A Modern Family’s Adventurous Mishaps

Megan Tran, Reporter

The Show

“Modern Family” is a quirky, lighthearted sitcom set in suburban Los Angeles. Shot in a mockumentary  style, the show follows the hilarious lives of Jay Pritchett’s family. The Pritchett family consists of his second wife, his stepson, and his two adult children (from a previous marriage) and their families. “Modern Family” premiered on ABC on September 23, 2009 to 12.6 million viewers.  The show has been going strong for 7 seasons now with consistent views and continues to prosper.

Main Characters

Jay and Gloria
Jay and Gloria

Ed O’Neil plays Jay Pritchett, a family man with a tough exterior. He owns a very successful closet company and has two children, Claire and Mitchell, with his first wife DeDe. Jay recently married a Colombian woman named Gloria who has a son, Manny, from her first marriage. Although Jay can be uptight, he really cares about his family and his newly extended family. Sofia Vergara plays Gloria Pritchett, Jay’s second wife and mother to Manny. She’s a Latin spitfire that will do anything for the ones that she loves. Gloria can be very bossy and headstrong, and often continues with what she initially believes in, even if her opinion is unreasonable. Despite all of this, Gloria is good natured, fun-loving, and compassionate. She enjoys the company of others and is enthusiastic to help and spend time with her family members.

Phil and Claire

Julie Bowen plays Claire Dunphy, Jay’s daughter and oldest child. Claire tends to be an overbearing mother to her three kids: Haley, Alex, and Luke. She has difficulty controlling Haley’s behavior, Alex’s perfectionism, and Luke’s lack of common sense. Ty Burell plays Phil Dunphy, Claire’s husband since college. He sees himself as “the cool dad” and disapproves of his wife’s strict style of parenting. Phil is very goofy and has a childlike attitude, much to the dismay of Claire.

Mitchell and Cam
Mitchell and Cam

Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays Mitchell Pritchett, Jay’s son. He and his father have a complicated relationship due to the fact it has taken Jay awhile to accept his son’s sexuality. Mitchell is a high-strung, mild-mannered person, but has many sensitive qualities. He is almost the exact opposite of his partner Cam which usually leads to disagreements. Cam acts as a counterbalance to Mitchell’s uptight and worrying ways. He and Cam adopt a daughter named Lily. Eric Stonestreet plays Cameron Tucker, Mitchell’s partner and one of Lily’s dads. He is very eccentric and dramatic. His bubbly, outgoing nature contrasts Mitchell’s uptight manner. Cam has a constant desire to be the center of attention and his flamboyance often embarrasses Mitchell. Despite their differences, Cam and Mitchell couldn’t be anymore perfect because they balance each other out so well.

Supporting Characters


Rico Rodriguez plays Manny Delgado, Gloria’s son and Jay’s stepson. Manny is very mature and intuitive for his age. He has inherited his mother’s passion for life which causes him to be very romantic. Gloria is his biggest cheerleader and loves to smother him. He is very intelligent and sensitive soul.

Alex, Haley, and Luke
Alex, Haley, and Luke

Sarah Hyland plays Haley Dunphy, Claire and Phil’s oldest child. Haley is the “popular girl” and rebels  against her parents. She is often portrayed as dim witted and self-absorbed but has a compassionate side. Ariel Winter plays Alex Dunphy, Claire and Phil’s middle child. Alex is by far the most clever and intelligent of the Dunphy children. As the middle child to a shallow big sister and a goofy younger brother, she enjoys messing with them. Nolan Gould plays Luke Dunphy, Claire and Phil’s youngest child. He possesses many traits like his father, particularly his goofiness. Luke is playful, very innocent and does not always understand the consequences of his actions.

Cam holding Lily
Cam holding Lily

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons plays Lily Tucker-Pritchett, the adoptive daughter of Mitchell and Cam. When she was introduced to the family, they accepted her with open arms. Lily is shown to be sarcastic and dramatic like her fathers. As she grows older, viewers can often see Lily act as a mediator between her two fathers.

Season 1 – Episode 1 – Pilot

The first episode of the series begins in the home of Phil and Claire. They shout for their three kids to come downstairs. When Haley emerges, Claire tells her her skirt is too short, but Phil says it’s cute. In side interviews, Phil calls himself a “cool dad” while Claire says that if she can prevent her children from making the same mistakes she did when she was growing up, she has “done our job”.  Alex comes downstairs to complain Luke has shot her with the toy gun Phil bought him. Claire forces Phil to follow through on his deal with Luke: if Luke shoots someone, Phil will shoot him. 

I’m cool dad, that’s my thang. I’m hip, I surf the web, I text. LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face”

— Phil Dunphy

The next scene shows Jay and Gloria at Manny’s soccer game. Gloria is overenthusiastic, shouting encouragement to her son and arguing with another parent. Gloria and Jay are then interviewed, where Gloria discusses the differences between their backgrounds. She comes from a small village in Colombia while Jay is from the city and owns a big business. The scene goes back to the soccer game where Manny misses a goal when he spots a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl riding by on a bicycle. Gloria speaks to the father of one of the other players, who assumes that Jay is her dad.

The next scene shifts to Mitchell and Cam, who are returning from Vietnam with there newly adopted daughter Lily. The other passengers admire Lily, with one man commenting, “You and your wife must be thrilled”. When Cameron walks on board and sits down beside Mitchell, an uneasy silence develops. In an interview the characters say that they have been together for five years. Back on the plane, Mitchell makes a speech after a woman says “look at that baby with those cream puffs” thinking she was calling them a derogatory name. But she was really referring to the cream puffs Lily were eating. Cameron apologizes by offering to pay for headsets for all the passengers.

Back at the Dunphy house, Haley has invited Dylan (a senior boy from her high school) over.  Haley brings Dylan upstairs and grows annoyed when Claire constantly checks on them. Haley goes downstairs to complain to Phil, who is preparing to shoot Luke. Phil accidentally shoots Luke, Dylan, and then himself.

After the soccer game, Jay is offended when he is mistaken to be apart of a senior exercise group so he decides to buy some ‘hip’ new clothes. Meanwhile, Manny reads a poem for the sixteen-year-old girl he saw and is crushed when she says she has a boyfriend.

The last scene is at Mitchell and Cameron’s house where Lily is going to be introduced to the rest of the family. Before Lily is introduced, Jay, who is unsure if Mitchell and Cameron are ready for fatherhood suggests that if they’re bored, they should get a dog. Cameron enters, holding Lily aloft before the family while “Circle of Life” from The Lion King plays and the whole family accepts and welcomes Lily as part of their family now.

What Stands Out

“Modern Family” isn’t your old average family sitcom. Season one was recieved with critical acclaim, achieving a Metacritic score of 86 out of 100.  The show was been called “the funniest new family comedy of the year” by many media outlets. Some have made comparisons to The Office and Parks and Recreation, because of their mockumentary formats. The sitcom averages 8.8 million viewers every week, an impressive feat considering it has been on for about 6 years now.

Why to Watch

“Modern Family” has won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and 6 Writers Guild of America Awards. The show also later received a GLSEN Respect Award for its portrayal of “positive images and storylines that reflect a diverse America, including the depiction of a family headed by a gay couple.” The show is currently in its seventh season and has a total of 152 episodes so start catching up now! “Modern Family airs Wednesdays on ABC at 9 p.m. 

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