Jay spends the whole second episode being unfavourably compared to Manny's clearly unsavoury biological father. At the end, he pays for a limo to take the family to Disneyland, but convinces Manny his father sent it so he won't know the man flaked on him again.
Even better, the limo was the one he already paid for for his and Gloria's trip.
The family being introduced to Lily in the pilot.
In "Someone To Watch Over Lily", Cameron announcing that Jay and Gloria would be Lily's Godparents, if anything happened to him and Mitchell.
Gloria's utter happiness over having a daughter is Played for Laughs, but it's still a great moment.
Claire and Phil's "wedding" on the Hawaii vacation.
Mitchell quitting his job when given an ultimatum by his jerk boss. "If Lily can stand up, so can I."
Mitchell being willing to immediately shave off his beard because Cam said he didn't like it, followed by a tender moment where Cam reassures Mitchell that he actually does like his beard and tells him not to get rid of it.
After Manny stops talking to him for firing a worker he likes, Jay tells him he can handle the screwing around of his employee, but not when it puts "his kid" in danger. Manny picks up on this and starts talking to him again.
All three subplot endings in that episode are very sweet; there's also Claire letting Phil know he doesn't have to cover up his work troubles or feel less manly because of them, and Cameron rescues Lily from a racist commercial.
The second briefly becomes a Crowning Momentof Funny when Cam tells the commercial crew off for treating the babies like interchangeable racial stereotypes (Lily's Vietnamese, and the commercial was a Godzilla parody with bad Japanese accents)... and proceeds to accidentally pick up the little Asian boy sitting next to Lily instead.
Even Haley's misplaced pride that she fixed her mom and dad's relationship was really sweet. And in The Stinger she threatens the pizza guy that he shouldn't come around anymore after mistakenly thinking her mom has a crush on him.
Luke's reason for picking Phil to stay with if he and Claire ever got divorced. Claire assumed it was because she wasn't as fun but it was really because Phil would need him more.
Cam accepting that Mitchell might have a son, complete with the Meaningful Echo of "I need to have my reaction."
The Dunphy kids, recovering from walking in on their parents having sex, realize that at least it means Phil and Claire still love each other.
Claire blows up at Phil for always ignoring her suggestions. After finally learning what she's angry about, Phil brings out some pictures when they were first dating to show her what a loser he was, and all the ways she's changed him for the better.
Cam finds out that Mitchell had worried about him freaking out over being a parent, and leaving Mitchell and Lily. Mitchell makes it up to him by reading his own rough draft of Cam's idea for a story about adoption to help Lily acclimate to the idea, after which Lily claps when she hears the word, just like Cam's been trying to get her to do.
Jay meets Mitchell's other gay friends for the first time, and contrary to Mitchell's fears he fits in perfectly and the whole group has a blast.
Several of them show up in later episodes where it's shown that Jay wasn't just being nice. He actually does like 'em.
Jay tearing up on discovering a poem he wrote about his mother as a kid, and then the whole ending scene where his emotional outburst prompts everyone to put aside all the bad feelings that have built up over the day.
Jay and Gloria find them selves saddled with a dog, which Manny instantly falls in love with. Jay says "no", drives the dog away to get rid of her...only to break at the last minute, bring her home, and place her in Manny's arms.
Come next season... Jay's really attached to Stella as much as Manny is.
Phil takes every chance he gets to hold or grope Gloria up until "The One That Got Away", where he finally realizes how lucky he is to have Claire and catches her from falling into the pool instead of Gloria.
Phil making friends with his neighbor, after they hadn't met for years.
Alex, originally planning to give a rather degrading speech to her class in her middle school graduation, changes it at the last minute after Haley confesses her anxieties about doing well in school and, perhaps for the first time on the show, (in a way) geniunely compliments Alex.
"There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not, the opposite is true. You see, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun, and the realists? Well, without the dreamers, they might never get off the ground."
To clarify, this comes from Cam, who has spent the whole episode trying to convince Mitchell (and later, Jay and Claire as well) that a story about he and his friends chucking a pumpkin across a football field actually happened, and gives this speech over a montage where the entire family tries to replicate it.
Jay arranging for the Dunphys' front yard to be covered with snow on the last day they can all be together until after Christmas.
Jay on being upset when Manny's biological father stops by and interrupts things: "Manny and I, we got our own thing. I mean, I know I'm not his real dad... I guess I just don't like the reminder."
Cam and Gloria spend an episode getting on each other's nerves over their attempts to "correct" each other's lives, but then realize that it's all due to their own insecurities, and get over it, resulting in them both making dinner in perfect sync, almost like a dance.
At the Disneyland episode, Luke promising a sick Phil that they'll always have fun together even after Phil enters old age.
The finale of that episode, when it's revealed that Jay, after being inspired by "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln," still stuck around for Claire and Mitchell when they were kids, even when he knew that his first marriage was a disaster.
Phil is shell-shocked after learning that Haley had sex with Dylan, but this actually allows him to give the perfect response to it, followed by Haley tearfully saying in a confessional "I have a cool dad."
Mitchell's explanation of his participation in the flash mob: "This dance is my love letter to Cam."
Phil's attempts to have a memorable day with Alex, culminating in writing her initials on a diner's moon sign, in homage to Eugene Cernan.
Lily talking about one of her male toys having a boyfriend.
The synchronize "AWWW" of her fathers only made the scene all the more heartwarming. This troper's favorite scene.
Lily not wanting to go onstage for her dance recital unless her grandpa Jay danced with her. Which he does.
Finally getting to see Jay and Manny getting quiet one-on-one time doing father-son things. They plan out a whole day... making a model airplane together. And when they end up having to take care of Lily, they team up to do that together pretty well too. Not to mention the nice short scene of Jay, Manny, and Lily as grandfather, son, and granddaughter that includes some nice comedic and general chemistry between all three.
Luke hid Haley's acceptance letter because he didn't want her to leave home.
Jay's reaction to Gloria's pregnancy.
Haley's leaving for college; she and Alex share a genuine hug and helpful advice (in their own way), and Luke has to wear a robot mask so that he wouldn't tear up when Haley leaves (which he does, anyway).
Haley calling her parents during her first night in college, while wearing the shirt with a picture of her as a little girl that she was horribly embarrassed by earlier.
Claire, after having a particularly rough day, overhears Alex and Haley's webcam conversation where Alex admits Claire did her a favor by shaving her goth classmate's hair off. Haley admits she misses Claire. Then Luke, after being embarrassed by her and scolding her earlier at school, apologetically hands her a rose without another word.
At New Year's Eve both with their parents away on a trip Haley and Alex are shocked when Luke brings a girl over so that they can make out in his room. Not prepared to deal with their younger brother going through puberty they initially don't know what to do about this situation. They get Luke's date to leave by threatening to tell her parents which angers Luke. At midnight Haley and Alex look at Luke sleeping in his bed, toasting each other as they lament him growing up and wishing he would stay their "stupid little brother" forever.
Haley giving Phil a surprise hug when she overhears his speech about how he loves her too much to let her leave to spend the night with that older guy she works with.
Phil blowing off a meeting to go watch Luke sing the title role in "Phantom of the Opera", after seeing Mitchell make up with Jay at the golf course and hearing "Cats in the Cradle" for the first time ever ... and being surprised pleasantly when his own father shows up to see him for the first time in three seasons.
Nope. Same reasons as before, but Luke singing was a surprise. Phil blew off the meeting to set the scenery Luke painted. Your Mileage SHOULD NOT Vary about whether Phil's original reason was more heartwarming.
Even more heartwarming is that Frank drove all the way from Florida just to see the scenery Luke painted.
Jay and Cam's dad bonding over their sons' sexuality. Not because they didn't approve but quite the contrary - they bonded over the fact that they often had no idea how to handle the situation yet still wanted to support their sons. In fact, their initial dislike of each other was actually Papa Wolf mentality because they felt the other treated their son like a lesser one in the marriage.
The reason for telling her that is fairly heartwarming in it's own right. Haley had been trying to get Alex to be more self confident around boys and teaching her how to act to get a guy's attention, and they had met a pair of guys they had been talking and playing games with. After losing to the girls, one of the boys mentions feeling "un-masculated" at which point Haley decides to leave with Alex. When Alex asks if she did something wrong or if the guy didn't like her, Haley tells her she did nothing wrong and the guy was totally into her...but that she can do better than a guy who feels emasculated(emphasizing the "e") at losing to her.
Jay confiding in Cam about how Jay didn't like Mitchell's ex because it made Mitchell a bad person to be around. And that that's one reason he really likes Cam - because Cam makes Mitchell happy. Though Jay didn't know it, Cam really needed that reassurance at the time.
Phil reminiscing about what a good mother his mom was (to the woman she wanted to set his dad up with, no less) and Alex's note from her grandmother in "Goodbye Gracie"
After Phil gets loaned an RV, the Dunphys take it for a test drive as Phil toys with the idea of them going up to Yellowstone in it that summer. After a fight causes Phil to storm out of the RV, disappointed at the idea's apparent failure, the others feel awful and sit down, leading to the kids confessing secrets that they've been hiding (Luke is failing a class, Alex is having boy trouble and Haley had a bad audition for a job), realising that actually, the RV might be exactly what they need. And then they all learn Haley's dance routine together.
Lily is in a gymnastics competition, and Mitchell is worried that he's getting competitive about it in an ugly way and doesn't want to pass it on to Lily. His fears turn out to be unwarranted when, after Lily's main rival for the gold medal falls off the balance beam, she runs over and gives her a big hug, before helping her adjust her hair, which was too tight and distracting because it hurt. For all their family's unconventional ways and Lily's cattiness, Cam and Mitchell are raising her right.
Mitch and Cam's proposal to each other. After spending the whole day trying to come up with the best proposals for each other, they end up both getting down on one knee while trying to change a tire, and both realize what the other is going to say and both simply say "Yes" at the same time.
After spending a whole episode trying to get to dinner at a fancy restaurant in time and ultimately failing, the family instead has a blast simply getting tacos together.
Alex loses her shot at becoming popular, initially Played for Laughs, and ends the episode tearfully lamenting that she has no friends. Clare and Phil immediately and almost wordlessly know exactly how to comfort her.
Lilly giving the Puppy Pound toy she got at the Christmas event for the needy to one of the children there who wanted it when she learns he won't be getting any other gifts.
Haley teaching Claire how to use the TV remote.
The family showing up to surprise Haley at her photography exhibit, shortly followed by her own utter joy at finding out that somebody actually bought one of her photos.
Haley, without any prompting, stepping up to the podium at the realtors' banquet, accepting Phil's award, telling his jokes and telling everyone what an awesome dad he is (heartwarming because her father's fall off the stage earlier came about because he was thinking Haley was bored and didn't care about him anymore (which the episode had earlier suggested was true).
During Alex's 16th birthday she spend the entire time saying she should be studying and while this is Played for Laughs at the time her breakdown over the cake and subsequent trip to a Psychologist reveals how she has a major issue revolving around her intelligence and how her family doesn't understand the pressure it puts her under. Claire meanwhile realizes how little she's focused on Alex and tries to make it better during the school open day but fails under the pressure. Que their meeting at the end of the episode where Claire says what she's learnt and that is she was Alex she'd probably have a breakdown every day. Alex then bursts into tears and hugs her mother saying nothing more then "Thank you".
In one episode Alex is getting increasingly sad and frustrated at constantly being ignored and being treated like a complete stranger even by people she goes to school with. To make her feel better, Haley secretly writes "Alex Dunphy do me" on the bottom of the bleachers and then shows it to Alex, telling her it means a guy has noticed her.
She doesn't write it, she edits Dylan's graffiti of "HALEY Dunphy do me" (she obscures the H with gum and turns the Y into an X). Considering Haley's obsession with appearance and fears about her popularity at school being the highlight of her life, it's a sweet gesture.
Jay walking his son Mitchell down the aisle at his wedding to Cam.
Haley persuading Andy the Manny that his relationship with his girlfriend isn't emotionally healthy, by admitting that she has been the "Beth" in relationships herself, being All Take and No Give. It's a nice moment of development for her.