So, Modern Family was one of the most beloved American sitcoms of the 2010s. This TV show, styled as a mockumentary, focused on the lives of three families linked by patriarch Jay Pritchett. Today, we will be counting down the top 10 episodes of Modern Family.
Best Modern Family Episodes
10. Good Grief (S10, E5)
In this final season episode, we learn that Jay’s ex-wife and Claire and Mitchell’s mother, Dede, has died. Dede was one of the zaniest and most unhinged characters in Modern Family – which says a lot. This episode is full of just as many heart-warming moments as funny ones. Gloria begs God not to let Dede haunt her. Jay seems to care more about his sandwich going missing than his ex-wife’s death.
Despite the humour rife throughout this episode, some deeper themes depict strange coping mechanisms. Hayley uses food as a comfort. Claire deflects her sadness by getting angry. Alex uses sex to distract herself from feeling vulnerable and upset. In the end, the family are brought closer together by remembering the good times they had with Dede.
9. Australia (S5, E20)
Another episode is based on grief. This time, the Modern Family gang head to Australia. Phil’s mother left the family money to head to Australia after her death to see where Phil was conceived. Mitchell and Cameron reunite with an old friend who has since become a celebrity. They are blinded to his annoying personality by his fame. Alex tries to write about the trip for her college application.
Jay and Claire are too focused on work to enjoy their holiday, which ruins the trip for their respective partners. The best episodes of Modern Family tend to be the ones in which the whole family are together. This episode remains a fan favourite. It brings the whole family together in a sentimental setting and deals with the tough feelings of grief and loss.
8. Clean Out Your Junk Drawer (S7, E8)
Feelings are the topic of this episode of Modern Family. The parents attend a therapy session by a psychologist. Haley and Alex meet up at Alex’s university and have a heart-to-heart. This episode shows the depth of most of the main characters. It gives audiences a closer look into their emotional problems. Jay struggles with feelings of toxic masculinity and his relationship with his stoic, cold father. Mitchell and Cameron have problems with healthy communication.
Phil struggles to be honest with Claire about her faults due to not wanting to upset her. Haley confides in Alex about her messy affair with Andy. Alex tells Haley she is ashamed of her own choice in male suitors. This episode delves deeper into the relationships between the characters. We get a lot of character development from Jay and Cameron. We are also able to better understand some of the flaws in the main characters.
7. Queer Eyes, Full Hearts (S6, E7)
Haley gets a lot of character development in this episode of Modern Family. Andy helps her prepare for a job interview. She gets turned away at the interview. Instead of giving up like many would expect her to, she fights for the job. In the end, she is offered it. This episode marks a change in Haley’s self-esteem and shows her growth from a lazy, spoiled teenager into a mature, tenacious young adult. Furthermore, this episode is an important one for Gloria’s character. She tries to persuade her son Manny to learn Spanish in school, his mother tongue.
However, Manny would rather learn French as he prefers it to Spanish. Gloria hires a Spanish tutor to no avail. Upset, she delivers one of her best and most heartbreaking monologues. She breaks down in front of her family, telling them how hard speaking a second language all the time is for her. She explains how she would just love to speak her first language with someone in her own family for once. This episode ends with a beautiful gesture from Jay as he professes his love for her in broken Spanish. He buys their family plane tickets to visit her hometown in Colombia.
6. Virgin Territory (S3, E16)
In this Modern Family episode, Phil learns that his eldest daughter Haley is no longer a virgin. He struggles to accept that she is becoming a young adult. The sheer awkwardness of this episode is hilarious but ends on a touching note when Phil tells Haley he trusts her to make her own decisions.
Gloria and Claire share a scarce bonding moment in this episode. Gloria tries to tag along to Claire’s yoga session, but Claire gives her the cold shoulder. Frustrated at Claire’s constant rejection of her, Gloria confronts her. Claire reluctantly lets Gloria in on a secret – she doesn’t go to yoga. Instead, she blows off steam at a local gun range. This episode marks one of the few in the whole show where Claire and Gloria share an interest and bond.
5. Snip (S4, E3)
Phil makes an appointment to get a vasectomy in this episode. Mitchell tries to coax Cameron into taking a part-time job now that their daughter has started school. However, Cameron does not take criticism well. He feels insecure about his lack of a career and lashes out at Mitchell. This episode also gives a brief look into Alex’s school life. She befriends a goth girl named Skylar, who she tries to impress. Claire embarrasses Alex in front of Skylar and she leaves. Claire overhears Alex tell Haley that she is glad her mother got rid of Skylar, as she didn’t even like her that much. Alex and Haley talk about the times Claire has helped them, which Claire overhears and becomes emotional.
One of the best moments of this episode, and of the whole show, is Phil’s heart to heart with Jay. Jay isn’t pleasant or helpful to Phil often. Their special moment in this episode when Jay takes Phil to his appointment is rare and moving – even if it does end in a visual gag at Phil’s expense. In the end, Claire and Phil decide to hold off on the vasectomy.
4. Strangers On A Treadmill (S2, E4)
Claire and Mitchell agree to do each other’s dirty work in this hilarious episode. Claire tells Mitchell’s partner, Cameron, that he doesn’t look good in his new biker shorts – which he doesn’t take well. Mitchell tells Claire’s husband, Phil, that his jokes aren’t funny – at least, he tries to, before caving at the last minute.
Claire takes it upon herself to stop Phil from making a fool of himself by telling corny jokes at a work banquet. However, Phil ends up having the room in hysterics. Claire apologises for her lack of faith in him, and Phil tells her he understands. Claire and Phil’s relationship is one of the strongest in the whole show. This episode shows how they can tolerate each other even at their worst.
3 Best Modern Family Episodes
3. Party Crasher (S4, E12)
This episode remains one of the best in the entirety of Modern Family, particularly for its depiction of Haley and Phil’s changing father-daughter relationship. Haley feels like her father is disappointed in her since she got kicked out of university. In an attempt to fight for his attention, brings home an older man. Phil becomes furious at Haley’s creepy new relationship. Claire tells him Haley will get bored and dump him if Phil pretends not to care.
This episode is filled with side-splitting jokes and an incredible acting performance from Ty Burrell, who plays Phil. The most emotional and moving moment of this episode is Phil’s monologue to Claire about how much he loves Haley and how no man on Earth will ever be good enough for her. Haley happily overhears this speech and hugs her father.
This episode also includes some tender moments between Jay and Gloria. Gloria’s water breaks and she is about to give birth to her second child. Gloria is often depicted as flawless. This episode humanises her when she confides in Jay that she is insecure about her motherhood skills. Jay’s soft side is rarely revealed but comes through in this episode as he supports his wife in her time of need.
2. Coal Digger (S1, E5)
Gloria and Claire air out their differences in this episode. When their children get into a fight in school, it’s brought to the families’ attention that Claire once called Gloria a ‘gold-digger’ behind her back. Upset and hurt, Gloria storms out of the family function and locks herself in her room. Phil attempts to console her but is hilariously distracted by her beauty and her lack of personal boundaries. Claire admits her jealousy to Gloria and apologises, making for a heart-warming episode.
We also see Jay attempt to bond with Cameron in this episode. Throughout Modern Family, Jay struggles to accept Mitchell’s sexuality. Mitchell’s partner, Cameron, is as big a football fan as Jay, so the two watch a game together and attempt to bond. This doesn’t always go smoothly, as Jay is a lot more stoic and closed-off than emotional and effervescent Cameron. However, in a moment of vulnerability, Jay asks Cameron if he would find him attractive if he were also a gay man. Much to Mitchell’s discomfort, Cameron tells Jay is a very handsome man. The scene is for laughs but makes for a rare warm moment between the two men.
1. Suddenly, Last Summer (S5, E1)
This episode is at the top of our list of the best episodes of Modern Family because it incorporates all of the things audiences love about the show. So, it has hysterical comedy, heartwarming sentiment and most importantly, family love. When Mitchell and Cameron finally do propose to each other at the end of the episode, it is simple and understated. They don’t even have to ask the question; they simply just say “yes” to each other. This sums up what we cannot say into words: the love we have for our family, whether chosen or blood-related. The true heart of the show comes in this episode and that is why it tops our list of the best episodes of Modern Family.
This episode centres around the marriage proposal of Mitchell and Cameron. Gay marriage has just been legalised in California, so Mitch and Cam attempt multiple times to propose to one another. Meanwhile, Claire and Phil try to organise some alone time away from their children.
Summary Of The Best Modern Family Episodes
Modern Family won the hearts of audiences by bringing together a mix of heart-warming family sentiment with the wacky personalities of the characters and genius comedy of the writers. The entire cast had wonderful chemistry. The only downfall of the show was the dwindling writing towards the later seasons. It seemed as if the writers struggled for new story concepts once the children grew up. Despite the last few seasons being less quality, a few good episodes remained. Fans seemed happy with the conclusion of the show in 2020.
It’s questionable if we will see a spin-off. However, it’s possible a reboot of the show could exist in the next ten or twenty years, centred around the children of Haley and Dylan, similar to Fuller House. We can only hope if a reboot ever happens that it carries half the charm and wit of the original Modern Family, with this going down as one of the greatest sitcoms of the century.
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