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Modern Family recap: Clean Out Your Junk Drawer

The adults in the family attend an unconventional therapy session. What could go wrong?

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ABC/Michael Ansell

Modern Family

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
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Does Jay have a soft side? Can Claire and Mitch not be neurotic? Will Cam ever turn off the lights when he leaves a room? And most importantly, according to this therapy session, is it at all possible for anyone in the Dunphy-Pritchett clan to actually clean out the junk from their metaphorical drawers?

All of these questions — plus a few other, less pressing, ones — are answered in a strange, thoroughly uncomfortable seminar full of exposed secrets like a slumber party gone wrong. The session, held by Clean Out Your Junk Drawer author Dr. Deborah Radcliffe (guest star Catherine O’Hara — I’m sure you’ve seen her before), acts as an excuse for everyone gathered in the room (Gloria made them go, saying she bid on Dr. Radcliffe at a school auction) to reveal all their secrets about what they dislike about each other. Obviously, everyone ends up saying too much.

So, just like the seminar, let’s break this down by couple, shall we? Then we can really make this a competition. (You can thank me later, Claire.)

Phil and Claire

Claire, of course, considers group therapy a competition, while Phil misunderstands Dr. Radcliffe’s instructions right off the bat. When she asks them to participate in an exercise called “Tiger Rockstar Bunny,” he immediately lists which he would marry, which he would kill, and…yeah, you know the rest.

The pair’s biggest challenge comes when they’re required to write down what they’re annoyed about in their relationship. When Mitch goads Phil into talking about how he dislikes “Me likey,” Claire’s go-to phrase for approval, Claire retaliates by trying to prove that she’s relaxed enough to have a go-to joke about, uhh, tents. (We get it, Claire, it’s “tents,” not “tense”!) Eventually, she blames the lukewarm reaction to her joke on Jay, which prompts Jay to go on a rant and, in Claire’s eyes, win therapy. But before we get to that rousing monologue, I first want to highlight Phil’s cryface from the end of the episode, just because:

Mitch and Cam

These two also thought they had the right approach to group therapy, agreeing to lay as low as possible, considering the presence of both Mitch’s father and sister. Instead, they focus on participating in the activities, which leads Cam to volunteer the pair for Dr. Radcliffe’s face-to-face exercise, in which the two of them must acknowledge each other’s gripes. 

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The complaints start off small, but things quickly go from passive-aggressive — Mitch says Cam wearing blue bothers him because the color no longer looks as good on Mitch — to just plain aggressive: Mitch accuses Cam of never turning out the lights, but Cam says Mitch never uses enough coasters to protect their furniture. Eventually, their bickering leads to an even more heated argument down the line, during which Mitch accidentally utters the fact that the two of them, uh, haven’t played with each other’s pogo sticks in a month. (Unlike the real pogo stick Claire and Phil hop around on in the neighborhood. Yeah, those two are weird.) 

Mitch, mortified, ends up hiding in the curtains to give us this shot summing up how the session went:

NEXT: Unexpectedly, no one gets as far as Jay in expressing how they feel…