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.

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