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"ClosetCon '13" is the eighth episode from Season 5 of Modern Family, it aired on November 20, 2013.

Plot Summary

With some urging from Claire, Jay begrudgingly agrees to return to ClosetCon this year, and things get interesting when Jay is reunited with some old colleagues. Cam takes Mitch and Lily to the Tucker family farm for the first time and is excited to fold them into country life, that is until Grams pays an unexpected visit. And back at home, Phil, Gloria and the kids get into some mischief involving Jay's very delicate Apollo 13 spacecraft model.

Episode Description

Jay and Claire are out on the road at a closet convention. It was something Jay went to in his younger days when he was building the business, but now that Claire was preparing to be his heir apparent, it was time to hit the road again. Only they'd be sharing a room because Gloria lost the reservation for the hotel (and Claire gets the pull-out couch of course), so Jay decided to make a beeline straight for the bar. Claire, being a rookie, wanted to go to all of the talks and breakout sessions, but Jay knew most business was done downing a few shots of Scotch. Given how friendly everyone was to Jay, it made Claire wonder if some of the ladies who attended the convention were more than a little friendly back in the days when Jay frequented them more often and her mother was suspicious.

As Phil brought Luke, Haley, and Alex over to go out with Gloria, Manny, and Joe (and broke Jay's vintage Apollo 13 model rocket in the process), Cameron and Mitchell took Lily out to Missouri so she could visit her grandmother out on the farm. Cam was feeling right at home; he even had a pig call that would make you think he went to Arkansas for college instead of Illinois. The city-fied Mitchell, you might suspect, wasn't taking in the country life too well (Cam's mother not helping at all with how touchy-feely she was), and he even got upset when Lily started adding a few y'all's to her vernacular.

Haley and Alex were having their own problems; both of them liked the cute pizza guy that always came to their house. Their incessant arguing prompted Gloria to declare detente since Phil was busy fixing Jay's Apollo 13 rocket and they had to cancel their reservation. (GLORIA: Houston, we have a situation...) She said neither of them could hit on the pizza guy; "sisters before misters." But then, they may have made it irrelevant when the model airplane Alex was playing with accidentally started up and the propeller got caught in Haley's hair. Alex tried to fix it...and then it got caught in her hair, too. They'd have to stay that way for a while, since the guys were consulting with Florida (aka Phil's father) to get the Apollo 13 rocket fixed. Getting the pizza from the pizza guy took some...ingenuity...on their part.

And since it was Three's Company nostalgia night, there were a couple of misunderstandings to be had: such as Claire spotting Jay with one of the women from the convention going into their hotel room, Rita. It was to set up a skeleton in the closet to scare the rookie, Claire, but I'm sure you can guess what she was thinking. What's interesting, though, is reality was even worse. Jay had asked Rita to offer Phil a job in her Texas company 20 years ago so he wouldn't marry Claire. Nobody knows about it...except Claire, who heard every part of the conversation except the part about offering the job to Phil.

JAY: (to Rita) You're not the first one I approached; you're just the first one who said yes.

Yes, Claire is now convinced Jay cheated on his ex-wife 20 years ago.

Down on the farm, Cam's grandmother was dropped off because it would be safer for her there with a tornado warning in the area. Only...she doesn't know about Cameron and Mitchell. Actually, she doesn't even know Cameron is gay because everyone was afraid that would be the piece of news that would make her have a stroke. But she hung on for close to 20 years, so now the whole family has to keep Cam's sexual orientation a secret. This didn't sit well with Mitchell, who wanted to apologize for being snobby earlier and really get into the farm experience. And he Bud the Slow Farmhand. He was not happy, and being cooped up in the basement during the impending tornado was not helping. Mitchell figured Cam's grandmother might be open-minded. But then she said Lily was a "cute little Chinese" and was shocked when Lily called Cam "dad." Mitchell decided to cover and say Lily was his and he wasn't Cam's. But it turns out Cam's grandmother wishes she had a great-grandbaby to spoil. Cameron decided to tell his grandmother that he was in love, about to get married, and to Mitchell.

CAMERON'S GRANDMOTHER: Then I'd know why God sent us this tornado.

But she did agree to attend the wedding. And stand outside it. With a sign. (CAMERON: Baby steps, Mitchell. Baby steps.)

The Apollo 13 rocket was almost back together, and Phil and Manny both admitted Jay wasn't an easy guy to please. But it felt so good when you did, Phil told Manny how lucky he was to have a father like Jay. (PHIL'S FATHER: Hard not to be hurt by that, son.) And even luckier not to have a mom like Gloria, who was going ballistic because Alex and Haley wouldn't stop fighting, even with their hair still attached to the model airplane. She goes for the scissors, and both of them stop arguing. Alex even says to cut her hair only, figuring nobody cares what she looks like. But Haley knew the pizza guy liked Alex instead of her, and Alex was touched Haley actually thought of her as a threat to her dating a boy. Now that they were no longer fighting, Gloria made a small cut that took almost no hair away. Which she could have done an hour ago, but then Haley and Alex could have put their fight aside 15 years ago. And now everyone's hair is safe...except for Gloria's, since Luke) needed a few strands of it to help fix the rocket.

Claire comes back to the hotel room not particularly happy with Jay for bailing on her and leaving her to get her ears talked off by a salesman, Mark, although she liked how he compared her to Heidi Klum. (JAY: Mark's gay). Jay tried to convince her to get one of the robes from the closet, but Claire wanted to talk about Rita, saying she knew the whole thing. Jay was beside himself about it. Of course, Claire thought he was cheating on her mom with Rita, and Jay thought she knew he tried to get rid of Phil. Oops. Claire was livid because she was actually engaged to Phil at the time. She didn't even get freaked when she went into the closet and saw the skeleton. Of course, then Jay brought up the fact that he got a certain anonymous phone call a few years ago from INS about Gloria. Now Claire was done berating Jay. Of course, now Jay likes Phil, particularly since he got the Apollo 13 rocket fixed...and got knocked out by the toy airplane that Joe was controlling with a remote.

By the way, the tradition is the rookie had to take care of the skeleton until next year. Claire decides to put it in bed with Phil.

PHIL: (to what he thinks is Claire) I miss this, honey. That yoga's really paying off! Hey, slow down, baby. You can't gun a cold engine!

CLAIRE: (turning on the lights and not happy) When did you know?

PHIL: When it didn't complain about my socks.

Main Cast

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

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

Guest Starring


  • This is the fifth episode in which the family travels. They previously visited:
  • Barb Tucker reappears from "Mother Tucker".
  • This is the third time that Frank Dunphy makes an appearance though Video Chat, after "Undeck the Halls" and "The Wow Factor".
  • Cam tells Mitchell why he can't act like "Bud" in front of his grandmother when he can't kiss him in front of his father for six years ("Pilot").
  • Cam finally brings Mitchell and Lily to the farm of his family, which was mentioned in a lot of past episodes.
  • Jay's plane is seen again, after "Come Fly with Me".
  • This episode aired exactly six years before The Last Thanksgiving


  • When Claire and Phil were promised, Jay tried to get rid of him giving him a job in Texas.
  • When Jay and Gloria started dating, Claire called immigration to inform them about Gloria.

Cultural References

  • Phil calls Manny "Manimal".
  • Manny calls Joe the "Hope Diamond".
  • Much of the Apollo 13 bit is based on the actual mission, and the film adaptation.
  • Mark compares Claire to Heidi Klum.


  • When Claire is at the bar at ClosetCon, she asks for a scotch and a white wine; the bartender only serves her one drink, which is neither scotch nor white wine.
  • When Gloria is about to cut Alex’s and Haley’s hair to free them from the model airplane, you can see Alex’s hair get unstuck and fall to her shoulder right before she says “Okay! Okay! Just cut mine!”