* AcceptableTargets: Colombians get an interesting treatment. On one hand, Gloria is one of the most sympathetic and positively-portrayed characters on the show. On the other, all Colombians know how to spot a fake crime scene and smuggle illegal goods onto an airplane.
** Gloria lampshades this by saying "Because, in Colombia, we trip over goats and we kill people in the street. Do you know how offensive that is? Like we're Peruvians!"
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: ([[CharacterizationMarchesOn Early]]) Manny: Sensitive young man who is mature beyond his years, or creepy burgeoning "Nice Guy" (i.e. guy who thinks being "nice" entitles him to reciprocal affection from girls way out of his league) who's been poisoned by years of his mother telling him he's special?
* CargoShip: Played with hilariously InUniverse with Jay and Barkley, the dog butler.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzKtgPXS7PE In the Moonlight]]"
** Cameron singing ''Ave Maria'' whilst Mitchell simultaneously attempts to kick a pigeon's ass in slow motion.
** In the Season 5 episode "The Late Show", we see two scenes where they sing ''Midnight Train to Georgia'' by Gladys Knight and the Pips, one with the kids and the other with the adults at the end.
** The season 2 episode "Bixby's Back" which ends with Dylan and Haley reuniting after he serenades her with a rock ballad outside her house on Valentine's Day, and a nice little montage of the other couples to close out the episode.
--> "Imagine me NAKEEEEEED! I imagine you NUUUUUUUUUDE!"
* DoubleStandard: There's little mention of Phil lusting after Gloria compared to Manny lusting after Haley despite being essentially similar circumstances.
* EarWorm: "In the Moonlight" is so catchy, even Haley's grandpa ends up singing about how much Dylan wants to do her.
** Phil getting autotuned.
--> "I, like a lot of men in this town, enjoy making love to my wife-ife."
** Dylan serenading Haley on Valentine's Day with "Imagine Me Naked". It has a nifty little guitar solo!
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Stella, Jay's adorable pet dog.
** As far as the main ensemble goes, Phil (Ty Burrel) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) have gotten the most praise, winning their respective actors awards.
* {{Expy}}: Phil is one of Michael Scott from TheOfficeUS. Great salesman who is bumbling at his main job (managing for Michael, parenting for Phil)
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: The fourth-season episode "Arrested" has a brief scene almost near the end when Haley returns to her room after being expelled from college six weeks into her freshman year. Alex sweetly tells her how happy she is that Haley's home again, a CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming that doesn't last as they almost immediately start feuding again. Within a week of that episode airing, it was disclosed that Ariel Winter, who plays Alex, had been removed from her mother's custody due to emotional and physical abuse and was now living with ... her own older sister.
** The very next episode, "Mistery Date," had a scene where Alex, after washing out of a Brain Bowl-type event unusually early, accuses her mother of trying to live through her. Again, a little hard to watch given what was really going on in the actress's life.
** An episode with a joke about {{The Monkees}} aired the very day that Davy Jones died.
** Later, a joke about Branson, Missouri aired the day after the death of Andy Williams, one of Branson's biggest attractions.
** In the season 6 premiere, Haley learns the popularity of her online videos is actually because she forgets to turn the camera off, including when she's naked. Shortly before it aired, hackers leaked several nude pics of celebrities, including Sarah Hyland.
*** This also makes the above listed "Crowning Music of Awesome" moment between Haley and Dylan a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment as well, unfortunately (someone that determined doesn't have to use a lot of imagination to picture Sarah nude anymore).
** Sarah's real life boyfriend Matt Prokip played a guy trying to compete with Dylan to become Haley's new boyfriend (at the insistence of Claire) in the Disneyland episode. In September 2014 it was later revealed that Sarah and Matt broke up and that Sarah had filed a restraining order against Matt due to an extremely abusive relationship. Sarah had also asked Julie Bowen to intervene and provide protection and shelter to her due to the abusive circumstances of the relationship.
*** And then Haley says three of her exes are now stalking her.
** An episode about everyone getting colds aired shortly after a new outbreak of Ebola in America.
* The jokes about Gloria's accent and inability to find the right words in English get less funny after her "dou you even know how smart I am in Spanish?" speech.
* HarsherInHindsight: In-universe. Phil and his father Frank's jokes to explain [[TheGhost Phil's mother's]] absence from web-cam chats and family visits ("She's sinking fast... in the tub, of course!") take on a much darker tone [[spoiler: once she dies prior to the Season 4 finale, with Claire describing her death as "sudden, but not entirely unexpected". The knowledge that she's been ill for a long time can make it hard to re-watch some of those jocular conversations, knowing it's actually their way of dealing with the declining health of their wife and mother rather than just their usual brand of silly humour.]]
** Claire's comment to Alex about needing a new training bra (whilst in front of the girl's peers) seems more acute after the news came out about Ariel Winter's mother verbally and physically abusing her, it was said [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/ariel-winter-abuse-allegations-modern-family-star-removed-home-parental-abuse_n_2089144.html she berated her daughter for her appearance and weight]].
* HilariousInHindsight: The aforementioned training bra joke is also kind of funny due to the fact that, post-puberty, Ariel Winter has the second-largest chest in the cast.
* HollywoodHomely: [[IAmNotPretty Alex refers to herself as less pretty than Haley]], and is invariably treated as the uglier one of the two. She's really not any uglier than her sister. And then the [[ShesAllGrownUp actress hit puberty...]]
* HypeBacklash [=/=] ItsPopularSoItSucks: Some have found the show's continued dominance at the Emmys to be a little much, especially after Season 2.
* IdiotPlot: "Three Turkeys" is entirely dependent on everyone in the family apparently not having a sense of smell, making them unable to tell a freshly cooked turkey is nearby.
* IronyAsSheIsCast: Luke is a young teen of below average intelligence, albeit with occasional flashes of brilliance. His actor is a member of MENSA and graduated high school at 13.
* MemeticMutation: A [[http://25.media.tumblr.com/ad9df8ec1b34d885d9a4161dd77cb851/tumblr_mnd6qy7oLR1rc2i08o1_500.gif gif]] of Gloria smacking Jay while screaming "I KNEW IIIIIIIIIIIIIT!" is a pretty popular reaction image.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Some fans complain that Haley looks far too young to realistically come off as a 16 (now 17-18) year old. The actress who plays her, Sarah Hyland, is over ''20'' years old.
* OneSceneWonder: Stephen Merchant as the Vegas bellhop.
* {{Squick}}: See the EarWorm entry.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: Claire running for city council in season three. It has a very promising start, complete with getting David Cross to play the incumbent she's running against...and then we barely hear anything about it until the actual election day episode, in which Cross doesn't even appear.
** And incredibly, some fans accused the show of devoting ''too much attention'' to that plot.