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Played By: Ty BurrellHusband of Claire, father of Haley, Alex, and Luke. He's a classic Bumbling Dad, trying to be friendly with his kids despite being a big old dork. He often finds Claire's restrictions on his ideas annoying, but knows she means well, and accepts that she's what keeps him from hurting himself too much.
- Adorkable: Where to start? His attempts at being a "cool dad", his love of being a real estate agent, and knowing all the songs from High School Musical.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Alex suspects that Luke has ADD. As she reads off the symptoms to Claire, we watch Phil bumbling around in the garage, displaying every symptom.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- Even Phil has his limits, and when he's pushed to those limits, he gets RESULTS.Phil: YOU POKED THE BEAR, GIRLS!
- Starting in later seasons, he's more apt to discipline and scold the kids when they screw up. He really lets Haley have it when she gets expelled from college.
- In season 6 after Gil makes fun of Claire.Phil: Oh by the way, if you ever speak disrespectfully again about my wife, I'll kill you. (beat) Sorry, that sounded like a joke. I will actually kill you.
- Even Phil has his limits, and when he's pushed to those limits, he gets RESULTS.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows
- Bumbling Dad: Completely subverted as Phil is in no way an incompetent father, proving to be an understanding, caring, loving and invaluable parent to his children.
- Butt Monkey: Very much so. His own family (including his wife and kids) constantly belittle him, take advantage of him and everyone walks all over him consistently because of his laid-back, Nice Guy demeanor. Although he does stand up for himself sometimes.
- Character Development: Later seasons has him more ready to discipline his kids when they get out of line.
- Chivalrous Pervert: He may be unable to hide his views on how attractive Gloria is or stop his occasional ogling of other women, but refuses to commit adultery because he truly loves Claire.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Phil is generally goofy and often doesn't plan things through.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: He seems unaware of it, but he unwittingly turns a number of people on throughout the series: Horny ex-girlfriends, horny divorcees, gay men...
- Drama Queen: When he gets upset, he will often go into a melodramatic funk.
- Even the Guys Want Him: A number of gay men have found him attractive.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: As far as parenting goes, the good cop to Claire's bad cop. In the one episode where they switched roles, he was terrifying as a bad cop, even commenting that he felt "shaky" afterward and wanted to go back to being the good cop.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Phil rarely ever curses, instead shouting things like "Sweet and sour CHICKEN!", "Son of a MITCHELL!" and "Son of Jor-El!" when angry, frightened, or in pain.
- Happily Married: While he does find Claire nagging and controlling, Phil deeply loves her.
- Hidden Depths: Whilst Phil seems like a complete idiot, he is, without a doubt, one of the kindest people on the show, and is an amazing husband and father, subverting the typical 'bumbling dad' role found on most sitcoms.
- Innocently Insensitive: He often accidentally insults his wife, either just by not defending her when someone else insults her, or by making comments about how she used to be so hot. Claire isn't exactly happy with it, but knows he doesn't mean anything. He's usually more childish than truly mean or evil.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Phil is very needy and emotional, much to his father-in-law's annoyance. He also has several "feminine" hobbies (for instance, he was a cheerleader in college.) However, he is definitely heterosexual, as his children found out when they walked in on him and his wife having sex.
- Kindhearted Simpleton: He's nice, but he's not very bright, so he usually makes things worse trying to fix them.
- Man Child: And how. Claire generally refers to him as "the kid she's married to."
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The latter when compared to Claire. He tends to be more open-minded and even has traditional feminine hobbies (i.e. cheerleading).
- Mr. Fanservice: He certainly gets his fair share of shirtless scenes.
- Nice Guy: One of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet.
- Odd Friendship: With Dylan, Haley's on-again, off-again boyfriend. Odd in that he tends to take Haley and Dylan's breakups harder than either Haley or Dylan.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to Jay's Manly Man.
- Shotgun Wedding: It's eventually revealed that he and Claire decided to get married after learning she was pregnant with Haley.
- Totally Radical: Part of Phil's "cool dad" schtick.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Not to his old man (with whom he gets along rather well), but to Jay.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Phil suffers from coulrophobia, intense fear of clowns. This was revealed in the episode "Fizbo", when Cameron came to Luke's birthday party dressed as a clown. He has addressed this and says that his mother thinks the fear originated from him finding a dead clown in the woods one day when he was little.
Claire Dunphy (nee Pritchett)
Played By: Julie BowenWife of Phil, mother of Haley, Alex, and Luke. She's far more structured than her husband, and is usually the glue that holds the family together. Unless it's one of the days where their insanity has driven her crazy again.
- The Alcoholic: Played for Laughs. Claire really likes her wine.
- Best Woman: She's "Best Person" for Mitch at his wedding to Cam, something she can't resist punning on throughout her speech.
- Big Sister Bully: Mitchell has said that Claire was bossy and mean growing up.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: A more rounded and sympathetic version than most. Weirdly, overlaps with Jerk with a Heart of Gold at times.
- Butt Monkey: Considering the way everyone in her family casually fling insults at her, especially her husband, apparently without even noticing, she definitely qualifies. Also ties into The Complainer Is Always Wrong below.
- Character Development: Later seasons has her becoming less controlling, especially in regards to her children. The later seasons also has her forming a better relationship with Gloria.
- Character Tics: When she's agitated and/or stressed, she moves her hands around.
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: You can bet that if Claire says something is going to go wrong, her kids and Phil will ignore it. When it does (and it usually does), instead of admitting it and listening to her the next time, you can bet they're just going to complain about how she always thinks she's right and ignore her like always.
- Control Freak: She takes every parent activity at her kids' school very seriously, which makes her butt heads with Gloria on a regular basis.
- Cool Big Sis: To Mitchell; they usually go to each other when one is having a problem.
- Daddy's Girl: In comparison to Mitchell, Claire is closer to Jay.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Though Jay and Phil have reached some stable ground.
- Deadpan Snarker: Claire has a dry sense of humor like her dad and brother.
- Former Teen Rebel: As a teen, she described herself as "out of control".
- Happily Married: While she does find Phil childish and slightly odd, Claire loves him deeply.
- Housewife: She takes on a variety of community projects on the side, and is desperate for a job.
- She gets a job in season 5.
- Jerkass: Her callousness causes a lot of problems with others.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She has her moments.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The former in comparison to Phil. She tends to be the stricter parent and isn't above playing rough, both literally and figuratively.
- Also is this with Mitchell, since she was a bit of a tomboy growing up while Mitchell was fairly effeminate.
- Ms. Fanservice: Claire is in good shape and there were a couple of instances of her (almost) being shown naked.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Absolutely. The marriage proposal ideas she pitches to Mitchell are nothing short of cruel (yet she finds them romantic).
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: On Halloween, due to her drive to have the scariest house in the neighborhood. She is usually far, far out ahead of any competition.
- Not So Above It All: She can be just as immature as her children,as insensitive as Jay, and as goofy as Phil.
- Parenting the Husband: Claire generally refers to Phil as "the kid she's married to".
- Shotgun Wedding: It's eventually revealed that she and Phil decided to get married after learning Claire was pregnant with Haley.
- Stacy's Mom:
- Dylan admits directly to her if he weren't dating Haley and Phil were out of the picture, he'd totally do her.
- It also comes up in "Chirp", where it comes up that Dylan had a wet dream involving Haley and Claire. Together. In his defense, he felt really guilty about it.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Gloria's Girly Girl.Claire: (pointing at Gloria) I'd like to see this one without make-up.
Gloria: If you do, that will be the last think you will ever see.
- Women Are Wiser: Though being around Phil makes anyone look wiser.
Played By: Sarah HylandOldest child of Phil and Claire. She's less intelligent than Alex, often coasting through life on her good looks, but she has considerable cunning when she puts it to use. She often weasels out of punishment by helping her parents out of whatever new mess they've gotten themselves into.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Deconstructed. At first it was downplayed, as she was romantically involved with Dylan. But after they broke up, she began dating actual jerks who didn't treat her with respect. Finally, after getting sick of it she started to invert the trope.
- Basement-Dweller: After getting expelled from college. Phil even warns Luke that he needs to apply himself, because they only have the one basement.
- Book Dumb: In contrast to her under-performance in school, Haley has proven to be quite the fast thinker.
- Brainless Beauty: Played straight most of the time, though she still manages to trick her parents into losing their family's contest in who can go the longest without using computer and phone technology so she could win. She also manages to fool her family into thinking she has a job as a waitress. She also was (briefly) able to teach Alex how to get popular. In short, Haley may be book dumb but she is also fairly creative and socially savvy.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Initially, she was this. However, as she's gotten older, she's been subverting this and developing into a mature and considerate adult.
- Character Development:
- As Haley had gotten older, she's become far more appreciate of her family, especially Phil, Claire and Alex.
- She's also become more aware of her own behaviour, and how selfish she was when she was younger, and is greatly trying to be a better person.
- Cool Big Sis:
- Occasionally. Often in somewhat 'odd' fashion, such as when she carved "Alex Dunphy Do Me" under the bleaches at their school to try and cheer Alex up.
- Both she and Alex are this to Lily, which is funny because they're both ten times better sister figures to their adopted cousin than they are to their own younger brother.
- She has emerged as this to Alex, offering advice regarding college and boys, and expressing her fears that their relationship would suffer when Alex left for college.
- Daddy's Girl: For all her brattiness, Haley truly care for her dad and when he punishes her, it hits deeper than when her mother does.
- Dating What Daddy Hates:
- The Ditz: Although throughout the series, she's been gradually subverting this.
- Everyone Can See It:
- Her mutual attraction to Andy. Somewhat Subverted in that they've both got around to admitting how they feel after a fashion, but still aren't together due to various self-imposed obstacles, and continue to deny they feel anything more than friendship toward one another when asked by anyone else.
- Also, they are the only ones who seem oblivious to the fact that they're basically a Generation Xerox of Claire and Phil.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish one to Alex.
- Future Loser: Haley is the butt of a lot of jokes that involve this.
- Generation Xerox: It's brought up that Haley acts just like Claire did when she was teenager. Comes full circle in season 5 where Haley develops feelings for Andy, who is very similar to Phil.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: With Alex. Haley is the pretty one, Alex the smart one.
- Hidden Depths:
- In "See You Next Fall", Haley talks Alex out of her mean-spirited middle-school graduation speech by admitting that she is actually very anxious about whether she'll graduate from high school with her own class or not.
- Although not as clever as her younger sister, Haley does have flashes of brilliance.
- Haley shows a talent for photography.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Uses her good looks to get guys to do something for her.
- Lethal Chef: When Haley tries to make cupcakes for school they turn out impossibly inedible.Claire: Where's the number for poison control?
Phil: I love you, Claire! I've always loved you!
Luke: Mom? My mouth's asleep, like at the dentist.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Starts to follow this after meeting Andy Bailey and getting sick of the "bad boys" she dated after Dylan.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Alex's Tomboy.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: A defining trait for Haley. So much so, that Gavin Sinclair describes her as having "the face of a cartoon lamb."
- Will They or Won't They?: With Andy. They are attracted to each other, but a major obstacle stopping them from becoming a couple is that fact that Andy has a girlfriend and they appear to be in a committed relationship.
- Women Drivers: Haley is a completely incompetent driver when she first gets her learner's permit. At one point she ends up driving through a park.
Played By: Ariel WinterMiddle child of Phil and Claire, and smarter than the rest of the family put together. She is a shameless geek, studying hard to get into college and get a good job. Her parents are largely unaware of what she's doing at all times, since they trust she can handle everything herself.
- Brainy Brunette: The most academically successful of her siblings.
- Character Development: Throughout the show, Alex has shown her vulnerable side, showing that she too has struggles and hard times, like that of her siblings. Additionally, her once rocky relationship with Haley has immensely developed, with them being able to confide in each other sincerely.
- Cool Big Sis: She and Haley are this to Lily, which is funny because they're both ten times better sister figures to their adopted cousin than they are to their own younger brother.
- Deadpan Snarker: Usually makes quips at Haley's apparent lack of intelligence.
- Determinator: In "Someone To Watch Over Lily", Alex reveals that she hates playing cello but continues to do so because she's never quit anything in her life.
- Extracurricular Enthusiast: She plays the cello, plays lacrosse, and has participated in a bottle-collection program to help build schools in third-world countries. Note that she doesn't do all this because she loves all the activities, but rather to pad her resume for when she has to apply for colleges.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Responsible one to Haley.
- Give Geeks a Chance: Subverted. She starts dating Luke's geeky friend Reuben not because she likes anything about him, but simply because she's depressed and wants an easy relationship with someone who pretty much worships the ground she walks on.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: With Haley. Alex is the smart one; Haley is the pretty one.
- Godiva Hair: A non-nude version. Since her actress has matured, her character has been limited to a single hairstyle (see character image) in an effort to hide her figure.
- Hidden Buxom: She has become rather well-endowed as she has matured — a fact which is much less obvious than with Haley as Alex commonly wears things like over-sized sweat shirts and the aforementioned Godiva Hair. Even when the character is trying to appear attractive, she tends to avoid anything that would highlight her chest.
- Hidden Depths: "Best Men" reveals, much to Claire and Haley's surprise, that her band in which she plays cello is more alt rock rather than classical and that Alex can sing.
- "Under Pressure" reveals that even though she loves challenging herself and being super smart, she's also under a lot of pressure. When Claire goes to Alex's school open house and finally realizes how hard Alex works every single day, Alex actually cries at hearing her mom tell her she understands.
- Hollywood Nerd: Of the pretty variety, obviously.
- Insufferable Genius: Tends to believe that she's the only one who's in the right and often cracks jokes at Haley's poor grades.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Despite Alex's great intellect, she doesn't have a great social life.
- Jerkass: Deadpan Snarker by default, like her mother, but she is completely merciless when she insults her siblings at times, bordering on cruelty.
- Little Miss Snarker: Gets it from her mother... her uncle... her grandfather... let's just say it's a Pritchett thing.
- Meganekko: Although in the third-season finale, "Baby on Board", she makes a point of attending her first prom without her glasses.
- Nerds Are Sexy: She gets her fair share of attention from boys. When Haley first sees her fanclub of the nerdy boys, Alex smiles and tells her "You have your fans, I have mine. Someday, yours will be working for mine."
- Not So Above It All: Case in point, she once tried to pass off as a medical student and passed out after seeing a C-section.
- Can improvise on the fly when she needs to like the rest of her family when the situation calls for it.
- In "Under Pressure", Alex reveals that she suffers from mammoth pressure at school.
- Only Sane Man: Alex sometimes acts like this among her siblings due to Haley's irresponsible nature and Luke's strange thinking.
- Running Gag: Alex fainting at the sight of blood.
- Shaking Her Hair Loose: In "After the Fire", Alex undoes her ponytail and shakes her hair loose in front of a group of nerds who have crushes on her before she stops them from bullying Luke and Manny.
- Stepford Snarker: Her mother tells Cam and Mitchell that Alex may be sarcastic on the outside, inside she's a "fragile little girl".
- Surrounded by Idiots: Frequently, and she doesn't hesitate to inform her family that she thinks of her situation as such.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Haley's Girly Girl. However, while Haley's girly girl is definitely the case, Alex's tomboy is mostly only implied, with the aspects of it, such as her being a lacrosse player, only being mentioned and not shown.
- Tomboyish Name: Everyone calls her "Alex" which is short for Alexandra.
- Troll: She has a cruel sense of humor when she puts her mind to it.
- In several episodes she's seen tricking her siblings, making them think she's being nice by "teaching" them things like how you can recharge a cell phone by rubbing it against your hair for static electricity.
- When Phil's ex comes to visit, Alex tells Luke that he's adopted, she's his real mom, and she's come to take him away. A few jokes from the ex about how she wants to take him home, and he's bawling like a baby.
- When Haley leaves for college, not only do Alex's pranks against Luke get worse (to the point of physical pain), she starts mocking her parents more openly. Claire eventually realizes the problem is that none of them can snark back on an even level. She solves the problem by setting up a video chat with Haley, then just leaving them alone while they yell at each other.Claire: And balance... is restored.
Played By: Nolan GouldThe youngest child of Phil and Claire, as well as the stupidest. He gets lucky sometimes, but mostly survives by sticking close to Manny.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Luke shows signs of having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Like his father, he is believed to have ADHD, as he repeatedly becomes distracted when he has to do something important.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Gets his moments with his sisters, especially when Haley is leaving for college.
- Character Development: While still a bit ditzy, he's gained a more prominent mischievous streak now that he's in middle school.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He is thought to be a bit vacuous, because of many questionable actions, such as getting his head stuck in the banister and jumping on the trampoline wearing only underwear and a box on his head.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has progressively become snarkier over the course of the show.
- The Ditz: He is known for being a boy with low intelligence, which has supposedly inherited from his father, who is not so many smart either. This makes him to be very innocent and not always understand the repercussions of his action
- Fat and Skinny: The Skinny to Manny's Fat.
- Genius Ditz: Luke occasionally shows signs of this. He's also proven to be a magician prodigy in the making. Probably a mild case of Actor Allusion since Nolan Gould is a member of Mensa, skipped 6 grades, and graduated from high school at the age of 13.
- Hidden Depths: Luke has a great singing voice.
- In-Series Nickname: Phil calls him "Buddy" almost 99% of the time.
- Jerk Ass: For some reason, Luke can be rude and insulting towards Lily.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shows a lot towards his mother.
- Kids Prefer Boxes: One time, his parents actually just got him a box... only for him to play with the bag that it came with instead.
- Like Father, Like Son: Luke is just as ditzy as Phil.
- Manipulative Bastard: Its startling how easily Luke can get under people's skin when he is properly motivated to do so.
- Nice Guy: Proving to be this more and more. A good example comes in "Integrity" where a Luke lets Manny think a girl Manny likes isn't paying attention to him because Luke flirted with her, when in reality it's because she flirted with Luke because she likes him, not Manny. Luke lets Manny continue thinking this to spare his friends feeling, even though it means Manny stops talking to him.
- Outnumbered Sibling: The only son of Phil and Claire's three children.
- Quirky Curls: They're pretty uncontrollable, even when he gets his hair cut as he grows old
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man to Manny's Sensitive Guy.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: Towards Lily. Luke competes with Lily over the position of the cute one in their extended family.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In later seasons, as he grows into what Manny describes as "hipster cynicism".
Played By: Ed O'NeillHusband of Gloria, father of Claire, Mitchel, and Joe, and step-father to Manny. He is a closet salesman who still owns the company, with a very old way of doing things. He still has a sensitive side, and loves his family deeply.
- "Of course you did."
- "And we're back."
- "What the hell!"
- Also, "Ah, jeez", usually coupled with him visibly slumping.
- Character Development: He grows more comfortable around Manny, Cam, and Phil as the series goes along.
- Deadpan Snarker: Just like the first character that made Ed O'Neill famous: Al Bundy (though Jay isn't as sarcastic as Al was. Probably because he's not married to someone as irritating as Peg, and Jay is much more successful in life than Al was.)
- Happily Married: Despite the obvious assumption that Gloria is just a trophy wife, he loves her deeply, and considers her son from a previous marriage to be his son as well.
- Hidden Depths:
- At first he seems like your stereotypical good ol' boy - loves football and lots of macho. But over the seasons, it's revealed he's more of a pragmatic intellectual and shows interests in astronomy, history, model building, and foreign culture among other things. Though the latter one should be self-evident given who he's married to.
- Also, while it may seem that he is with Gloria for her looks, it is very quickly revealed that while he's attracted to her physically, it is most definitely her personality that he is interested in.
- His relationship with Cam is equally deep - he seems pretty comfortable confiding things he literally will not tell anyone else with Cam.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jay is an insensitive jerk, but he always means well and will do what's right in the end.
- May–December Romance: Jay, who's in his 60's, and Gloria, who's in her 30's.
- Momma's Boy: It appears Jay was very affectionate with his mother. He had written her a poem for Mother's Day one time as a boy and one time when Jay had a Little League Coach during a football game and was laying on to him about something, she came charging out of the stands and went up to the guy face-to-face and nose-to-nose and told him "Nobody and I mean nobody yells at my little boy" which caused Jay to start crying when he told this story to his family.
- Only Sane Man: In his immediate and very Colombian family. Also occasionally his extended family.
- Papa Wolf: If you hurt his kids or grandkids, Jay won't hesitate to pay you back.
- Parental Substitute: For Manny in some ways given how flaky and unsavory Manny's real father is. Sees more development in season 6 where he outright calls Manny 'his kid' and 'his son' to other people; for those who haven't seen him in a while, they assume they mean Mitchell.
- Pet the Dog: Literally. He loves dogs.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: The quiet, cool tempered Savvy Guy to Gloria's hot blooded, easily riled Energetic Girl.
- Second Love: To Gloria, given she divorced her Man Child ex-husband.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man to Phil's Sensitive Guy. Amusingly at times, the relationship between Jay and Gloria veers into Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy.Jay: [to Manny] She isn't sensitive like you and me. She wouldn't get it!
- Took a Level in Kindness: Becomes nicer and sensitive over time, especially in regards to Phil, Cam, and Manny.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: To be fair, Jay is in his 60's... but no denying Gloria's actress Sofia Vergara is smokin' hot.
- Uptown Guy: He and Gloria, which is deconstructed at some points. It's revealed at different times that while Jay was reasonably well off financially, Gloria struggled with making ends while raising Manny. After they married, many (including Claire, initially) presumed that the reason Gloria married Jay was because of his money. Which is not true. But, the idea caused others to talk behind her back which led to their kids to pick on Manny, both issues that Gloria is well aware of.
Gloria Pritchett (nee Delgado)
Played By: Sofia VergaraWife of Jay, mother of Manny and Joe. Gloria is a Colombian national who worked hard for years to provide for her son. She can be airheaded at times (not helped by her still-imperfect grasp of English), but she cares for her friends and family above all else.
- Adoptive Peer Parent: To her step-children, Claire and Mitchell. She is actually younger than Claire, as a few characters love to remind Claire.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Deconstructed. She was once very attracted to the unpredictable Javier, her now ex-husband. But, after having Manny, she realized she needed someone who would be more reliable and not leave her and Manny, especially the latter, hanging on empty promises.
- Beware the Nice Ones: One of the most kind-hearted individuals of the show... and you'd be wise not to anger her.
- The Brainless Beauty: Heavily inverted by Gloria, who initially comes across as this but is actually smart, spirited, and very sweet.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Gloria occasionally falls into this territory and is revealed to be much tougher than she initially appears.
- Cute but Cacophonic: Gorgeous as she is, Gloria cannot carry a tune and a neighbor mistook her shouting for a parrot's. Once she set off a car alarm with her voice.
- Deadpan Snarker: She has her moments.Gloria: In my culture, it is considered very important that men do their own labor.
Jay: I know. That's why I hire people from your culture.
Gloria: You're too funny! I'm going to tell that one to my next husband while we're spending all of your money.
- Dude Magnet: Many men have been attracted to Gloria.
- Electra Complex: In the Season 8 premiere that this is a big reason she loves Jay and why she and her sister fight and it isn't helped by the fact he looked like Jay.
- Eloquent in My Native Tongue: She's actually very (intentionally) funny in Spanish, as well as being intelligent and well-informed, and is regarded as an excellent conversationalist by other characters who speak the language. If she comes across a bit ditzy sometimes it's purely down to the fact that she's the only member of the family speaking a second language, something that she's painfully aware of at times.Gloria: [to Jay] Do you even know how smart I am in Spanish?
- Funny Foreigner: Lots of jokes about her accent, tendency towards loudness, the crime and poverty in her hometown, etc.
- Gangsta Style: Occasionally carries like this when she thinks she needs to - she is capable of shooting a (BB) gun with alarming accuracy, and tends to make mafia-style threats when somebody has wronged someone in her family or when she wants something done.
- Gold Digger:
- Subverted with Gloria but who is actually a very nice person who genuinely loves Jay. She is assumed to be this occasionally, but in reality she is with Jay because she loves him, not for his money.
- She says in the Valentine's Day episode that she loves him because he's sexy, and is shown eating marshmallows suggestively as she watches him be all manly and assertive and work with his hands.Gloria: And the drilling. [stares offscreen] So much drilling.
- Happily Married: To Jay; Gloria loves her husband, Jay, although the two can occasionally bicker over the life of their son, Manny.
- Hidden Depths: Is a damn good chess player, possibly even better than Manny.
- Hot-Blooded: Gloria is often characterized by her loud, outspoken attitude.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Gloria's a crack shot with a pistol.Manny: Hey! You could have hit me!
Gloria: Oh please. At this distance, I could have unbuttoned your shirt if I wanted to!
- She confirms this in The Stinger of "The Day Alex Left For College", the second episode of the seventh season. During the episode, an apparently wayward shot from an air pistol she was waving around hit Jay in the foot, sparing him from attending Lilly's soccer game. The other characters wondered if she had done that on purpose. In her Confession Cam segment, she confirms it, shooting a sippy cup off a table from behind her back while walking away, without even looking.
- Informed Attractiveness: Frequent references are made to her being a bombshell (not that many viewers would disagree).
- Innocently Insensitive: When Mitchell and Cam name her and Jay as Lily's new guardians - should something horrible happen to them - Gloria gets so excited by the prospect that she gleefully picks up "Liliana" and squeals that when something horrible happens to them, Lily is going to be all hers.
- It's All About Me: She is incessantly trying to make herself extremely noticeable in a crowd when it comes to her appearance, and is extraordinarily ferocious when other women get more attention than her - this is why she dismisses all of the young, attractive female babysitters from her house so they don't outrank her. Also, when her mother shows the slightest amount of attention to Claire than she does to Gloria, Gloria is provoked into a campaign against Claire, constantly trying to put Claire in the corner. Also, when her mother admits that she does not have a favorite between Gloria and Claire, Gloria roars "Why the Hell not!", indicating that she has always tried to be a favorite.
- Large Ham: She is shown to be very expressive in her speech; often imitating the sounds of things when she does not know what to call it, exaggerating her facial expressions and gestures, and shouting loudly when she is upset.
- Mama Bear: To Manny; she can be shown to stand up to anyone who insults or hurts Manny going on long-winded rants about it.
- May–December Romance: With Jay, a man 20 years her senior.
- Ms. Fanservice: She wears many fashionable outfits and is considered very beautiful by almost every person she talks with.
- Multi-Ethnic Name: Gains one upon her marriage to Jay, especially when she uses her former married name (Delgado) as her middle name.
- No Indoor Voice: She basically shouts a lullaby at Lily in one episode.
- Parental Substitute: Acts as a motherly figure to Lily.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: The hot blooded, easily riled Energetic Girl to Jay's quiet, cool tempered Savvy Guy. Doubles as Red Oni, Blue Oni.
- Second Love: To Jay, since he divorced his previous wife.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: In the form of Jay. While he may have his flaws, he's also dependable, honest, and loves Gloria for more than just her looks.
- Stacy's Mom: "Send Out the Clowns" made it official for Gloria, as Manny's new "friend" was only interested in her.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Claire's Tomboy, though Gloria occasionally shows signs of being a closeted tomboy.
- Trophy Wife: Unlike the typical example however, she and Jay really do love each other. When she finds out that Jay is dragging her to a weekend with all his old friends to specifically show her off, she goes from furious to determined to get there.
- Tsundere: Normally a dere, but the tsun side is never far behind.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: To be fair, Jay is in his 60's... but no denying Gloria's actress Sofia Vergara is smokin' hot.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: A wife variant. Case in point, she punched a guy in the face when he made an insult against Jay.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Gloria is terrified of the, how do you say in English, the takatakatakataka (translation: She REALLY, SERIOUSLY hates helicopters).
Played By: Rico RodriguezSon of Gloria, step-son of Jay. He's an excessively serious child who Jay claims was born at least sixteen years old. He and Jay get along well in the way of two old guys, though Jay often tries to make him just act like a kid while he can.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Though admittedly the "precocious" part does bother the adults and doesn't earn him a ton of friends.
- Berserk Button: The normally level-headed and mature Manny starts a fight with another guy when said guy insulted a particular film that Manny holds dear to his heart: Mary Poppins.
- Big Brother Instinct: Lectures his parents on not arguing will cause harm to Joe, when Gloria is still pregnant with him. After Joe is born, Manny didn't like how Claire was drinking while watching his baby brother and stated as such.
- Camp Straight: See the Dandy below. Is Mistaken for Gay in one episode.
- Casanova Wannabe: Throughout all the Modern Family seasons, Manny has not been afraid to show his affection towards his crushes.
- Character Development: At the beginning of the series he could be pretty obnoxious (but in all fairness, he WAS 10 years old at the time - acting his actual age at certain moments), but his arrogance and vanity has been toned down enough for him to gain better relationships with others.
- Creepy Uncle: Sort of. He had a crush on Haley, who is technically his niece. Of course, they're only related by marriage, close to the same age, and did not grow up together so how creepy Manny is will vary. It's also largely worn off as Manny's expressed interest in many other girls.
- The Dandy: He cares immensely about his appearance, and Claire remarks that he "dresses like a count".
- Drink Order: Likes coffee a lot.
- Fat and Skinny: The Fat to Luke's Skinny.
- Handsome Lech: More of an Average Lech, but still.
- In Love with Love: He flirts with so many girls because he wants to find true love.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Manny is open with his feelings and is quite the romantic. Plus, he loves baking.
- Insufferable Genius: Manny is kind but he is also very arrogant. His pride is his greatest flaw, and he has a hard time dealing with people being smarter than he is.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: Many of his peers find his maturity incredibly annoying.
- Ironic Name: Perhaps unintentionally, but his last name means "skinny" or "thin" in Spanish. Although the actor has lost weight in recent years, he is still the "Fat" to Luke's "Skinny" as seen above.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his eccentricity and arrogance, Manny is a surprisingly affable to people and is polite to everyone he meets.
- Momma's Boy: His support is mainly channeled through his mother.
- Overly Long Name: At one point he wants to take French, as he thinks it would be a "better fit" for him than Spanish.Gloria: Your name is Manuel Alberto Javier Alejandro Delgado. How is French a better fit for you?Manny: Okay, I'm pretty sure you threw in a name I've never heard before.
- Princely Young Man: Carries himself as such despite a poor upbringing.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Besides having a love for poetry and baking, he occasionally wears pinks t-shirts.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to Luke's Manly Man.
- Serial Romeo: Manny isn't afraid to take chances, leading him to ask out older girls, and develop somewhat of a crush on Haley.
- Smart People Play Chess: Something he's very good at and was taught by Gloria.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Many people are weirded out by how adult he acts.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snakes are to Indiana Jones as butterflies are Manny Delgado.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: He is very mature and intuitive for his age and is often shown doing adult-like things, such as having conversations with Claire about her marriage and kids, drinking coffee and handling problems like a man.
Fulgencio Joseph "Joe" Pritchett
Played by: Rebecca and Sierra Mark (season 4), Pierce Wallace (season 5-6), Jeremy Maguire (season 7 and onwards)Son of Jay and Gloria.
- The Baby of the Bunch: The youngest of the titular family.
- Creepy Child: Played for Laughs. Gloria worries that Joe might grow into this.
- In-Series Nickname: Everyone calls him "Joe".
- Multi-Ethnic Name: Due to his mother being Colombian and his father an American of presumablynote British descent.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Lily, very passively at this point.
- Sticky Fingers: The Season 8 premiere reveals that he's discovered a disturbing love of stealing. Naturally, Played for Laughs, as he's only a toddler, though the humour's a little darker than might be expected.Joe: I saw Manny take shampoos from the hotel, so I took some things too. Then some bigger things. I like stealing. It makes my heart go fast!
Played By: Jesse Tyler FergusonHusband of Cam, brother of Claire, father of Lily. Mitchell is a serious lawyer, often exasperated with managing the eccentricities of his husband.
- Badass Bookworm: Mitchell is a lawyer and has used it to get a boy to confess for taking credit from Manny's work.
- Daddy Issues: A recurring conflict between Jay and Mitchell is that Jay was never one to be openly affectionate during Mitchell's childhood, which made Mitchell's coming-out particularly uncomfortable. Ironically, a lot of the issues came about because Mitchell was so concerned about Jay's reaction and thus was/is very defensive about his sexuality - various episodes have shown that while Jay might not have been immediately comfortable, he certainly would not have done anything more drastic than snark and squirm a little.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a dry (sometimes mean) sense of humor.
- Everyone Has Standards: Pretty much everyone in his family considers him to be something of a control freak, even he thinks Claire is too hard on her kids (ironically, Claire sees him as the more controlling one).
- Happily Married: Initially Averted, in that while he and Cam were as happy as the other two couples on the show they couldn't legally marry. Played Straight as of the Season 5 finale.
- Hates Being Touched: Justified. He is very germaphobic.
- Hello, Attorney!: An environmental lawyer who is often noted to be quite handsome.
- He's Got Legs: Invoked in Starry Night, wherein Mitchell gets sprayed by a skunk while on an outing with Jay and Manny. The only thing available for him to change into is a dress Gloria bought and left in Jay's car, which prompts Jay to compliment his son's legs and say he'd do okay as a cross-dresser if he were "that type of gay".
- House Husband: Tries being one for a few episodes after quitting his original job to spend more time with Lily, during which time Cam goes back to work. Subverted in that it turns out they both hate this arrangement, and he gets a new job very quickly.
- Ill Boy: Mitchell was born a month premature.
- Momma's Boy: Tends to get along marginally better with his mom.
- Neat Freak: Exploited. Cam sometimes leaves the house a mess (not cleaning it up), and knows that Mitchell will feel like he needs to clean it and will do so.
- Papa Wolf: Mitch once took on a bird because it was keeping him from giving Lily her milk.
- Running Gag: Freaks out when near birds.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Depends. Mitch is the Manly Man because he's more Straight Gay and is the "stricter" father. However, he could be the Sensitive Guy due to him not being not as skilled in "manly things" like Cam is.
- Sexy Spectacles: Wears glasses in some scenes.
- Stepford Snarker: Mitch often uses his witty sarcasm to hide some of his problems.
- Straight Gay: More than Cameron, at least, although he isn't particularly masculine either.
- Uptight Loves Wild: He's a neurotic, Neat Freak, who hates being touched. And he's the partner and later husband of a flamboyant, extremely emotional Drama Queen.
Cameron "Cam" Tucker
Played By: Eric StonestreetHusband of Mitchell, father of Lily. He is far more emotional and dramatic than Mitchell, and repeatedly tries to break into stage acting. Also, he used to be a clown. As in from the circus.
- Action Dad: Despite Cameron being overly dramatic and somewhat effeminate, when he thinks there's a stranger in Baby Lily's room he jumps out of bed, grabs a baseball bat, and charges in with a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
- Badass Gay: In one episode, when he thought there was a stranger in Lily's room, he jumped out of bed, grabbed a bat, said "It's go time" with a Serious Business look on his face, and charged in ready to KILL whoever was in there (fortunately, no one was). In another episode, when Mitch almost gets into a fight with a rude Jerkass at a gas station, Cam gets out of the car and tells the guy he will "slam [his] head into that bumper so hard the airbag will deploy" if he didn't apologize. The guy apologized with genuine fear in his eyes. (Also, Cam was dressed up as Fizbo the clown during this scene, which just makes it more awesome somehow.)
- In one episode, he gets so pissed off over his extended family being good friends with Mitchell's ex, Teddy, that he punches a punching bag arcade game hard enough to set a record.
- Breakout Character: Cameron is the most popular character in the show. The fans just can't get enough of him.
- Camp Gay: Zig-zagged. While his mannerisms, fashion sense, and Drama Queen nature are very camp, he actually has a lot of very masculine hobbies. He coaches football, is excellent at home repair, and since he grew up on a farm, he is very comfortable wrangling animals, getting dirty, and being outdoors.
- Chick Magnet:
- Before coming out, he apparently caught the attention of quite a few girls, as he likes to brag about.
- Also attempts this on a bet with Mitchell and Crispin - though, with his extremely camp personality and mannerisms, the girl he was hitting on knew he was gay all along, despite his beliefs to the contrary. She just wanted a gay best friend.
- Farm Boy: A Missouri boy, and proud of it.
- Fat and Skinny: A couple example. The Fat to Mitch's Skinny.
- Happily Married: Initially Averted, in that while he and Mitchell were as happy as the other two couples on the show they couldn't legally marry. Played Straight as of the Season 5 finale.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Physically strong and made of awesome, he is partnered and married (later) to redheaded Mitchell.
- House Husband: Has been one for most of the series' run, although he was a music teacher before adopting Lily, a job which he eventually returns to (this time at Luke and Manny's school) once she starts kindergarten. He also briefly worked in a greeting card shop while Mitchell was unemployed. Later, he becomes the high school football coach to which he takes to quite well as it's one of his other great loves.
- Magical Queer: Played with in Cameron's urge to solve anyone's personal problem that he might stumble across (to the point of hosting a wedding).
- Momma's Boy: Among his parents, Cam is closer to his mother. He even refers to himself as a "momma's boy".
- Overprotective Dad: Threatened to harm a kindergarten-age boy for pulling on Lily's hair.
- Papa Wolf: "It's go time."
- Performance Artist: To some extent.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Generally when Lily is in trouble. He is actually mistaken for Mitchell's panicking wife on the phone when Lily is trapped in a car.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Depends. Cam is the Sensitive Guy because he's been described as being more "momish" and he does tend to spoil Lily. However he could be the Manly Man because he does have more skill in "manly" things than Mitchell.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: For all the jokes about his weight, it's acknowledged in-universe in Season 4 (by Jay, no less!) that Cam looks great after he rejoins his gym and finds the confidence to start wearing fitted suits. Though in Jay's case, he played football and knew Cam use to be a football linemen and thus actually has a better idea of what a muscular man looks like compared to someone working out for appearances.
- Stout Strength: Can't relate to Mitchell's memories of being picked last in gym class, as a young man he once threw a dodgeball through plywood and broke it.
Played By: Jaden and Ella Hiller (Seasons 1-2), Aubrey Anderson-Emmons (Season 3-present)Adopted daughter of Mitchell and Cam. For the first two seasons, Lily is a baby, and thus doesn't have much characterization. In later seasons, she shows clear signs of inheriting the craziness of the rest of the family, such as by stalking her cousin Manny, or snarking at her fathers' newest problems.
- Berserk Button: For a while, any mention of her potential new adopted sibling. "Kill the baby!"
- Daddy's Girl:
- Played with. It's pretty obvious that Cam is all but rearing her up to be one.
- Potentially with Jay since it's been shown the two of them are pretty close.
- A Girl And Her X: A Girl And Her Cat. Becomes very fond of pet cat, Larry.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Lily's Bunny. She keeps her dads up all night crying when he gets lost on the LA Subway in "Planes, Trains and Cars".
- Has Two Daddies: And loves to invoke this trope word-for-word.
- Hidden Depths: Despite Lily's catty attitude, she has shown to be a lot more selfless than what one may think.
- Jerk Ass:
- Has become incredibly blunt and/or catty as she gets older. Though one episode suggests she gets at least some of it from Claire and likely, Jay who is particularly close to his granddaughter and vice versa. A lot of it could also be that she is still very young and may not understand what things are rude to say to someone directly.
- She also seems to mostly snark at people older than herself. In one episode when she's at a gymnastics competition, she hugs another gymnast who just fell off the balance beam and helps her readjust her hair, which was too tight and was throwing her off.
- Karma Houdini: Although she's generally a pretty well-behaved and non-destructive kid (particularly for a 5-year-old who is obviously spoiled), Lily gets away with a lot of snark and disrespectful attitude towards adults. Part of this is that her dads are of the hyper-progressive coddling variety, and the other part is that her pinpoint snark accuracy and timing is so impressive most of the time that the adults are left speechless in her wake.
- Like a Daughter to Me: Gloria considers Lily to be her daughter, she's even Lily's godmother and the one who Lily's dads turn to when Lily has questions about "girly things" that her fathers are a bit embarrassed to answer.
- Like Parent, Like Child: Both her dads are apparently terrified of spiders in the house. As a result, when she thinks they're about to ask her to kill a spider, she basically mimics Cam's "It's go time" moment, complete with grabbing a rolled up magazine..
- Only Sane Woman: Even though she's much younger, Lily appears to realize how insane everyone else in her adopted extended family is.
- Precocious Crush: Developed a crush on Manny, her uncle.
- Race Lift: In the Greek adaptation of Modern Family, Lily is portrayed as a British-African girl rather than a Vietnamese girl. Although, her name remains the same.
- Silent Snarker: Though it's now headed to Little Miss Snarker territory now that she can speak.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Luke begins to see Lily as this, as does Mitch and Cam's best friend and "first child", Sal. In turn, it's implied she's beginning to feel this way about Fulgencio-Joe.
Played by: Reid EwingHaley's boyfriend for a time. A nice boy and honest to a fault, he was more than happy to treat the Dunphies as his own family. He's also slightly dumber than dirt.
- Abusive Parents: Implied. In one episode, when he (temporarily) lives with Cam and Mitch he mentions that his mother made him leave because of her new boyfriend moving in.
- The Ditz: Dumber than a hammer warehouse, and in the wake of Luke's mild intelligence growth, probably the flakiest recurring character on the show.
- Hidden Depths: He told Haley that he's majoring in Nursing.
- In-Series Nickname: Nicknamed "D-Money" by Phil.
- Intercourse with You: "In the Moonlight" and "Imagine Me Naked". The former starts out romantically enough, before:Maybe, baby
I just wanna DO you! DO you!
Do you wanna DO me?! DO me?!
- Nice Guy: He's one of the nicest and sensitive guys you'll ever meet.
- Romantic False Lead: His latest role on the show, serving as this to Haley and Andy.
Played by: Rob RiggleA rival real-estate agent who constantly harasses Phil.
- Always Someone Better: To Phil in real estate.
- Evil Counterpart: Or a more jerkass version of Phil.
- Jerkass: He'll do anything to upstage and embarrass Phil.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He even offers Claire a job just so he can constantly call Phil and torture him with sexual innuendo about her in front of their son.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: A rival real estate agent to Phil. Every time someone steals a house out from under him or outsells him at work or embarrasses him, it's Gil Thorpe.
Played by: Nathan LaneA gay friend of Cam's and Mitchell's, known for his parties and his name.
- Adam Westing: His character is basically Nathan Lane.
- Camp Gay: Even more than Cam.Mitchell: But it said 'No presents, please.'
Cam: Say it like Pepper would say it.
Mitchell: [beat] Oh. [[Note: It'd sound more like (sarcastic) No presents? Please! :P]]
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Downplayed. Mitch and Cam do like Pepper, but they make up excuses to avoid his parties. It's implied they aren't the only ones, though Cam and Mitchell's reasons for not wanting to go is because it's a big hassle to dress up in costumes and whatnot.
- Oblivious to Love: Had no idea his assistant was in love with him.
Played by: Adam DeVineThe babysitter/nanny for Joe. The family quickly takes a liking to him, though there is some friction with Jay.
- Adorkable: A super sweet guy who is highly excitable and goofy.
- Big Damn Kiss: With Haley.
- Dogged Nice Guy: To his own girlfriend, Beth, who seems at best indifferent to him. Actually Averted with Haley, in that she's pretty quick to realize she'd be lucky to have him if he weren't with Beth.
- Generation Xerox: Though he's not actually related to the family, he's gearing up to be Phil to Haley's Claire, to the point of becoming Phil's assistant in the hopes of becoming a real estate agent.
- Genius Ditz: He seems like a pure ditz, but he's actually very competent at most things he turns his hand to.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Appropriately, since he works in childcare, he barely ever swears. It also helps emphasize his resemblance to Phil. One episode reveals he thinks the word "shucks" is the S-word.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Meets the family when Gloria hires him to be Joe's nanny. He's way better at his job than any of the female candidates.
- Insistent Terminology: Prefers "manny" to "male nanny", but admits that this causes a problem in a household where his charge's older brother is actually named Manny. He finally settles on "bro-pair".
- Nice Guy: Andy is described as a gentleman, with similar interests to Phil Dunphy.
- Promoted To Opening Credits: Discussed but then Averted - early reports indicated that he'd be credited in the opening titles for episodes in which he appeared after the mid-season break in Season 7, however this didn't end up happening.
- Put on a Bus: In the Season 7 finale, he returns to his native Utah to take over his uncle's real estate business; he and Haley mutually decide to end their relationship, despite still being in love with one another. The decision was presumably done to accommodate Adam DeVine's other acting commitments in 2016/17, and reports are conflicted as to whether he'll be back on the show later in Season 8.
- Unfortunate Names: While Phil and Claire are definitely Shippers on Deck for Haley and Andy, in one episode when they mistakenly believe the two have eloped one of their concerns is that their daughter's name after marriage will be "Haley Bailey".
- Will They or Won't They?: With Haley. They are attracted to each other, but a major obstacle stopping them from becoming a couple is that fact that Andy has a girlfriend and they appear to be in a committed relationship. They Do.