15 Best Modern Family Episodes of the Series   3 comments

It was the television season of 2009-2010 when we were first introduced to three different families: the Dunphys with control freak mom Claire and happy go lucky dad Phil, the Pritchetts with sexy and loud Latina Gloria and a much older husband Jay, and gay couple Mitchell and Cameron. Four years later, with four Comedy Series Emmys, stars as household names, and a hundred plus nominations from different TV award giving bodies, Modern Family is definitely one of the landmarks of TV comedy this generation.

And as the show celebrate their 100th episode this week, let’s take a visit down memory lane and check the show’s fifteen best episodes from the first 99 ones:

All photos are courtesy of abc.go.com/shows/modern-family/photos

1.01 Pilot

01. PILOT (Season 1, Episode 1)
Written by: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd
Directed by: Jason Winer

I’m very lenient when it comes to pilot episodes of comedies since it needs a certain amount of time before the show can finally find and settle with the direction of where it wants to go. With that said, Modern Family is off to a good start by coming up with one of the funniest pilot episodes in years. The show gave a clear background of all the characters and introduced us to their world instantly. And of course, who would ever forget the Circle of Life moment which is like one of the best use of the song since…well…uhm… The Lion King?

1.09 Fizbo

02. FIZBO (Season 1, Episode 9)
Written by: Paul Corrigan, Brad Walsh
Directed by: Jason Winer

Eight episodes later, and we had the first birthday of the show when Luke Dunphy had his animal themed birthday. Between Gloria jumping as the men drools over her, Claire trying her best in the bead section of the party, and the introduction of Fizbo the clown a.k.a. one of the most memorable alter egos in the show, it’s definitely one of the show’s strongest episodes.

1.15 My Funky Valentine

03. MY FUNKY VALENTINE (Season 1, Episode 15)
Written by: Jerry Collins
Directed by: Michael Spiller

Valentine episodes are common among comedy series, so it’s hard to come up with a memorable one, but the show’s first take on it is its best one yet. If Cameron has Fizbo, then Phil and Claire has Clive and Julianna as their alter egos. This also addressed the initial observation between Jay and Gloria’s age differences, but in a very comedic manner. Now if only the show’s succeeding Valentine-themed ones were as great as this one…

2.02 The Kiss

04. THE KISS (Season 2, Episode 2)
Written by: Abraham Higginbotham
Directed by: Scott Ellis

As I mentioned above, one of the best things about Modern Family is how they address the issues about the show and the characters in it. During the first season, the show received some flack for not showing any kisses between gay couple Cam and Mitch.  And with this second episode from their sophomore season, they finally managed to answer all back in a very heartfelt manner. Kudos, guys!

2.03 Earthquake

05. EARTHQUAKE (Season 2, Episode 3)
Written by: Paul Corrigan, Brad Walsh
Directed by: Michael Spiller

During its first airing, it was a pretty weird theme as it was up against Glee‘s Grilled Cheesus episode. Both involved religious themed storylines, and we saw both of it in the same week. But this one is probably more consistent, as it showed three different storylines, all funny as they revolve around one incident: the earthquake. If Gloria killing a rat isn’t enough for you, then maybe Phil surviving a cabinet fall while Claire is stuck with the plumber might do the trick.

2.05 Unplugged

06. UNPLUGGED (Season 2, Episode 5)
Written by: Steven Levitan
Directed by: Michael Spiller

Definitely what I consider as my most favorite episode of Modern Family ever, I have probably lost count on how many times I’ve seen this episode. On one hand, you have Cam and Mitch battling it out with a lesbian couple for a shot at an exclusive school. On the other, you have Gloria’s rowdy fight with her neighbor’s dog. And over at the Dunphys, a contest on who can stand away from technology the longest is happening. If Earthquake managed to bring three storylines with one relation, then this one had three separate storylines all working effectively. I still howl like a mad man everytime Gloria mentions that “jar of pickols“.

2.06 Halloween

07. HALLOWEEN (Season 2, Episode 6)
Written by: Jeffrey Richman
Directed by: Michael Spiller

Winner of the Emmy for Best Directing in a Comedy Series, the show’s first Halloween episode is definitely a riot in almost any aspect. You have Mitchell being stuck in the bathroom of his office donning a Spiderman costume, Phil and Claire’s over the top Halloween preparations, and Gloria’s accent issues are the highlight of this episode. As the show went on, Modern Family have become some sort of formulaic wit their treatment of the episodes, but this belongs to the earlier ones where everything is still fresh and clicking.

2.08 Manny Get Your Gun

08. MANNY GET YOUR GUN (Season 2, Episode 8)
Written by: Danny Zuker
Directed by: Michael Spiller

It’s safe to say that one of the show’s secret weapons is its great use of its ensemble. That’s why storylines that involve the whole cast is such a joy to watch. For the show’s second season, it’s Manny’s turn to celebrate his birthday and while this would have been a perfect time for a celebration, the opposite happens to be the case for each of the family’s feuding issues. With that said, how the show managed to still end up on a sweet note is what earns the “aww” after watching this episode.

2.13 Caught in the Act

09. CAUGHT IN THE ACT (Season 2, Episode 13)
Written by: Steven Levitan, Jeffrey Richman
Directed by: Michael Spiller

It is no secret that most of the stories featured in the show were from real life experiences of the writing group. That’s why it’s even funnier when Caught in the Act was shown primarily because of them admitting who are responsible for what stories. It was writer Jeffrey Richman’s own experience on what happened to Cama nd Mitch’s spilling issue, while show creator Steven Levitan is guilty of the Dunphy’s. If you still need more evidence on why this episode is one of the show’s best, one simply has to remember that uncompromising position between Phil and Claire at the start of the episode to prove my point.

3.04 Door to Door

10. DOOR TO DOOR (Season 3, Episode 3)
Written by: Bill Wrubel
Directed by: Chris Koch

Moving on to the show’s third season, this is the first episode that particularly clicked with me. That “door to door” montage of Claire, Jay and Manny, and Cameron and Gloria is one of the best edited scenes of the whole series. This episode shows us the fatherly side of Jay, which is a rarity in the show and with his character. Plus points to that Streetcar Named Desire reference in Gloria and Cam’s story.

3.17 Leap Day

11. LEAP DAY (Season 3, Episode 17)
Written by: Danny Zuker
Directed by: Gail Mancuso

The leap day narrative has been done in at least three shows the week this was aired, but what made this one memorable is that they connected it with a character, as it was revealed that it was Cam’s birthday.  Just the mere fact that Cam is in denial that this is his 40th birthday, as compared to his claim that it’s his 10th one is already a hoot. Then you also have Phil’s wish for this day to be special which is so typical of his character to do, and of Claire to be the thorn in his rose of plans. Gloria and Jay’s was the filler one here, but as expected, they managed to wrap this up in the end with a heart-tugging celebration that involved the whole ensemble.

3.24 Baby on Board

12. BABY ON BOARD (Season 3, Episode 24)
Written by: Anraham Higginbotham
Directed by: Steven Levitan

Modern Family has a habit of screwing up their season finale episodes. In the first season, I would have preferred it if Hawaii was their last episode. In the second one, See You Next Fall made more sense as the season closer. But for the show’s third season, they finally managed to hit it the right way. As the episode began, it seemed like it’s your typical episode with all the comedy already. But it went to be more dramatic as it progresses, and it just ended on that bittersweet moment with Cam and Mitch under the stars. Also, it’s their first time to do a cliff hanger story with Gloria’s revelation.

4.07 Arrested

13. ARRESTED (Season 4, Episode 7)
Written by: Becky Mann, Audrey Sielaff
Directed by: Gail Mancuso

Current winner of the Directing in a Comedy Emmy, Arrested is a perfect throwback to the older Modern Family. At this stage in the show, they have already managed to pair up all possible combination in their ensemble, but it’s still refreshing to see them do it by threes instead. Also, it’s great that they focus some of their major storylines to the kids in the show (particularly Haley in this one, since the kids have already built a fanbase of their own, and has shown multiple times in the past that they are capable to deliver as well) since it’s always the adults who take up the credit in terms of the show’s acting.

4.24 Goodnight Gracie

14. GOODNIGHT GRACIE (Season 4, Episode 24)
Written by: Steven Levitan, Jeffrey Richman
Directed by: Steven Levitan

Now we’re even when it comes to season finales. If the first two finales were underwhelming, the latter two definitely were much better ones. Goodnight Gracie is a very dramatic arc to say the least, we’re attending a funeral after all. But if there’s one show that manages to bring the optimism in cases such as this, it’s definitely this one. It felt like an effective throwback to the first season where in the characters are not playing exaggerated versions of themselves (a habit most sitcoms are guilty of), and the sweetness isn’t totally forced. I also noticed how the spotlight in the series finales isn’t limited to one person only, and Alex giving that speech is a worthy way to end an uneven season.

5.02 First Days

15. FIRST DAYS (Season 5, Episode 2)
Written by: Paul Corrigan, Brad Walsh
Directed by: Steven Levitan

As for the show’s current season, what I particularly love about this episode is that it makes the show feel as if it’s a character in the episode as well. With this one, it’s as if the show is on its first day as well, as it tries out new approach in its storytelling. From the stories in the actual episode, up until the delivery of the “lesson” at the end and the transitions in between stories, this is Modern Family doing a different approach. And I’m sorry but I can’t let my discussion of this episode pass without mentioning that hilarious Gloria and Phil moments as commercial extras.

There you have it! Are you excited for the episode this week? And did you love their new OBB? Don’t forget to watch Modern Family this Wednesday, 9 PM on ABC.

Also, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

 

 

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3 responses to “15 Best Modern Family Episodes of the Series

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  1. I watched all seasons of Modern Family but I don’t remember some of the episodes in your list! But I did love 01, 03, 07, 08, and 12 too! 🙂

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