Trivia / Modern Family

  • Actor Allusion:
    • In "Fears" Phil speculates if there is treasure hidden under the porch and then if the Declaration of Independence is hidden in the attic, a reference to Ty Burrel's character in National Treasure 2.
    • Luke tells Claire it would be cool if their plane crashed like in Lost; Julie Bowen appeared as Jack's wife in a few episodes (though she never appeared on the island).
    • The entirety of "Fizbo" for Eric Stonestreet, who created the clown character for himself at age 11.
    • Pepper says of "Walk Like a Man," "I can sing it but I can't do it," referencing Nathan Lane's character in The Birdcage.
    • Jay Pritchett is an Ohio State University fan, and appears to have lived in Ohio for some time at least as in "Goodnight Grace" he asks a woman if she had ever lived in Ohio after recognizing her (but unable to figure out who she is). Ed O'Neill was born and raised in Ohio.
      • He's also depicted as having been a college football quarterback. Again, in real life, Ed O'Neill played linebacker at Youngstown State, well enough for him to have been signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
      • One episode, while showing Mitchell self defence moves, mentioned that he "learned this from the Gracie's". Ed O'Neill is a Jiu-jitsu black belt, having trained with Rener Gracie himself
    • Phil badmouths Time Warner Cable in one episode. Ty Burrel is a spokesman for Time Warner rival Fios.
    • There are multiple references to Annie. Sarah Hyland stared as Molly in the 1999 Disney version of Annie.
    • In an episode, 'movies that star Zac Efron' are mentioned. Sofia Vergara and Adam Devine have both starred with Zac. In fact, Adam and Zac's movie had just been released 1 month prior.
  • Actor-Shared Background:
    • Ty is as dorky, energetic, clumsy and loving as Phil.
    • Julie is also very similar to Claire in that she's very organised, likes to be in control.
    • Jesse is extremely alike to Mitch.
    • Sofia/Gloria are the same.
    • Adam is as positive and cheerful as Andy.
  • Author Existence Failure: Jon Polito, who played Jay's nemesis Earl Chambers, died of cancer before Season 8 began airing. An episode featuring Chambers had already been written, but he luckily spends his whole appearance in a devil costume so they were able to use a Fake Shemp wearing a mask.
  • The Cast Showoff: Ariel Winter shows off her singing voice in "White Christmas."
  • Dawson Casting:
    • Played straight with Sarah Hyland (Haley), (though, to the show's credit, she doesn't look it, and some people, not aware of her actual age, have actually accused her of being too young to play her character's age). Sarah is 3 years older than Haley.
    • Averted by Rico Rodriguez (Manny) and Nolan Gould (Luke).
    • Inverted by Ariel Winter (Alex), with Alex being older than Luke but Winter being the same age as his and Manny's actors.
    • Also played straight with Adam Devine, whose character Andy is supposed to be in his early twenties, but the actor is actually in his thirties, meaning that he is almost a decade older than Andy. Thankfully, he looks significantly younger than his actual age.
    • In the case of Sarah and Adam, people unaware of their actual ages wouldn't even suspect that the actors are actually older than their characters, due to their baby-faces.
    • Adam and Joe Mande (Ben) are the same age, yet play characters at least 2 years apart.
  • Dueling Shows: With Parenthood.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Sofia Vergara is naturally blonde. Her hair has gotten lighter as the series has gone on but it's still darker than her natural hair color. She began dyeing it early in her career when she was told that people wouldn't find a blonde Latina believable.
  • Executive Meddling: Parodied in the show's sketch at the 2010 Emmy Awards, which shows various proposed "changes" to the show, such as: having Cameron and Mitchell adopt Stewie, making Cameron and Mitchell not gay, shooting the show in 3D (with an emphasis on shots of Sofia Vergara's chest), and replacing Ed O'Neill or Ty Burrell with George Clooney.
  • Fake Brit: Edward Norton as Spandau Ballet bassist, Izzy Lafontaine, in "Great Expectations".
  • Image Source:
  • Irony as She Is Cast: 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.
  • Melodrama: Sarah and Adam would often dramatise their scenes together because of how invested they both were in Haley & Andy’s relationship. However, it wouldn't work with the pacing of the show.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Lily was recast for season three when it became clear the little girls playing her really didn't like acting.
    • As of Season 7, Baby Joe has been replaced with an older child actor, to allow him to be a more active part of scenes.
    • As mentioned above in Author Existence Failure, Robert Costanzo replaced the late Jon Polito as Earl Chambers in season 8.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Ty Burrell played very jerk characters prior to the show. For instance, Dawn of the Dead. However, in the show, Phil is one of the sweetest, nicest and funniest characters in the show.
    • Adam Devine, after rising to fame by playing an extremely immature ,drug-addicted alcoholic, made a career out of playing arrogant, selfish jerks. Because of this, many people are shocked that he plays sweet, dorky Andy so believably, considering he's so insanely polar opposite to his other roles.
    • The typically erudite yet badass Victor Garber has a guest spot as a Gordon Ramsey-esque Jerkass chef.
  • The Red Stapler: The portrayal of Mitch and Cam has simply led to the legislation of same-sex marriage all across the world, with the phenomenon being described as "The Modern Family Effect."
  • Reality Subtext:
    • "Suddenly, Last Summer", the fifth-season premiere episode, was set on June 26, 2013, the day that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower-court decision that invalidated California's Proposition 8 and thus relegalized gay marriage in California—setting up a plot where Cameron and Mitchell connive with other members of their extended family to come up with a more romantic marriage proposal.
    • "Lake Life", the ninth-season premiere, was set on the day of the total solar eclipse in America: August 21,2017.
  • Stand-Up Comedy: The show boasts lots of actors that are comedians: Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell, Adam Devine, etc which allows the show to have a more real and improvised feel to it. It also allows for them to create such funny characters, indicative of how popular Cam, Phil and Andy are.
  • Star-Making Role:
    • All of the actors became household names following the success of the show. Ed O'Neill was already well-known, as well as Julie Bowen, prior, but the show truly cemented it.
    • Whilst Adam Devine was already famous prior to appearing, his recurring role on the show has elevated his notoriety considerably.
  • What Could Have Been...:
    • Matt LeBlanc was offered the role of Phil but declined because he felt he wasn't the right fit and also because he was enjoying semi-retirement too much. He did influence the show by telling the cast that they should collectively bargain whenever they renegotiated their contracts.
    • Adam Devine (Andy) was approached by the show's creators to become a series regular following season 7 but had to decline due to his other commitments.
  • Word of Gay: Sarah Hyland stated that Hayley was bisexual during Season 9.
  • Word of God: There is no documentary crew. The show is only filmed in a documentary style and the talking heads are the characters Breaking the Fourth Wall. It explains how the camera can suddenly be in a building before a character enters it.
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