Roaring ’20s theme, so Phil gets his clan to show up in costume, but Claire and the kids realize it’s time for an intervention with Phil when they’re the only ones who dressed up. Jay comes to regret mastering the art of saying “no”. Cam finally gets the courage to stand up to his sister Pam.
Gloria, Claire, Haley, Alex, Lily, Luke and Manny are equally committed to showing their support for gender equality and the women’s movement in very different ways. Meanwhile, Jay and Phil are at odds on how their parking lot attendant, Joan, should be running their lot, and jealousy ensues when Pam prefers Mitchell’s help over Cam’s with her baby.
Jay forces the family to take their family vacation on a houseboat on a lake. Mitchell runs into an old flame and opens some old wounds. Cam has to stay out of the sun at all costs. Phil and Claire try out some adventureous excursions. The kids’ quest for a good time may not be as fun as they expected.
During Jay’s Thanksgiving toast, he honors the entire family on their recent successes, even though everyone knows that isn’t quite true. As everyone desperately tries to hide the facts about their perceived triumphs, Phil works hard to master a classic magic trick and prove he’s not the family failure.
When Haley hears that her loopy boss is looking for a product with the magical properties of peppers, she tries to gain favor by convincing Gloria to sell her salsa to NERP. Mitchell gets Cam the police ride-along he’s always dreamed of. Also, Phil and Claire compete against one another while Luke has a meeting with a dean of university.
Haley meets Arvin’s parents but when things don’t go as planned, fate leads to an unexpected reunion with all of her ex-boyfriends. Meanwhile, the family seizes on a nursing home visit with Jay’s mean sister, Becky, to settle old scores. But as Jay, Claire and Mitchell compete for her time, Phil, Cam and Gloria end up getting trapped in the home’s basement with no way out.
Mitchell sneaks out to “Hero-Con” with fanboy Phil, dressed as their favorite characters from the show “Clash of Swords.” It’s great until Phil commits the ultimate fan faux pas. In a clash of another kind, Gloria’s dinosaur party for Joe is ruined when her nemesis, Dr. Donna Duncan, upstages her with a far bigger and better party right next door.
Phil stumbles into an exciting new career after dropping by Luke’s college. Claire deals with her dad, Jay, and the merger of Pritchett’s Closets with a tech-savvy, hipper company. Mitch’s new high-profile case as an assistant district attorney is marred by an unflattering courtroom sketch by the resident artist.