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Modern Family A Modern Day Classic

Updated on April 28, 2015

Modern Family made its debut on ABC September 23, 1999. It was popular from the moment it aired and still is getting the ratings today. What is it about this show that has the viewer’s tuning in week after week?

There are a number of factors that make this show so successful first is the writing. This show packs in great and funny lines week after week. Each family on the show is highlighted. On some comedy shows a line falls flat, but not on this one. You have to pay attention because the writers keep the funny lines and situations coming at you like an amusement park ride with no let up. The Writer’s Guild of America named Modern Family number 34 on a list of 101 most well written series ever made. The writers richly deserve the praise. The writers create great story lines not only for the adult characters on the show, but also for the children, guest stars, and Stella the dog. You cannot watch this show without laughing throughout it. The rapid dialogue harkens back to the days of Bob Hope and more recently Jerry Seinfeld. There is a lot of lines and in them gems.

The show was the creation of two talented men named Steve E. Levitan and Philip Rosenthal. Steve Levitan is an American director, producer of television comedies and a screen writer. He created the shows Just Shoot Me!, Stark Raving Mad, Stacked, Back To You, and, of course Modern Family. Philip Rosenthal is a writer, producer and he is best known for producing another classic American comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. Another producer of the show is Christopher Lloyd

The idea for Modern Family, according to Wikipedia, began with Christopher Lloyd, and Steven Levitan sharing stories about their own modern families. They decided to focus it on three families in a mockumentory. The comedies, at the time of Modern Family when it began, were on the decline and the show was pitched to three networks. CBS didn’t like the single camera shooting and they didn’t want to make a commitment. NBC didn’t want the comedy because they already had two documentary style comedies, The Office and Parks and Recreations. ABC accepted the series for one season. It was a decision that would bring the network golden ratings. The show was an instant success and helped to revive the sitcom comedy genre. Thank goodness ABC knew a winner when it saw one. The rest is history.

Last, but not least, are the actors who have brought the characters to life, and who have us tuning in week after week.

Ed O’Neil is best known for his role on Married With Children, Ed almost didn’t get this role. The person the producer’s wanted go with was Craig T. Nelson. When they told him what they wanted to pay him he decided not to accept the role. Ed O’Neil read the script and liked what he saw. When the producers came to him he said go ahead and they made the deal. Craig T. Nelson went on to the show Parenthood. Ed plays the role of Jay Prichett and at the beginning of the series he was a bit on the gruff side. He has slowly begun to tame down and we see the tender side of Jay appear from time to time. It is hard to imagine anyone else playing this part. Ed has the twinkle in his eye as he talks to the camera, and he also brings an edge to the role, and a lot of love for this family. .


Ed was nearly cast as Sam Malone in Cheers but the part went to Ted Danson, he expected the show Married with Children to be cancelled after the first 6 episodes, He was considered for the role of Steven Keaton on Family Ties instead they chose Michael Gross.


As a young girl Sofia was so embarrassed by her thin frame she used to wear 2 pair of jeans, in her native Columbia she used to watch episodes of Married with Children which was dubbed in Spanish. When she met Ed she was disappointed he didn’t speak Spanish. After she divorced in Columbia she studied dentistry for three years.

Sofia Vergara plays the role of Gloria Prichett. She began her career as a model; she is also a Colombian –American actress, a comedienne, producer, television host, and a businesswoman. According to Forbes she is number 34 on the list of the 100 most powerful women. The producers had not yet written the character of Gloria. They talked with Sofia and created her character. Sofia brings to mind the funny sex symbols of the past Carole Lombard, Mae West, and Marilyn Monroe to name a few. Sofia can deliver the lines and she has great facial expressions that can help deliver the needed laugh. It is fun to see her interact not only with Jay and her son, but with the other characters as well.

Julie Bowen plays Clair Pritchett daughter of Jay and sister of Mitchell. She is an American actress who has starred in other television series throughout the years . She has starred on Ed, Boston Legal, and Lost. She has also been in movies such as Happy Gilmore, Multiplicity, Venus and Mars, Kids in America, to name a few. She had to fight to get her role as Claire because she was 8 ½ months pregnant at the time. She begged and pleaded and had them film her with laundry in front of her. Julie brings a vibrant energy to the role of Claire. The character of Claire is a bit overly wound sometimes, and she can be too much in everyone’s business, but Julie makes her loveable and it is always a pleasure to see her scenes with Ed O’Neill they truly have that father, daughter bond. She also is always hilarious in her scenes with Phil they have a great comedic chemistry together.


She has a BA from Brown University in Renaissance Studies.

She has a pacemaker; she is married to a real estate investor


He likes to wear bow ties. Once worked as a singer in an amusement park, grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays the role of Mitchell Prichett. Jesse didn’t have the troubles that some of the cast had to get on the show. He was previously on the show The Class, and he was in the thriller Untraceable. Jesse has a great way of delivering a line that will make you laugh. His character of Mitchell he is like his sister Claire a bit overly wound up, but there is a heart of gold in him. Jesse and Eric (Cam) make a great comedy team. It is fun to watch them deliver and react to lines that they say. It is also great acting by Jesse that he and Ed do by being a son that is gay to a father that is so macho. Those early seasons the tension was there, but now it is good to see how they each accept each other and those scenes have been equally entertaining.

Eric Stonestreet plays the role of Cameron Tucker, Eric had to fight hard to get the role. He is not gay in real life. He is a writer and actor In films such as Almost Famous, and Identity Thief. Cameron is a gentle soul, but will fight to protect those he loves. It is funny to watch Cam as he gets angry at those arch rivals he has from a caroler, to a bowler, to the teacher at the high school. It is also entertaining to see him play the gay who doesn’t want to hide his feelings for Mitch in public as well as in the family, while Jesse (who is really gay) doesn’t want the public to see them being affectionate. Eric gives Cam heart, wit, silliness, and strong will. It is easy to see why he has won numerous Emmy Awards for his role has Cam.


Eric went to Kansas State University. Before he got into acting he studied to be a prison administrator. He lived close to Leavenworth Prison.

Eric is mostly of German descent.

Sarah Hyland plays the role of Haley Dunphy on the show. Haley is the black sheep of the family, who can be a little wild like her mom was in the day. Sarah has the teenage emotions down to a tee even though; she herself is no longer a teenager. She plays the role with emotion, the anger of not being trusted by her parents, her not understanding her sister who is a bit of a nerd and not popular, a soft spot for her little brother Luke a boy that is more than a chip off the old block from his dad, she also has the vulnerability of a young lady not sure where the future may take her but curious to see what will happen. She has great facial expressions like Sofia Vergara that will bring a laugh every time.


Sarah had a kidney transplant at the age of 12. Her father donated one of his to her.

She has been a guest star on Law and Order over 3 times

Ariel Winter plays the role of Alex Dunphy she is an actress, singer, model and voice artist. She started her career in a Cool Whip commercial and that led to roles in television such as Listen Up, Freddie, Monk, Bones and other shows. She has also appeared in feature films such as, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Speed Racer , Duress and other films. Ariel has a way with a line and an expression that brings a laugh. She knows how to listen to her costars and react with great timing. Her character of Alex is like her grandfather, all knowing, wise, and there to watch out for the family members who go astray from time to time

Nolan Gould plays Luke Dunphy the son of Claire and Phil. When he was three he started his career doing commercials. Nolan plays the goofy kid to perfection. Luke goes through life to the beat of his own drum. It may look wrong, but somehow Luke makes it through. Luke is a lot like Phil funny, witty, upbeat, and inquisitive. Nolan gives Luke that naughty and clueless personality as well as one who can sometimes access situations faster than his parents can. Luke is that character that may someday create an invention that will make him rich.

Rico Rodriguez plays Manny Delgado. His sister is an actress and that is what made Rico decide he wanted to go into the entertainment field. Rico plays Manny like he is an adult. The way he relates to the adult cast members makes you forget just how young he is. Rico is fast with the funny lines, and he too can use expressions to his advantage. He is a naturally gifted comedic actor. He and Ed (Jay) have a great comedic chemistry together. It is also funny to see his scenes with Luke and how Manny is so grown up while Luke is there to show what a real kid should be acting like. His scenes with Sofia (Gloria) show that wonderful bond of son and mother and they also have a great sense of comedy together


Aubrey Anderson-Emmons plays Lily Tucker-Prichett. This little girl is a comic genius. She has the sass, the timing, and the charm to create laughs at every turn. Lily is a girl that is a little spoiled by her daddies. She is used to having what she wants and she wants it all now. She doesn’t get along with Luke very well and there is tension between her and Alex at times too. Aubrey has a Korean American mom and a Caucasian dad. Aubrey is cute and talented and her future looks bright.

Modern Family is one of those rare shows that came out an immediate success and a show that is so well written and casted. The stars were aligned properly the day this show was created. Modern Family has an audience that appreciates smart comedy and a comedy that salutes the classic comedy of quick wit, zippy dialogue and physical comedy. This show has all of that and more. Modern Family is a comedy that will stand the test of time and create laughter for future generations. It is indeed a classic.


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    • cfjots profile image

      cfjots 2 years ago from Conway, SC

      Thank you FlourishAnyway Modern Family is my favorite comedy that is one right now. You get so many laughs from this show it is so well done and the cast is magic together. Thank you for liking the trivia section of it. I have always been a trivia buff and I wanted to learn more about the cast.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      This is one of my favorite shows. I particularly enjoyed the trivia section of this hub.