22 Behind-The-Scenes Modern Family Facts

Sammy Tran

Modern Family is an American television mockumentary sitcom that premiered on ABC in 2009. It follows the lives of Jay Pritchett and his family, all of whom live in suburban Los Angeles. Pritchett’s family includes his second wife, his stepson, as well as his two adult children and their spouses and children. Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan conceived the series while sharing stories of their own “modern families”. Most families can relate to this show in some way, perhaps that is why it has been so successful. Enjoy these behind the scenes facts about Modern Family.

22. It’s a Documentary

Why are the Dunphys and Pritchetts always talking to the camera?  It is because Modern Family was initially conceived as a documentary shot by ‘Geert Floorjte’, a Dutch filmmaker who had lived with the Pritchetts years ago as a teenage exchange student and came back to the U.S. as an adult to film them.


Geert got cut before Modern Family entered production because show creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd decided he was unnecessary.

21. Is it still the same show?

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting produced a frame-by-frame remake of Modern Family, entitled Haft Sang which premiered on June 30, 2014.  Also, Haley Dunphy’s character is replaced by a teenage boy.

20. Luke is smart?

Cam isn’t the only character who has you fooled. Nolan Gould (Luke) has been a member of MENSA since he was just four years old. How does a four year old pass that test?

19. Luke is musical?

Nolan can do other things too? Apparently he is proficient with string instruments, his primary instrument being the banjo. On an interview with Ellen he was given a sitar and proceeded to lay down an interesting little jam.

18. Fun for the whole family

Both First Lady Michelle Obama, in an interview with Kal Penn at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and Ann Romney, in an interview with The Insider, have cited Modern Family as their favorite TV show.

17. Jay can roll

Ed O’Neill has a black belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.

16. Claire is on pace

Julie Bowen (Claire) wears a pacemaker. The actress has been wearing a pacemaker since her 20s due to heart problems. Maybe everyone should take it easy on her.

15. Also Inspired by real events

Fizbo the clown was not an invention of the show.

Eric Stonestreet (plays Cam) began dressing up as Fizbo when he was just nine years old. By the time he was 11, he was performing at kids’ birthday parties. He’s not sure where the name Fizbo came from.

14. Frozen in time

O’Neill’s characters have been reading the same newspaper for 30 years. Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Jay reads the same prop newspaper on Modern Family that O’Neill’s character Al Bundy read on Married…with Children. Many shows use the same prop newspaper because all of the photos and text have been cleared legally.

13. A Mouthful

Manny’s full name is Manuel Alberto Javier Alejandro Delgado.

12. Timing is everything

Julie Bowen was 8½ months pregnant during the pilot episode. When Julie Bowen (Claire) first read the script, she fell in love with the show. During the episode, Bowen had to hide her pregnancy behind various props including cereal boxes and laundry baskets.

11. Level Playing Field

Since Season 1, all the actors on the show have made a pact to submit themselves to the awards as Supporting Actor and Actresses, so that no one in the ensemble considers him/herself to be more important.

10. I need another cleaning

Sofia Vergara may seem like a natural for the role of the vivacious and va-voomy trophy wife, but she was nearly a dentist. She was pre-dental in her native country of Colombia but dropped out two semesters before she graduated.

9. Dunphy house

The Dunphy house situated in the Los Angeles Cheviot Hills neighborhood sold for $2.15 million. It was originally built in 2006 and was used solely for its exterior shots. Most surprising of all is that the Dunphy abode was actually empty.

Only the exterior of the house was used to depict the Dunphy residence on the show, as any interior scenes are shot on sound stages.

8. When do we want it?

Season 4 of Modern Family was postponed due to legal action before a salary negotiation was reached.

After much deliberation the studio decided to give all the members of the family a substantial raise and subsequent raises every season. These days the cast, including the likes of Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell), Eric Stonestreet (Cam), Ty Burrell (Phil) and Julie Bowen (Claire), walk away with salaries of around $200,000-$250,000 per episode.

7. Oops you missed it again.

It’s no surprise that pop icon Britney Spears is a huge fan of Modern Family and has made no secret of it on social media. What is surprising however is that the star was offered a role in the show back in season 3.

It appears Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan stated that Britney’s camp had unfortunately responded too late in the game and that the third season had already been planned.

6. Phil was homeless, but not van-less

While he was working towards getting his graduate degree at Penn State University, he decided to save money by living out of his van.

Everybody’s favourite TV dad is now famous for his portrayal of Phil Dunphy and fast forward a few years and Ty walked away with two Emmys both in 2011 and 2014.

5. Momming is hard

Julie Bowen’s son Oliver broke her first Emmy. From then on she says that she has kept her awards on very tall shelves.

4. Inches

Ed O’Neill was briefly part of the American football team Pittsburgh Steelers. He was released before played his first season.

3. Lilies

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons plays Lily because the original twins playing the role got fussy once they became toddlers.

2. Gilded

Modern Family has won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and 6 Writers Guild of America Awards. The show also later received a GLSEN Respect Award for its portrayal of “positive images and storylines that reflect a diverse America”.

1. The Greatest

In December 2013, TV Guide ranked it number 43 on its list of the 60 Best Series of all time.

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