22 Behind the Scenes Facts About Modern Family

You know Modern Family.  Or at least, you should.  The show has been on for seven seasons and won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy for five of them.  But we suspect there are glaring gaps in your Modern Family knowledge.  Solve that problem by clicking through the following list!

1. The stories come from real life

Source: Phil & Claire. Digital Image. Popsugar. October 30, 2017.

The show’s writers take stories directly from their real lives.  When one writer, Danny Zuker, was sick with gallstones and had to call 911, his wife prettied herself up to look good for their hometown’s famously attractive ENTs.  This made the show.

2. Sofía Vergara was already a star in Latin America

Source: Sofia Vergara. Digital Image. Dash of Wellness. May 9, 2016.

Sofía Vergara was already a star in Latin America before catching on with the wider culture on Modern Family.  When the cast and crew would go out to restaurants before the show aired, she would get a lot of attention from Latin American fans.

3. The creators knew they had something early

Source: Phil & Haley. Digital Image. Zimbio. January  18, 2012.

The creators shot a screen test with Ty Burrell (Phil Dunphy) and Sarah Hyland (Haley Dunphy) in co-creator Steve Levitan’s kitchen.  The two had great chemistry right off the bat.  The creators knew they had something special.

4. Ed O’Neil was looking to make his return to television

Source: Ed O‘Neil. Digital Image. Zimbio. February 29, 2012.

Ed O’Neil had not starred in a weekly series since his iconic turn as Al Bundy on “Married with Children.”  When he received the script for the Modern Family pilot, he read it twice.  Halfway through the second read, he knew it was the one that he wanted to do.

5. The sets are flexible

Source: Modern Family Sets. Digital Image. Reckless Bliss. December 24, 2010.

The Dunphy parents and kids share a bedroom.  Literally!  They use the same set for each room and swap out the furniture when it’s time to shoot in one or the other.

6. The cast was on board with how game-changing the show was.

Source: Manny, Alex & Luke. Digital Image. Zimbio. September 15, 2016.

The younger members of the cast were on board early.  “It’s one big, straight-gay multicultural, traditional, happy family” is how Rico Rodriguez, who plays Manny on the show, described it.

7. Sometimes the cast is like a real family

Source: The Dunphys. Digital Image. Daily Mail. April 17, 2013.

Early in the show’s run, Nolan Gould and Ariel Winter, who play siblings Luke and Alex Dunphy, would fight over who got to use the computer to check Facebook.  Their TV Mom, Julie Bowen, had to break them up a few times.

8. Phil Dunphy used to be a bouncer.  Really.

Source: Ty Burrell. Digital Image. Daily Mail. January 3, 2014.

Ty Burrell was a bouncer at a bar in Boston in his younger days.  He had a partner named Yancey, and they were terrible bouncers.  They would let people in with bad fake IDs.  They would step outside when there were brawls going on.  He has said they would probably both have rather been at a poetry reading.

9. The dumb kid is actually really smart.

Source: Nolan Gould. Digital Image. Heightline. September 9, 2017.

Actor Nolan Gould, who plays the slightly dim Luke Dunphy, started acting in his hometown in Alabama at age 3.  He’s also a member of MENSA, which means he’s officially smart.  For the record, he has an IQ of 150.

10. Jay and Gloria are very much alike

Source: Jay & Gloria. Digital Image. Gurl. February 29, 2016.

Ed O’Neill has said that, in terms of acting out a relationship with his on-screen wife Sofía Vergara, “she makes it very easy.”  Sofía agrees, saying that they have very similar personalities and they’ve never had a problem in several years of working together.  Wanna learn some facts about Sofi??

11. Sofía hates the dog

Source: Gloria & Stella. Digital Image. Daily Mail. July 30, 2012.

Sofía Vergara hates the dog.  Even after her character, Gloria, asked to get the dog, Sofía couldn’t help making nasty faces whenever she had to carry it, or when it would lick her face.  So they changed the writing so that Gloria now hates the dog too.

12. Cam and Mitchell found acceptance with the audience quicker than they thought

Source: Mitchell & Cam. Digital Image. Popsugar. May 21, 2014.

The creators were bracing for more of a backlash to the Cam/Mitchell relationship.  But they have been gratified by the wide acceptance of the characters as family men.

13. Eric Stonestreet hangs out in places Cam would never go

Source: Eric Stonestreet. Digital Image. Fame10. February 2, 2016.

Eric Stonestreet is straight, 1but plays the lovable gay dad Cam on the show.  He has had a lot of interesting encounters since breaking out on the show, from NASCAR dads telling him their wives want them to dress more like Cam to gay teens telling him he made it easier for them to come out to their parents.

14. There’s not a lot of improvs.

Source: Dance Partay. Digital Image. Entertainment Weekly. February 22, 2016.

Most of the scenes are not improvised.  According to Ty Burrell, they improvised a little in the pilot, and a little here in there in the first couple of episodes, but they began to find it hard to beat the scripts they get from the writers.

15. There’s a big divorce behind the scenes

Source: Levitan & Lloyd. Digital Image. The Hollywood Reporter. October 16, 2013.

The show’s co-creators, Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, dissolved their partnership two years into the show’s run.  Since then, the two have “split custody” of the show, with one creator and showrunner spearheading half of the season, and the other shepherding the other half.  Sharp-eyed watchers can tell the difference between a “Steve Episode” and a “Chris Episode.”

16. The writers couldn’t wait to use Ty Burrell’s mustache in an episode

Source: Stache. Digital Image. Variety. August 13, 2015.

Ty Burrell loves to grow facial hair when the cast is on hiatus.  But his wife hates it.  Every year, he shows up to the set with some newly grown facial hair.  One year it was a mustache, and the writers had to use it in an episode.

17. Claire Dunphy has an Ivy League background

Source: Julie Bowen. Digital Image. The Hollywood Reporter. August 29, 2016.

Or rather, the actor who plays her does.  Julie Bowen attended Brown University, where she starred in many student productions, including Guys and Dolls, and majored in Italian Renaissance Studies, becoming fluent in Italian along the way.

18. The cast rallied when Rico Rodriguez lost his father last year

Source: Rico & His Dad. Digital Image. E! News. March 19, 2017.

Actor Rico Rodriguez, who plays Manny on the show, tragically lost his father recently.  His father Roy died suddenly at the age of 52.  Rico’s “Modern Family” family came to his support.  His TV mom, Sofía Vergara, tweeted her support and showed it behind the scenes.

19. Mitchell is a classically trained Broadway star

Source: Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Digital Image. Playbill. July 31, 2016.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell on the show, has been involved in theatre his whole adult life.  He made his Broadway debut at the age of 21, and was in the original cast of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”  Since starring on Modern Family, he has continued his work on the stage, starring productions of “The Producers” and “Spamalot” at The Hollywood Bowl.

20. Alex Dunphy is kid royalty

Source: Ariel Winters. Digital Image. ABC.
Source: Sofia the First. Digital Image. NJ.com. December 14, 2011.

Ariel Winter, who plays middle child Alex Dunphy on Modern Family is quite famous in the 5 and under set.  They just might not know what she looks like.  That’s because Ariel is the voice of Sofia the First, an animated hit on Disney Jr. Three-year-olds the world over know her by sound, as Ariel provides the voice for Sofia’s many songs.

These Are The Latinas Who Made OITNB Great And Why We Love Them So Much


These Are The Latinas Who Made OITNB Great And Why We Love Them So Much

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Alerta! This article contains SPOILERS on the final season of the Netflix show Orange is the New Black!

Throughout seven seasons, Orange is the New Black has shown a microcosm of the United States in all its diversity (sexual, political and ethnic). The show led by Jenji Kohan (the mastermind behind Weeds) began airing in 2013 and through seven seasons it told the stories of women from all segments of society. 

The inmates of Litchfield Prison represent some of the most vulnerable members of society.

Credit: oitnb / Instagram

Among them, there are Latinas who have no papers or who come from impoverished backgrounds. Throughout the years we got to understand the Kafkaesque mechanisms through which the industrial incarceration system works and how it profits from disgrace. The show also cast a shadow of doubt over the fairness of the court system and how it is potentially discriminatory towards minorities.

This season is all about ICE detention centers. Remember the beautiful bond between Flaca and Maritza? Well, be ready to [cry in Spanish].

Credit: serelp / Instagram

The Vancouver Province, for example, rated the season highly, even though for some viewers season six lost a lot of steam, and it claims that the strength of the season lies in the ICE storyline: “The trickiest storyline, however, belongs to a frightening and undeniably timely one that takes place in an immigrant detention center where women from Central America to the Middle East and beyond are stuck with cocky ICE agents, and without any answers or real hope of getting the better life they were initially seeking.”

Veteran actress Kate Mulgrew, who plays Soviet queen Red, told The Hollywood Reporter: “Using the kitchen as the aperture into ICE and the detention center was such a powerful device. When I walked onto that set I had to stand still and say, ‘Oh, my God. This is what we are doing.’ It’s being reflected for the first time on this show. The creative accountability is great and the creative risk is even greater. She’s got some balls, Jenji Kohan”. Alysia Reiner, who plays former warden Natalie “Fig” Figueroa, expanded in the same roundtable: “I lost it when we were shooting inside the immigration courtroom. We did three takes and I couldn’t stop crying. Our writers told us, “We went to these courtrooms. We didn’t candy-coat this, but this is not as bad as it actually is right now.”

So what happened to our favorite Latinas? Last warning, some SERIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD! 

Maritza Ramos played by Diane Guerrero

Credit: oitnb / Instagram

Right from season 1 we fell in love with Maritza, the sassy Colombian queen who ended up in prison for her elaborate scams. She is a cornerstone of the last season: her storyline meets reality, as she faces the immigration authorities. In real life, Diane Guerrero’s parents were deported when she was just a girl. Guerrero told The Hollywood Reporter: “The treatment of Maritza’s ending was a portrayal of how people treat deportations — that sentiment that you vanish is true. It’s as if you’ve never existed. Martiza is on that plane to an uncertain life”. Life is stranger than fiction, however, and Maritza’s case is not uncommon in the era of Trump (at whom the scriptwriters take a good amount of jabs). 

Gloria Mendoza played by Selenis Leyva

Credit: oitnb / Instagram

This boricua lady is fierce as it comes (she is played by a Cuban, though, but totally gets that Caribbean sass). She always puts family first, both in and outside prison. She is one of the few characters with a somewhat redemptive ending. Her story strikes true to many Puerto Ricans who are treated as foreigners in their own country. In the last season, we see how Gloria left the island initially to work in New York and provide for her children.

The mother-daughter duo: Aleida and Dyanara Diaz, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez and Dasha Polanco

Credit: oitnb / Instagram

We learnt so much more about Aleida in the last season. She is a strong Latina who has had to protect herself from handsy men her whole life. She is combative and that leads her back into trouble after her release. The relationship she has with her daughter Dayanara is the stuff that nightmares are made of.


Credit: Orange is the New Black / Netflix

Dayanara ended up all Scarface: running the prison with an iron fist. Or did she? (yes, we are giving you some spoilers, but no details here, no se espanten). Daya is the perfect example of how a twisted family can lead to an endless spiral of violence. 

Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales played by Jackie Cruz

Credit: oitnb / Instagram

A cute and sometimes naive chola who is put in prison for drug fraud. She has a sisterly bond with Maritza. She is the typical inmate who ends up behind bars for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We leave her truly seeking redemption. The actress that plays her, Jackie Cruz, is a proud Dominican who is unafraid to speak about the biases in Hollywood. She told Elle about the roles that are available for actresses like her: “Lately, it’s been better. Well, the roles are still a little white-washed, but they’re better. It’s what a white person would think of a Latina. A white person writing for a Latina. For example, they don’t know that Dominicans don’t eat Chimichangas”. 

Blanca played by Laura Gomez

Credit: oitnb / Instagram

Her scenes in the immigration court are heartbreaking. In this microcosm, we get to see what hundreds of migrant women are going through, being separated from their children in some cases and facing deportation to a country they barely remember in others. Gomez told Digital Spy: “That was such a twist for everybody, myself included, and I could never have imagined that it was going to feel so emotional for people. The response on social media to this was devastating. Because we’re living this in real-time, it’s not like we’re telling a story in the past… It should be a story that isn’t happening”. Her story is very accurate, according to reports, particularly in how advocacy groups such as Freedom for Immigrants have been targeted by ICE and seen their advocacy efforts sabotaged. As a representative of the organization told In Style: “In 2013, ICE shut down three visitation programs that we were affiliated with, in response to a Huffington Post blog we wrote. Our personal cell phone numbers also have been blocked at various points in time from immigrant jails and prisons. And while we have continued to offer free phone calls to people in detention thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are still fighting to get our hotline restored”

Maria Ruiz played by Jessica Pimentel

Credit: thecrusher007 / Instagram

The Dominican freedom fighter! Her dad was an activist and she finds herself being angry at life for most of the show. She was pregnant when she was incarcerated and has a thorny relationship with her baby’s dad, who is taking care of little Pepa while Maria is in prison. Her crime: selling fake jeans. Yes, really. 

READ: Maritza’s Heartbreaking Storyline In ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Is A Reality So Many Undocumented People Face Every Day

13 Reasons Why Latinos Will Miss Seeing Their Stories In ‘Jane The Virgin’


13 Reasons Why Latinos Will Miss Seeing Their Stories In ‘Jane The Virgin’

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The end of one of our favorite shows, Jane the Virgin, is near. For almost five years (it was first aired in 2014) we have followed the adventures of Jane Gloriana Villanueva, our heroine who was wrongly inseminated. Jane’s journey was also related to her career as a writer, a vocation that she tries to follow even though life sometimes gets in the way. The narrative accomplishes something almost impossible to pull off: it makes outrageous telenovela situations feel close to us. The 100th and last ever episode will be aired on July 31st, and fans are getting their tissue box ready for what promises to be a tearful finale. Because we don’t like goodbyes we will start our farewell now. These are some of the reasons why we consider Jane the Virgin to be a watershed moment in the history of Latino representation in mainstream television, and why we will miss Jane, her lovers, her family, and her amazingly quirky son. A llorar se ha dicho

1. Jane the Virgin was finally a show that represented the many complexities of Latino communities in the U.S.: it made us laugh and cry in equal measures.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

There have been some shows about Latinos in the United States, and titles such as Netflix’s Mr. Iglesias seem to be gaining more traction. However, Jane the Virgin could break into the mainstream, escaping the niche denominator of “Latino”. It was wonderful to see the very specific Florida Latinidad represented on the screen. 

2. The show discussed the uncomfortable issue of migration and the perilous path to citizenship. Te queremos, Alba!

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

The show touched in one of the main issues that define the Latino experience in the United States: migration. Alba’s citizenship journey was equally stressful and hard to watch, and we are sure it resonated with millions of Latino families in how vulnerable migrants can be before attaining citizenship. A call to action that was also told in a tender, extremely human way. 

3. Jane proudly wore her Latina identity, in her life and literary work.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Instead of trying to “fit in” with Anglo culture to blend, Jane Gloriana Villanueva embraces and celebrates her Latina identity. From her clothes to her cultural references (Chilean novelist Isabel Allende makes a cameo!) and her literary work, she tries to uncover what Latina identity means today in matters of love, family, sex and professional life. 

4. It showed us that true friendship with your exes and your exes’ exes is possible (you know this is a telenovela, right?)

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Well, maybe this is not that in tune with reality, pero se vale soñar. We love how Petra, Jane, and Rafael find a way to co-parent three cheeky monkeys. 

5. It gave us a strong, independent, queer woman.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Petra is perhaps the character that developed the most. She went from being a terrible telenovela villana to being a member of the Villanueva clan. Her backstory is fascinating and through the seasons she found a way to discover herself: she is a survivor, and the ultimate way to survive is accepting who she is a powerful queer businesswoman, and a loving mother who allows herself to be vulnerable and ask for help. 

6. It serves us some old-world Latino charm.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

When Jane imagines her romantic epics, and also when Alba tells her life story, we get to see some of the old world Latino charms that have made the romantic narrative a staple of the region. This is also a way to deal with 

7. It provided us with one of the most truthful representations of the joys, frustrations, and awesomeness of parenthood.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Right from her pregnancy, Jane embodied the shock and delights of motherhood. The show does not give us a vanilla version of how pregnancy sorta wrecks the female body and how hard it is to raise a child. Mateo is Jane’s world, and it is amazing to witness Jane embrace her power, but also her cluelessness as to how to be a mother. Nadie nace sabiendo

8. Four words: Rogelio De La Vega.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

Mexican actor Jaime Camil, a former telenovela heartthrob, found his ideal character in Rogelio De La Vega. He is funny and charming, vulnerable and the best father ever. We would totally watch a spin-off featuring only him! 

9. The genuine chemistry and friendship shared by the cast.

Credit: janethevirginlove / Instagram

Gina Rodriguez and Jaime Camil really do look like father and daughter in this photo. Judging by interviews and their social media accounts (including photos of Gina’s recent wedding), cast members have formed a true family offscreen, which translates into the amazing chemistry we see in the show. 

10. The show is a true picture of the multicultural United States.

Credit: janethevirginlove / Instagram

Yes, the cast is primarily Latino or plays Latino characters (even the blonde Michael has a Latino last name: Cordero), but the show has Eastern European, Anglo, Black and even Indian characters. Rather than being insular and only focus on Latinos, it is a mosaic of the cultural diversity of Florida, where the narrative takes place. 

11. Primero la familia: a message that resonated with Latino audiences worldwide.

Credit: janethevirginlove / Instagram

Through the show, we are witness to the perpetuation of family rituals. The Villanuevas have dinner together, come rain or come shine, and they spend time together even if they are upset at each other. Later in the show, Petra and Jane find a way to create new traditions for Mateo and the twins, unlikely half-siblings who are growing up together. 

12. Simply put, Jane the Virgin is funny as hell.

Credit: janethevirginlove / Instagram

Jane the Virgin is a cleverly written comedy that blends huge amounts of drama, very tender and human moments, and gags that are anything but cheap. Every joke or unusual situation in the show reveals something about the characters rather than looking for cheap laughs. For example, when Jane’s life spins out of control she usually becomes very clumsy: the physical comedy reveals characters’ inner state. We can also think of Rogelio’s hilarious gift baskets! (we wouldn’t mind getting one by the way). Or how Petra’s twins often make reference to the creepy duo from the horror film The Shining.

13. But above all, the show gives full agency to female characters, something rare in any TV show.

Credit: cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

In today’s media industry, it is extremely rare for a female-led television show or film to be approved, even more so if the character is a Latina played by a relatively unknown actress. Jane the Virgin was a rarity and a novelty: a sitcom that got pretty dark at times, which offered dialogue in Spanish and was unashamedly influenced by telenovelas. The Villanueva queens and Petra drove the narrative, un matriarcado televisivo like no other. Jane did not make her decisions solely based on what her romantic counterparts demanded: she was in control of her feelings, her sexuality and her experience as a mother. We will miss you, Jane hermosa.

READ: ‘Jane The Virgin’ Actress Opens Up About How Anxiety Kept Her From Showing Up To Set