Modern Family—Season 1

modern family season 1 poster review episode guide list
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great cast in smart stories

Some of the kid actors have some growing to do

modern family season 1 title card review episode guide list

Meet the “Modern Family”

Jay (Ed O’Neill), Gloria (Sofia Vergara), and Manny (Rico Rodriguez) are a family. Phil (Ty Burrell), Claire (Julie Bowen), Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter), and Luke (Nolan Gould) are a family. Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) are a family and have just adopted a child. All together they are a modern family with the problems of a new society.

Modern Family premiered on September 23, 2009 on ABC and finished its first season run on May 19, 2010. The show was a critical success and nominated for multiple awards. It won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy, Outstanding Supporting Actor (Stonestreet), Outstanding Sound-Mixing for a Half-Hour Comedy or Drama Series (“Pilot” shared with Entourage), and Outstanding Writing (“Pilot”) with nominations for Outstanding Directing (“Pilot”), Outstanding Supporting Actor (Ferguson, Burrell), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Bowen, Vergara), Outstanding Guest Actor Fred Willard (“Travels with Scout”), Outstanding Art Direction (“Moon Landing” and “Fears”), and Outstanding Editing for a Single or Multicamera Comedy (“Family Portrait”)

modern family season 1 episode 7 en garde fire and nice figure skating

Fire & Nice 4 Ever

I enjoy Modern Family. Watching the series, it is obviously a combination of both The Office and a “nice” version of Arrested Development with overlapping plots. Modern Family is good but not as good as Arrested Development or The Office in its prime. It is a nice substitute for the two, so it is good that it appears that it will have a nice long life.

The series is really aided (and hindered) by its actors. The core families are awesome, but I do feel that the kid actors often struggle (particularly Nolan Gould who often just sounds like he’s reading lines). It isn’t always their fault however since most of the “real” plots revolve around the adults and the kids stories are almost always subplots and somewhat typical storylines.

modern family season 1 episode 9 fizbo eric stonestreet clown

Fizbo doesn’t take any crap

If you want to see an episode that shows off the best of this series, check out the “Fizbo” episode which highlights what this series is capable of. The story is smartly crafted with tons of red herrings on how the injury occurred, and Eric Stonestreet is awesome as the persistent clown, and Phil as the man who is terrified of clowns. It is a great coming together of cast and script, and every time I’ve seen it, I wish that more of the series has this great convergence.

Modern Family is a fun, smart series that has a lot of TV sitcom clichés but also isn’t afraid to be a little un-PC on occasion (though the series primarily is a kind show the whole family can enjoy). I wish the show would get a bit dirtier, but also realize that a dirty Modern Family would be out of character with the themes of the show.  I am sure this family will grow and live to fight for many seasons.

Modern Family—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

modern family season 1 episode 1 pilot eric stonestreet jesse tyler ferguson


1.1       Pilot Airdate:  09/23/09

Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) work at raising their kids Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter), and Luke (Nolan Gould) but have concerns when they meet Haley’s new boyfriend Dylan (Reid Ewing).  Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Jay (Ed O’Neill) adjust to their new marriage and Jay adjusts to having Gloria’s son Manny (Rico Rodriguez)…who has decided he met his first love.  Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) return home from Vietnam after adopting a child and question how to tell Mitchell’s family about the adoption.

modern family season 1 episode 2 the bicycle thief nolan gould

“The Bicycle Thief”

1.2       The Bicycle Thief Airdate:  09/30/09

Phil decides to get Luke a new bike against Claire’s orders that Luke needs to learn responsibility.  Mitchell and Cam take Lily to her first play group and find themselves competing with the other mothers.  Jay and Gloria plan to go to Wine Country while Manny is visiting his father, but Manny and Jay don’t see eye-to-eye about his father.

modern family season 1 episode 3 come fly with me cast

“Come Fly with Me”

1.3       Come Fly with Me Airdate:  10/07/09

Mitchell has a new love in his life, and Cam finds introducing him to Costco might have been a mistake.  Claire’s frustration with Alex reaches its peak, but Claire’s time with Manny and Gloria’s time with Alex could lead to a change.  Phil tries to get closer to Jay by helping him fly his model airplanes against Jay’s wishes.

modern family season 1 episode 4 the incident shelley long sofia vergara

“The Incident”

1.4       The Incident Airdate:  10/14/09

Chaos comes with the arrival of Mitchell and Claire’s mother DeDe Pritchett (Shelley Long)…and she reveals she wants to make amends for “The Incident” at Jay and Gloria’s wedding.  Haley finds herself at odds with her mother over her desire to go to a concert, and Manny finds himself plotting revenge against his friends after a sleepover.

modern family season 1 episode 5 coal digger julie bowen sofia vergara

“Coal Digger”

1.5       Coal Digger Airdate:  10/21/09

It’s the big Ohio State game, but Jay learns that it conflicts with the family barbeque.  Luke and Manny have a run in at school over their relationship, and the fight spills over to home between Claire and Gloria.  Jay and Cam find a bonding moment over football, but Mitchell finds himself the odd-man-out when it comes to the game.

modern family season 1 episode 6 run for your wife julie bowen

“Run for Your Wife”

1.6       Run for Your Wife Airdate:  10/28/09

Schools back in session, and Manny, Alex, Luke, and Haley are getting ready…along with their parents.  Manny tries to show off his Columbia heritage, but Jay disagrees about dressing for the occasion.  Cam and Mitchell have first time parenting fears and an accident with Lily sends them to the doctor.  Phil and Claire’s boredom leads to a race…and winner takes all!

modern family season 1 episode 7 en gard jesse tyler ferguson julie bowen figure skating

“En Garde”

1.7       En Garde Airdate:  11/04/09

Manny’s success at fencing brings up old family resentment.  Claire and Mitchell argue about their old figure skating group “Fire and Nice” while Phil tries to find Luke’s special gift.  Manny fencing success runs into a problem when worries about having to fence against a girl.

modern family season 1 episode 8 great expectations izzy la fontaine edward norton

“Great Expectations”

1.8       Great Expectations Airdate:  11/18/09

It is Phil and Claire’s anniversary, and Phil is frustrated by Claire’s lack of imagination.  When Claire decides to get the bass player of Spandau Ballet Izzy LaFontaine (Edward Norton) to perform for him, Phil realizes he has no idea who he is.  Mitchell and Cam decide to spend the day with their friend Sal (Elizabeth Banks) but discover that the new addition to their lives could be a problem for Sal.  It’s Jay’s Night the annual night where everyone comes to spend the night at Jay’s, and Haley wants to ditch to go to a party…but Jay knows all her tricks.

modern family season 1 episode 9 fizbo clown eric stonestreet


1.9       Fizbo Airdate:  11/25/09

Luke’s birthday is coming up, and Claire and Phil decide to throw him a big party since he always is missed due to Thanksgiving.  Cam decides Luke has to have a clown and sets himself up as his clown alter-ego Fizbo.  Tragedy strikes the party as a member of the family is rushed to the hospital.

modern family season 1 episode 10 undeck the halls christmas cast

“Undeck the Halls”

1.10     Undeck the Halls Airdate:  12/09/09

The discovery of a burn mark on the couch has Phil cancelling Christmas until someone will fess up to the cigarette burn.  Demands for a jolly Santa have Cam and Mitchell accidentally getting the mall Santa fired…leading them to discover he’s homeless.  A clash of cultures occurs when Manny and Gloria try to bring their Columbian Christmas traditions into Jay’s Christmas traditions.

modern family season 1 episode 11 up all night ed oneill benjamin bratt

“Up All Night”

1.11     Up All Night Airdate:  01/06/10

Phil suffers from a kidney stone but finds Claire is more interested in the “hot” paramedics of 911.  Lily is not sleeping through the night but Cam and Mitchell disagree on how the problem should be handled.  Jay finds Gloria’s ex Javier Delgado (Benjamin Bratt) is in town and finds himself being swayed by his charm.

modern family season 1 episode 12 not in my house jay barkley ed oneill

“Not in My House”

1.12     Not in My House Airdate:  01/13/10

Barkley the Butler has arrived, but Gloria is not a fan of Jay’s new obsession.  Cam’s desire to help becomes problematic when he gets involved in the life of the gardnerer.  Claire finds a pornographic picture on the family computer, and Phil tries to blame Luke.

modern family season 1 episode 13 fifteen percent chazz palminteri ed oneill

“Fifteen Percent”

1.13     Fifteen Percent Airdate:  01/20/10

Mitchell objects to Jay’s treatment of Cam and reveals to Jay that one of his old friends might be gay.  Claire can’t work Phil’s fancy new remote control and challenges Phil to train Haley to use it.  Manny’s blind date turns out to be a little older than he expected.

modern family season 1 episode 14 moon landing ed oneill eric stonestreet

“Moon Landing”

1.14     Moon Landing Airdate:  02/02/10

A face off at the gym in racquetball leads to an accidental butt-bump aka moon landing for Cam and Jay.  Mitchell is hired to defend Gloria in an accident but learns that she might be at fault.  Claire meets with her old colleague Valerie (Minnie Driver) and sees what her life might have been if she hadn’t married Phil…who is debating facial hair.

modern family season 1 episode 15 my funky valentine clive bixby julianna ty burrell julie bowen

“My Funky Valentine”

1.15     My Funky Valentine Airdate:  02/10/10

It’s Valentine’s Day and the families are celebrating!  Phil and Claire set out for a romantic role-playing dinner as Clive Bixby and Julianna that doesn’t go as planned.  Jay and Gloria take in a David Brenner show and Brenner points at their difference in age.  When Mitchell loses a big case, he and Cam try to help Manny get back the girl that was stolen from him.

modern family season 1 episode 16 fears sofia vergara rico rodriguez ed oneill


1.16     Fears Airdate:  03/03/10

Haley struggles to get her driver’s license as Alex worries about her dance.  Manny tries to get out of a party due to his fear of rollercoasters.  Cam and Mitchell invite their pediatrician (Suzy Nakamura) over to get on her good side but end up worrying that Lilly isn’t bonding with them.

modern family season 1 episode 17 truth be told judy greer ty burrell

“Truth Be Told”

1.17     Truth Be Told Airdate:  03/10/10

Mitchell worries his boss heard him badmouthing him on the phone and sets to make it right.  Manny’s turtle is dead, and Jay tries to fake the crime scene.  Claire is jealous of the arrival of Phil’s ex-girlfriend Denise (Judy Greer) and Phil realizes she might have a right to be.  Alex plays a trick on Luke by telling him that Denise is his real mother who has come to take him away.

modern family season 1 episode 18 starry night manny rico rodriguez

“Starry Night”

1.18     Starry Night Airdate:  03/24/10

A star-watching tradition takes Mitchell and Jay to the countryside, but Mitchell finds Jay has invited Manny with them.  Cam gets alone time with Gloria and tries to get over the feeling he offends her.  Phil tries to guide Luke through a project his way while Claire tries to help Haley make cupcakes for school.

modern family season 1 episode 19 game changer phil dunphy ty burrell

“Game Changer”

1.19     Game Changer Airdate:  03/31/10

It’s Phil’s birthday, and Claire blows it when she fails to get him his iPad at the release.  Cam gets obsessed with a neighboring family when he hears they are breaking up over the baby monitor, and Mitchell worries that he isn’t tough enough to protect Lily.  Jay decides to teach Manny chess, but Jay quickly learns that he might have underestimated Manny’s skills.

modern family season 1 episode 20 benched basketball ed oneill


1.20     Benched Airdate:  04/14/10

Phil finds himself at odd with Jay when they both are charged with taking over Manny and Luke’s basketball team.  Mitchell takes Cam to meet his potential new boss (Justin Kirk), and Cam secretly wishes he’d take it.  Claire finds herself pushed away by Alex in front of her friends, and Gloria discovers Manny doesn’t want her at his basketball games.

modern family season 1 episode 21 travels with scout fred willard julie bowen

“Travels with Scout”

1.21     Travels with Scout Airdate:  04/28/10

Phil’s dad Frank (Fred Willard) comes to visit and brings a dog named Scout as a gift…much to the chagrin of Claire who thinks something might be wrong with Frank.  An accidental trip to a horror movie called Maple Drive has Manny unable to sleep with Jay paying the price.  Dylan’s band loses their drummer and Cam steps in.

modern family season 1 episode 22 airport 2010 eric stonestreet jesse tyler ferguson

“Airport 2010”

1.22     Airport 2010 Airdate:  05/05/10

It’s Jay’s birthday, and Gloria has surprised him by taking the whole family to Hawaii.  As they wait at LAX for their plane, Mitchell and Phil rush home for Mitchell’s wallet.  Claire’s fear of flying takes the back seat when she tries to drink away her fears, and Jay just wishes he had more alone time with Gloria as Gloria and Manny deal with the TSA.

modern family season 1 episode 23 hawaii wedding ty burrell julie bowen


1.23     Hawaii Airdate:  05/12/10

The family trip to Hawaii appears to be a success as Claire and Phil try to find time for themselves.  Jay’s birthday brings the fear that he could die at the same age as his father while Cam and Mitchell disagree on what makes the best vacation.  Phil sets out to surprise Claire with the wedding she never had.

modern family season 1 episode 24 family portrait cast

“Family Portrait”

1.24     Family Portrait Airdate:  05/19/10

Claire is preparing for a big family portrait and driving everyone crazy in the process.  Luke sets out to do an interview of Jay about life in the ’60s, and Jay is unable to attend a Laker’s game.  Mitchell skips out on Cam’s singing premiere and battles a pigeon that gets into the house.  When the kiss cam lands on Gloria and Phil, Gloria takes matters into her own hands.  Will Claire get the picture of her dreams?

Related Links:

Modern Family—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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