YMMV / Modern Family

  • Acceptable Targets: 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!"
    • In fairness, most of the portrayal of Columbians comes from Gloria's own descriptions and in her own words, "I might have exaggerated a little bit, but I do that all the time. Columbia actually is a very normal place."
  • Actor Shipping: Sarah and Adam are shipped quite a bit in real life. Due to their chemistry together, some people are shocked to discover that they aren't actually dating.
    • The actors that play each married couple are also shipped together.
  • Cargo Ship: Played with hilariously In-Universe with Jay and Barkley, the dog butler.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • "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!"
  • Ear Worm:
    • "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!
    • Man shouldn't lie!!!
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Stella, Jay's adorable pet dog.
    • The gay Cameron played by a straight actor sometimes has him called this. The same occurs with the heavily accented Gloria.
    • Andy is extremely popular, due to being one of the most warm-hearted characters and being a part of the most popular storyline ever on the show. Seeing how perfect him and Haley are together, and facilitating her character development, plays a big part also.
    • Dylan, at times.
    • Mitch and Cam's friends, especially Pepper and Sal.
    • Phil's Dad, Frank
    • Ben, Claire's co-worker
  • Friendly Fandoms: With The Office and Parks and Recreation. All are mockumentaries and very heart-warming and realistic in their comedy styles.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: 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 Crowning Moment of Heartwarming 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.
    • 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.
    • The jokes about Gloria's accent and inability to find the right words in English get less funny after her "do you even know how smart I am in Spanish?" speech.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-universe. Phil and his father Frank's jokes to explain 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 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 she berated her daughter for her appearance and weight.
      • The training bra joke gets even harsher after Ariel Winter had a breast reduction after dealing with being objectified, fat-shamed, and for a size that fits her petite frame.
    • An episode with Phil and Claire trying to get to a Steely Dan concert, complete with Claire noting how much older "they" are getting, aired a whole month after Walter Becker's death.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Alex breaking down in Claire's arms in "Under Pressure" is this due to Julie Bowen being a support system for Ariel Winter following Ariel's legal battle and eventual emancipation from her mother. According to reports, Julie thinks of Ariel as her daughter and is a real mother-figure in her life.
  • He Really Can Act: Eric Stonestreet gets universal praise for playing Cam, despite being straight. Many people are so shocked that he isn't gay in real life.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • 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.
    • In one episode, Phil and Claire try to enjoy their Guilty Pleasure of cheesy monster movies by seeing a film entitled "Croctopus". A few years later...
    • Sarah Hyland (Haley) and Laura Ashley Samuels (Beth) are best friends and have been for several years.
    • Sarah's boyfriends at the time- Matt Prokop and Dominic Sherwood- have guest-stared on the show, both playing Alex's love interests.
    • In one episode, the show mentions the movie "Finding Nemo." In 2016, the sequel "Finding Dory" features both Ed O'Neill (Jay) and Ty Burrell (Phil).
    • Dylan and Andy not only share a love for Haley, but their actors share a birthday: November 7.
    • Haley mentions that Andy looks like a LEGO. Adam would then later voice a LEGO in The LEGO Batman Movie.
  • Hollywood Homely: 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 actress hit puberty...
    • Claire is often treated as less beautiful than Gloria. Have they even seen how incredibly stunning Julie is?
  • Idiot Plot: "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.
    • Not to mention no sense of hearing, since they couldn't hear Jay and Gloria (in high heels!) dashing up and down the stairs dragging around a pair of rolling suitcases.
    • In "Marco Polo," the Dunphys check into a motel while their house is being treated for mold. First, why does Claire secretly get a room of her own, while everyone else is packed into a single room? Couldn't they have three Dunphys in one room and two in the other to reduce crowding? And why stay in a motel? Why not stay with Jay and Gloria or Mitch and Cam?
      • This is explained in the episode. It was a deliberate ploy by Phil to force them to stay together, naively assuming they'll bond as a family. The reason they didn't get separate rooms is Phil lied and said the hotel was booked full, Claire inadvertently discovers the place is half-empty.
      • There'd have to be clue, however. Wouldn't they notice a half-empty parking lot or the lack of other hotel guests? And wouldn't someone have suggested another hotel? Let alone the close family living nearby that they could stay with?

  • Informed Wrongness: In "Fight or Flight," Manny is being bullied at his cooking class by a guy who punched him in the groin hard enough to make him drop to the floor in pain. Jay teaches him to throw a punch so he can defend himself. The next time he goes to class, the bully comes up behind him and menacingly says, "Hey Delgado, you want a piece of this?" Manny turns and punches him in the face, after which it is revealed that the guy was offering him a piece of apple crumble as a way of apologizing for his earlier behavior, and that he was acting out because his parents were divorcing. Manny is horrified at what he did, and even Jay tries to eschew responsibility when he finds out what was going on, but it's pretty hard to sympathize with the bully. He says he felt bad about "teasing" Manny, but that's not what happened; he assaulted Manny in a pretty humiliating fashion. Maybe Manny shouldn't have been quite so fast to throw a punch, but the other boy was certainly old enough to know that violence has consequences.
  • Les Yay: In "The Wow Factor" when Claire and Cam attempt to outwit each other while trying to flip a house, Cam recruits Pam, an actual contractor who also happens to be a lesbian. In order for her to swing Claire's way, Claire "puts on a little show" for her by doing things such as showing off some skin, making her cleavage visible, and even "accidentally" spills water onto her white shirt.
  • Memetic Mutation: A gif of Gloria smacking Jay while screaming "I KNEW IIIIIIIIIIIIIT!" is a pretty popular reaction image.
    • Why The Face?
    • When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like WHAT??!!
    • Phil'sophy
    • What the hell is that?!?! An alpaca! I got the last one!
    • I know all the dances to High School Musical so...
    • Luke, grab that little hoe
    • Today I get to talk about the love of my life... Residential real estate
    • ....Ooooohh it burns!!
    • "Shake it.... the container Cam."
    • Is Phil sexy?!
    • The entirety of Gloria, Cam, Mitch and Lily being in the Vietnamese restaurant.
    • IT SENDED!!!
    • "TAXI! They don't stop for me because I'm Latina." "Or because that was just a yellow car."
    • WHOOOOO!!
    • Whenever someone mentions something about a movie in 3D, expect this gif to show up.
    • I vaguely remember someone crying.
    "I'm playing a game. It's called 'every time I'm depressed, I take a drink."
    "That game exists. It's called alcoholism."
  • One-Scene Wonder: Stephen Merchant as the Vegas bellhop.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Haley was probably the least popular character in Seasons 1-4. However, the fact that getting expelled from college actually triggered some decent Character Development, coupled with her Will They or Won't They? dynamic with Andy, has given her a significant increase in popularity since then and she's since emerged as one of the most popular characters on the show.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • The Scrappy: Haley early on. Manny also fits in this trope, as his precocious adult-child character can easily come off as annoying, unrealistic and the actor's delivery oftentimes cringeworthy.
  • Shipping: Averted in the first four seasons, due to the fact that nearly all of the characters in the show were, y'know, related, and that all three couples were long-term and very stable. Played Straight from Season 5 onward with Haley and Andy.
    • In real life, the whole cast all ship Haley and Andy together and they said that whenever Adam came on the show, that they were so excited to find out what would happen to Haley and Andy.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Has one in the episode "Snow Ball". While the main focal point of was Luke and Manny hosting the winter dance, it also features a homosexual boy named Damien bullying people in the dance particularly the football team. Mitchell, attending the dance as a chaperone notices this and believes that its just trying to hide his insecurities about being gay, only for Damien to pick on him as well, despite Mitchell also being gay. Eventually after many attempts to make Damien see the error of his ways, only to be continually insulted, he just shoves him in a locker. In short the anvil is, a bully can be anyone, can bully anyone, and some don't even need a reason to be a bully than it just feels good being one.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Due to Adam Devine's performance, Andy steals every scene he's in and is one of the most acclaimed recurring characters in recent history. His rare ability to have chemistry with the entire cast and his three-dimensional portrayal has many asking him to become a main character.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: In one episode, Phil and Claire are shopping and Phil turns to talk to an attractive woman. While doing so, he pushes the shopping cart into Claire knocking her over, and doesn't even notice because he's more concerned about the other woman, and when he finally does notice refuses to take any blame. Later, when they're arguing about it in front of the kids, they all instantly take Phil's side and spend the rest of the episode mocking her for "always having to be right" (even when she makes clearly factual statements like the Titanic hit an iceberg or how many fingers make five, not even Alex backs her up). Later, after tracking down video footage to prove her point, she's forced to admit she does always have to be right. Problem is, while getting surveillance camera footage was a ridiculously over the top response, the family had spent the entire episode being Jerkasses, and when Phil was given undeniable proof of what he'd done he instantly changed the subject, never facing the consequences.
  • You Are Not Alone: Andy helped Haley realise how strong and smart she is, and to fight for a guy that will treat you like your his whole world.
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