Today's American families come in all shapes and sizes. Just ask these three families. One is a traditional family with a working dad, homemaker mom and their two kids; one is a gay couple who have just adopted an Asian baby and the third is an older man married to a much younger Latina woman. Shot from the perspective of an unseen documentary filmmaker, this comedy takes a modern look at the complications that come with being a family in 2009.
If you thought your family was out there, wait till you meet this crew!
Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) have been married 16 years. They have three kids: Teen Haley (Sarah Hyland), middle child Alex (Ariel Winter) and young son Luke (Nolan Gould).
The question posed to the patriarch of each family is: What's the key to being a great dad? Judging by the varied responses, we're thinking not one of these Modern men has a clue.
A few of our favorite Modern Family members splinter off into some pretty unusual pairings and Cameron introduces Mitchell to Costco, aka nirvana.
Jay's ex-wife comes to town to apologize to the entire family for "the incident." What's the incident, you ask? Well, let's just say the incident is… pretty darn funny.
Every modern family has issues. Some choose to talk about them; others prefer to sweep things under the rug. But, as Phil points out, you'll end up with a lumpy rug. His wisdom never ceases to amaze us.
It's the first day of school. Luke is worried because he didn't do his summer assignment. Alex struggles to carry all her extracurricular supplies, including a cello. And Haley is miffed that her driving instructor is picking her up at school. She doesn't want her friends to think she's dating a 40-year-old who's not even cute. Makes sense.
The family comes out to support Manny's newfound interest, fencing; Phil is determined to find Luke's hidden talent.
Phil is psyched to give Claire her anniversary presents. Yes, we said presents – plural. But Claire's only gift for her hubby is coupons he can redeem for five free hugs. She says Phil is impossible to buy for because he never wants anything. Out of Claire's earshot, Phil rattles off a wish list of gifts that includes: a robot dog, night vision goggles, a bug vacuum, a GPS watch, speakers that look like rocks and a yogurt maker.
Luke's birthday falls right around Thanksgiving, so it usually gets lost in the holiday shuffle. But this year Phil and Claire decide to have a blowout bash since the whole family is going to be together for the first time in a long time. Sounds like fun, right? Then why does somebody end up in the emergency room?
Claire and Phil threaten to take away Christmas when the kids get in trouble; Cameron and Mitchell take Lily to get her first picture with Santa.
When Manny's dad, Javier (guest star Benjamin Bratt), shows up, Gloria convinces Jay to let her charismatic ex-hubby stay at the house. During a late-night game of pool, Jay tells Javier that he doesn't buy his adventure-filled "great guy" act. All he sees is a guy who doesn't show up for his son. Javier confesses that it's hard to come there because it's difficult for him to compete with Jay.
Haley accuses Alex of reading her journal, a charge the middle Dunphy child vehemently denies. This issue gets put on hold when Claire discovers that a picture of a topless woman driving a tractor has been downloaded on her computer. She assumes Luke is the one who was gazing at the unfettered farm girl, but the naked truth is that it was Phil. See, he gets these emails from a friend and still hasn't gotten the whole "delete" thing down.
While picking up flowers, Cameron runs into Jay and a few of his friends outside a deli. Amidst some small talk involving a hunky Antonio Banderas-type in silk boxers, Jay introduces Cam as his son's "friend." This ticks off Mitchell, who is waiting in the car. He can't believe that his dad still has issues with him being gay, especially when he tells Jay that his friend Shorty (guest star Chazz Palminteri) prefers the company of men. Jay can't believe it. But Mitchell says, "My gaydar is never wrong and it is pinging like we're at a bathhouse."
Claire has lunch with her old work friend, Valerie (guest star Minnie Driver), a successful career woman with lovers in multiple cities. At first, Claire thinks Valerie envies her family life with the kids and Phil the Thrill. (Yes, that’s what she used to call him.) But when Valerie gets a call regarding a big promotion, she doesn’t tell Claire right away, as she was trying to spare her feelings. Valerie isn’t envious of Claire. She pities her. Claire decides to invite her old pal back to the house to prove she’s living the good life. Think that’ll work?
Claire and Phil decide to ditch their traditional, ho-hum Valentine's Day routine for something a bit more scandalous. They engage in a little role-playing at a hotel bar. Phil assumes the role of sly speaker salesman Clive Bixby (it says so right on his nametag). Claire is Julianna. No last name. Just Julianna. It's very Rihanna.
Cameron invites Lily's pediatrician, Dr. Miura, over for dinner. The guys are devastated when Lily says her first word while in Dr. Miura's arms. It's "mommy." Such an utterance is every gay father's worst nightmare. Cameron believes this tragedy occurred because Dr. Miura is Asian and Lily was raised by Vietnamese nurses for six months. Mitchell feels that, in addition to her Asian-ness, the good doctor also has breasts. How can they possibly compete?
Phil has 447 Facebook friends, with one of them being his old girlfriend, Denise (guest star Judy Greer). Claire is suspicious because the recently-divorced Denise wants to meet Phil at an intimate French restaurant. To dispel any thoughts that his ex has an agenda, Phil invites Denise over to the house to meet Claire and the kids
Luke has to give a report on Vincent van Gogh and Haley needs 40 cupcakes for a fundraiser. Both projects are due tomorrow. Time to divide and conquer. Claire will help Haley if she can rely on Phil to work with Luke. No problem. Claire wants her loving husband to keep Luke focused, but Phil doesn't want to micromanage the situation. He'll give Luke some leeway to do his own thing. Sounds like a plan. A bad plan, according to Claire.
Phil had a great birthday when he was 11. It was a time when he hit 10 straight fastballs at the batting cage. Then his buddy stepped in and took one in the groin. Phil yelled, "Ball two!" Everyone laughed. It was at that moment that Phil knew he was funny. This year's birthday promises to be even better. Why? One word: iPad.
Nobody likes the abusive coach of the Li'l Dribblers. That's the name of Luke and Manny's youth league basketball team. Phil tells his family that the coach better cool it or he's going to introduce him to the Captain and Tennille, a nickname he's given to his fists of steel. This "You Better Not Do That to Me One More Time" attitude is not something we've come to expect from our favorite "Love Will Keep Us Together" dad. But in Phil's words, the coach is a real "mother-scratcher." That means he's mean.
Phil's dad, Frank, parks his monster-sized RV in the Dunphy driveway when he shows up for an unexpected visit. Surprise! Well, Claire's surprised. Phil knew all along that his dad was en route from Florida; he just neglected to tell his loving wife. That's never a good thing.
Jay and Gloria stroll through the airport preparing to embark on a trip to Hawaii. It's Jay's birthday, so Gloria wanted to treat him to romantic dream vacation for two. Make that eleven. Surprise! The entire family is coming along on the trip. Gloria got plane tickets for everyone. She didn't spare any expense. She didn't have to. It's all Jay's money.
Aloha! All of our favorite Modern Family members have landed on the island of Maui. Let the vacation begin!
Claire has put a lot of effort into planning a family portrait. Everyone will be dressed in glorious white outfits as the best photographer in town captures the entire extended family looking its finest. What could go wrong?