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.
Modern Family Facts
27. 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.
26. 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. In their version the same-sex relationship between Cam and Mitchell was replaced by a heterosexual relationship . Also, Haley Dunphy’s character is replaced by a teenage boy.
Even though he is the best at acting like a particularly eccentric gay man, Eric Stonestreet is straight.
24. 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?
23. 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.
22. 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.
21. Jay can roll
Ed O’Neill has a black belt in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.
20. 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.
19. 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.
18. 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.
17. Give the people what they want
There was a Facebook petition for Mitchell and Cam to kiss. In 2010, the “Let Cam & Mitchell Kiss on Modern Family”! Facebook petition was launched. In September of that year, the characters kissed on camera for the first time in the background of a scene.
16. A Mouthful
Manny’s full name is Manuel Alberto Javier Alejandro Delgado.
15. 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.
14. 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.
13. 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.
12. 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.
11. Lily is a monster
Lily has created some of the funniest scenarios of the past season both behind and in front of the cameras. Part of her charm is that you really never know what Lily is about to say or do especially in front of the press and she decides to debut her first F-bomb. Apparently she only said fudge but we will let you be the judge.
10. 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.
9. 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.
8. 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.
7. 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.
Ed O’Neill was briefly part of the American football team Pittsburgh Steelers. He was released before played his first season.
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”.
3. Inspired by real life events
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, plays Mitchell, had to come out to his father on multiple occasions until his father finally believed him. The show incorporated this into his story line as Mitchell had to come out to Jay on multiple occasions before he was taken seriously.
2. The Greatest
In December 2013, TV Guide ranked it number 43 on its list of the 60 Best Series of all time.
1. You go girl!
Sarah Hyland (Haley) was granted a restraining order against ex-boyfriend Matthew Prokop in a Los Angeles court. As well as claiming she was choked, pushed, and threatened by Prokop, Hyland alleges his mother told her she would be to blame if she ended their relationship and he committed suicide. Hyland has had to endure some terrible things but has come out the other side on top and a stronger person.