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.
Phil and Claire realize that Alex may be more self-sufficient in college than they thought. Manny works to avoid a tearful goodbye after Gloria and Jay move him into his dorm. Hayley gets an unexpected opportunity. Meanwhile, Mitch may have accidentally accelerated a planned renovation.
Phil thinks he’s going to have a day of bad luck after he doesn’t complete his daily superstition. Mitch believes Cam is undermining him during their kitchen renovation. Meanwhile, Jay is determined to get Gloria to admit she was in a car accident.
Jay’s best friend, Shorty, is back from Costa Rica but spends more time with Gloria than Jay. Alex is ready to shed her good-girl image and is going to prove to Claire that her relationship with Ben is definitely a sexual one.
Phil and Claire still want to celebrate Halloween in a big way, but no one shares their enthusiasm. Mitch and Cam are frustrated by how long Jay is taking to finish their kitchen remodel. Gloria’s hospitality is wearing thin when Cam oversteps his boundaries as a house guest.
Claire is determined to make up for her less-than-joyful mood at Jay and Gloria’s wedding by throwing their tenth-anniversary party. Phil discovers that he failed to become a magician decades earlier due to a betrayal.
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.
The family recount all their biggest celebrity encounters; Phil shows a house to his musical hero; Jay’s day at jury duty takes an unexpected turn; Manny’s encounter with his favorite playwright doesn’t go as expected.
After leaving his real estate firm to strike out on his own, Phil decides a solo camping trip in the wild will be just what he needs to boost his confidence; Mitchell’s plan to teach Cam and Lily each a lesson backfires. Meanwhile, Gloria is upset over Manny dating his female professor.
When Claire lands a big opportunity for Pritchett’s Closets, Jay expects validation for his contribution. Pam’s ex-boyfriend shows up and Mitchell sees this as an opportunity to get Pam out of the house. Luke and Alex find a business opportunity.
Claire’s request to build a “She Shed” in their backyard is denied by the homeowners association. Pameron lets Cam in on a family secret that forces him to visit Mitch’s therapist to work through this new information. Meanwhile, Jay teaches Joe how to play golf but he and Gloria both push him into becoming too competitive.
Gloria has to rush Phil to the hospital for an emergency surgery after he experiences some intense stomach pains and rallies the entire family to be by his side.
Luke goes missing after a night out in a sketchy neighborhood. Haley is desperate to land an interview with the creator of a popular lifestyle website and interrupts one of Alex's classes to get her help, which upsets Alex's professor.
Phil thinks that Gloria is upset at Jay for dropping the ball on Valentine’s Day, so he convinces Jay to spice things up with a little role playing that doesn’t go off as planned. Mitch and Cam may have unwittingly ruined Luke’s Valentine’s Day date and are forced to make things right.
When Jay overhears Gloria on the phone talking about spanking, he assumes she is frustrated in the bedroom. Now that Mitchell has an amazing new job, he and Cam throw a party to rub it in Cam’s friends’ faces so they can no longer give him “the look of pity.”
The family goes on a wine-tasting trip and stays in Haley’s new boss’ country house where the only rule is: Don’t touch the tiara. Gloria and Mitch are invited to a party at Oprah’s house but can’t bring anyone else.
Haley’s brilliant astrophysicist boyfriend and Alex’s simple but heroic fireman hunk meet the family. Jay and Gloria meet Joe’s pal’s perfect parents. On a couples retreat, an isolation tank traumatizes Mitch and Cam meets his baseball idol.
When Jorge, Gloria’s ex-boyfriend, stops by for a visit, his resemblance to Manny makes Jay question Manny’s paternity. Phil agonizes over the perfect gift for Claire for the anniversary. Cam and Mitch deal with Lily’s women’s troubles.
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.
When Dede drops in unexpectedly, Mitchell and Cam come to a realization about her effect on their lives. Phil, Luke, Alex and Haley all have different bad news to break to Claire and compete about when to do it.
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.