Top 10 Times Modern Family Got Real



Top 10 Times Modern Family Got Real

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Jesse Singer
Somtimes "Modern Family" got real. Our countdown includes Alex's meltdown, DeDe Pritchett dies, Jay cries on Mother's Day, and more!

Top 10 Modern Family Got Real

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Times Modern Family Got Real.

For this list, we’ll be looking at those times the family sitcom delved into some sad, emotional and/or heartfelt subjects that weren’t all about the laughter.

After the video, leave us a real comment below.

#10: Mitchell & Cameron Denied a Second Baby
"Baby on Board"

When Cam and Mitchell got the call that a pregnant woman had chosen them to adopt her baby and she was in labour, they rushed to the hospital prepared to leave with the newest member of their family. But things didn’t go as planned as the grandmother of the child announced that she was going to raise it. The scene is played for laughs as it plays out like a Telenovela, with angry women, face slaps and a sexy priest. However, at the core of it all is Cam and Mitch not getting a baby. It’s a difficult moment for the couple and one that leads to them taking a step back and deciding not to pursue adoption for the time being.

#9: Alex's Meltdown
"Under Pressure"

Alex is a brilliant girl and an academically driven student who puts a ton of pressure on herself to succeed. It makes for a lot of funny jokes, but in the season five episode, “Under Pressure” this constant need to be the best comes to a head when she breaks down during her 16th birthday party. Alex speaks to a therapist, who she found by herself of course, and it’s during their session that we really get a deeper dive into her stress and her belief that no one really understands how she feels. During an open house at school, Claire begins to realize the stress Alex must be under and at the end gives her a real shoulder to cry on - which the middle child does.

#8: Jay Breaks Down at Family Therapy
"Clean Out Your Junk Drawer"

Jay, the patriarch of the Pritchett family, is old school, tough and not one to wear his emotions on his sleeve. We know he grew up with a tough, no nonsense father too, but he generally doesn’t share much about how that makes him feel. That is until the family has a session with a doctor and self-help author who forces them, over the course of the day, to clean out their emotional junk drawer. While Jay, and the other Pritchetts don’t take it very seriously at first, eventually Jay has a real moment about his father that brought him, and probably many watching, to tears.

#7: Mitch Tells Jay Not to Attend the Wedding
"Message Received"

While Jay and Mitchell’s relationship improved over the course of the series, Jay wasn’t always as accepting of his son’s sexuality as he eventually became. And although things had gotten better by season five, some of Jay’s prejudices came to the surface as Mitch and Cam prepared for their wedding. As the cost of the event grows, Jay makes some comments about how they should tone it down and how he doesn’t want his friends there to see it. To hear your father say that just before your wedding day would be hard for anyone to hear, and as a result Mitch tells Jay to not bother coming. Thankfully father and son work through it though and Jay is ultimately there to walk Mitch down the aisle.

#6: Jay Refers to Cam as “Mitchell’s Friend”
"Fifteen Percent"

Early on in the series, the discomfort that Jay has with his son being gay is put on display when he introduces Cam as Mitchell’s friend. Obviously this pisses Mitch off and he gets back at his dad by telling him one of his friends is gay (but he isn’t). This first season episode is titled “Fifteen Percent” in reference to Mitchell’s closing monologue about how that is as much as people can change, if they want to. We might argue that, considering where he started, Jay’s “change” over the show’s 11 seasons, especially in regards to his gay son might have been more than fifteen percent. But this was season one and he sure wasn’t there yet.

#5: Jay Cries on Mother's Day
"Mother's Day"

As we’ve already discussed, Jay Pritchett considers himself a man’s man who keeps his emotions in check and doesn’t like to look weak. But near the end of season two, we get one of our first cracks in his armor in the “Mother’s Day” episode while he’s making his mom’s sauce with Phil. During the process, they find a poem Jay wrote about the recipe for the perfect mom and their reading of it floods him with unexpected emotions. Later at dinner, he tries to play it off as nothing, but he again breaks down with the whole family around. But instead of pulling back, he lets himself feel the feels.

#4: Jay Takes Manny to Disneyland
"The Bicycle Thief"

“Modern Family” didn’t waste any time getting real with the next item on our list coming in just the second episode of the series. Jay is again at the center of the realness, but this time he is living up to the adage that ends the episode that the biggest part of being a good dad is just being there. Although Jay had a trip planned for him and Gloria, when Manny’s biological father decides he would rather play craps than spend time with Manny at Disneyland as planned, Jay is there. He makes up some excuse for Manny’s father and changes his plans so that he, Gloria and Manny can go to Disneyland together.

#3: Grace Dunphy's Funeral
"Goodnight Gracie"

Funerals are often times when shows get real and the funeral for Phil’s mom in season four was no exception. The moments that stand out from the episode are the ones with Alex, who was very close to her grandma and at first is confused and disappointed when all her grandma seemingly left her was a lighter and a short letter. However, when more of the letter is discovered it all makes sense as Grandma really did understand her - which as we learned earlier, she didn’t feel like anyone else did. This leads to a closing moment filled with smiles and, if you’re anything like us, a bunch of tears as well.

#2: DeDe Pritchett Dies
"Good Grief"

Sure, Jay and DeDe had their problems: she wasn’t very accepting of Gloria and her relationship with her kids was complicated. But as Jay’s ex-wife and Claire and Mitch’s mom, she was a part of this “Modern Family,” she was loved and her loss affected everyone in their own way. They say that the only two things guaranteed in life are death and taxes, but that doesn’t make it any less painful to loved ones left behind. DeDe’s death was the big shock of season 10, but as we already saw and will again, it wouldn’t be the last time the show would get real with the passing of a member of the family.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Lily Growing Up, “Red Alert”
Mitch & Cam Are Out of Their Element When Their Daughter Starts Sloughing off Her Endometrial Tissue

Claire Worries About Losing the Connection to Her Kids, "See You Next Fall"
Seeing Your Little Babies Grow Up Is Never Easy for a Parent

Alex Not Fitting in at College, “Spread Your Wings”
Like Ducks, Sometimes You Have to Let Kids Go & Have Their Own Experiences

#1: Phil's Dad Dies

By the time season 11 came around, the family had already lost Phil’s mom, Claire and Mitch’s mother and Manny’s turtle, to name a few characters who had passed away. But there was one more heart wrenching death to come and that was Phil’s dad, Frank. Phil and his father were definitely two peas from the same pod and there are few sons who look up to their dad more than Phil did his. This one hit hard, but as with the death of his mother, who Alex sent off with fireworks, Phil celebrated his dad in the most perfect way he could - with big penguin footprints!