Caitlin Rickard: Enjoying the holidays with my Modern Family

With the Thanksgiving holiday having just passed and Christmas and New Years right around the corner, the holidays and all of its family time is now in full swing.
Dec 4, 2013

With the Thanksgiving holiday having just passed and Christmas and New Years right around the corner, the holidays and all of its family time is now in full swing.

And have I introduced you all to my family-away-from-family yet? My Modern Family, that is.

Surely you’ve all heard of this monster hit of a comedy, but if not, 10 Golden Globe nominations and 57 Primetime Emmy nominations (among countless other awards) should ring a bell.

One thing that is important to remember about the holidays is there is never a shortage of marathons on TV, so between the Thanksgiving day marathon and the USA networks new syndicated scheduling, it’s safe to say I’ve been planted in front of the TV in laughter for days on end.

Of course I’ve already seen every episode, but it’s been a pretty “busy” last few weeks re-catching up with the fam.

Let’s have our introductions.

First, you’ve got Phil and Claire Dunphy, the cool, young parents to Haley, Alex and Luke. 

But really, Phil’s a kid himself and this family thrives on his bright ideas (walking on a tightrope across the yard, one example) to keep life light and the family upbeat. Claire, on the other hand, keeps a level head and always seems to reel the family in from their antics, unless she’s up to something competitive herself, like running for Town Council (but losing a tooth in the process).

Phil: “You’re just a worrier, like when you thought [Luke] was never going talk.”
Claire: “He was two, and all he could do was bark.”
Phil: “I understood him.”

The Dunphy kids, ironically, are now never short of words. The youngest, Luke, is a bit of an oddball with ADD and keeps his parents on his toes by joyriding at age 13 or trying experiments to bring a dead squirrel back to life. 

The middle child, Alex, is a complete nerd and the brains of the entire family; literally she’s smarter than all of them put together. After her uncle won a prestigious award from the California Bar Association she said, “I didn’t have the nerve to tell him that I don’t get out of bed for trophies that small.” 

Which brings us to Haley, who’s polar opposite of Alex. She’s the popular, ditzy teenage girl, who’s constantly being corrected by her sister Alex, while simultaneously degrading her on her nerdy ways.

The next featured family is Claire’s dad, Jay, and his new wife Gloria and 13-year-old stepson Manny. 

Gloria is a beautiful, loud mouth Colombian and years younger than her rich husband. Manny, meanwhile is the opposite of Luke, wise beyond his years with a passion for the finer things like poetry and fencing.

Jay is the typical mans-man who owns his own company and is perfectly content with a day on the golf course capped off by a glass of Scotch and a western movie. Sentimental is not his style.

This demeanor in a father didn’t always go well with his other child, and final featured family, Mitchell.

Mitchell, who’s gay, is a lawyer who lives with his partner Cameron and their adopted daughter Lily, and if you ask me, the highlight of the show.

While Mitchell stays grounded and tries to keep a low profile, Cameron is as flamboyant as they come and full of energy and personality (and also a graduate of Clown School, I might add).

Cameron: “How would you know I’m gay?”

Mitchell: “Maybe by the way you ordered a ‘drink a-doodle-doo.’”

All in all there’s something and someone for everyone on this show, whether it’s a gay uncle or two, a stepson trying to fit in with a new family or a dad that wants to spend Leap Day with his family on a trapeze.

Not only does the humor never fail to disappoint and be spot-on, but neither does the situations and emotional realness of an actual family.

Jay: “Back in ‘68, when I was sweeping up hair in that barbershop, I had this mental picture of the family that, if I was lucky enough, I would end up with. Perfect wife, perfect kids... Well guess what? I didn’t get any of that. I wound up with this sorry bunch. And I’m thankful for that every day.”

Caitlin Rickard is a staff writer with The Democrat. Email her at or follow her on Twitter @wilsonnewswritr.


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