If you love a hilarious yet heartwarming comedy, chances are you’ve seen Modern Family. The show originally debuted in 2009 with a strong first season, making people fall in love with the Pritchetts, Dunphys, Delgados, and Tuckers. The show is unlike many comedy TV shows in that it centers around one big, unique extended family, pokes fun at documentaries, and wraps up each episode with a heartwarming message about familial love. It’s like Schitt’s Creek meets The Office meets New Girl. What could be better?
The show has 11 seasons and 250 episodes, showing just how big of a fan base it had until it went off the air in 2020. As a die hard fan, I’m ranking the best episodes of Modern Family, so you know which ones to give your full attention. Whether you’re new to the show or want to rewatch it, you can stream Modern Family on Hulu, Peacock, and the ABC channel.
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10. “The Future Dunphys” (Season 4, Episode 19)
Season 4, Episode 19 takes the audience through a whirlwind of story lines. First, the three Dunphy children, Luke, Alex, and Haley, visit their mom in the hospital since she has to have an angiogram. They soon meet three children exactly like them, only they are 10-20 years older. They start to freak out because this is what their future could look like.
Meanwhile, Gloria and Lily spend the day bonding until Gloria realizes that Lily knows nothing about where she was born, Vietnam. She is panicked because she knows what it’s like to live in America and feel her roots start to slip away. This leads to one of the funniest scenes in the show where Cam, Mitch, Gloria, and Lily go to a Vietnamese restaurant to try Pho. Many, many culturally inappropriate jokes are made, but they all come from a good place. Be prepared to laugh it off as Lily thinks she is from gay like her dads.
imDb rating: 7.8
9. “Strangers on a Treadmill” (Season 2, Episode 4)
In one of the funniest early episodes, Season 2, Episode 4 shows the intricate details of a sibling relationship involving Claire and Mitchell. They both find their spouses to do embarrassing things, but don’t always want to be the bearers of bad news. Instead, they decide to get each other’s help to let down Cam and Phil easily.
The hilarious scenes in this episode include Cam wearing bike shorts and being incredible sensitive about his appearance. Claire does her part, but Mitchell backs out, making Claire the bad person in both relationships. This is a trope that continues throughout the show and will keep you laughing at the way the family reacts to her “uptight” nature.
imDb rating: 7.9
8. “Knock ‘Em Down” (Season 6, Episode 20)
This episode from Season 6 is one of the best episodes of Modern Family because it shows Jay joining Cam’s bowling league and bonding with his son-in-law. However, he didn’t realize it was an all-gay bowling league. Once one of the enemies gets a crush on Jay, Cam sees it as an opportunity to win as long as Jay plays along. The self-awareness and unawareness is what makes this episode hysterical.
Behind the scenes, Gloria and Mitch want to prove they are still young and fun because they want to go out on the town with Haley. It’s hilarious to see everything they do to try to keep up with her. Check out the episode to see exactly what breaks their spirit.
imDb rating: 8
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7. “My Funky Valentine” (Season 1, Episode 15)
In Season 1, Episode 15 begins a show-wide bit between Claire and Phil Dunphy. It’s Valentine’s Day and they desperately want to get some intimate time away from their kids, so they check out a local hotel. Claire decides it would be fun for them to try role play, which invents Juliana (Claire) and Clive (Phil). The slight awkwardness about Phil makes this entire episode absolutely hilarious and they bring back this same tradition for many future seasons.
If that wasn’t enough, Claire decides to undress and cover herself with a trench coat until the trench coat gets stuck in the escalator, leaving her to decide whether or not to walk naked throughout the hotel lobby. Oh, and then, Jay and Gloria show up.
imDb rating: 8.6
6. “The Wedding, Part 2” (Season 5, Episode 24)
In Season 5, Episode 24 is arguably one of the most heartwarming episodes in the whole sitcom. Mitch and Cam have been engaged and finally, their wedding day arrives. In true Modern Family form, no major event would be complete without a series of chaotic moments. After a nearby wildfire, failed replacement venue, and a guest going into labor, Mitch and Cam finally get to walk down the aisle in their home. The scene where they are surrounding by family in the home where they first moved in together and welcomed home Lily is enough to make you cry. It’s a huge moment in the show that begins with laughs and ends with true love.
imDb rating: 8.6
5. “Fizbo” (Season 1, Episode 9)
Going back in time to Season 1, Episode 9 is the very first time we see Fizbo, but definitely not the last. If you’re new to Modern Family, you may not know that Cam is a trained clown called Fizbo, but it can be a touchy subject with the rest of the family, especially Mitch. He breaks out his clown side for Luke’s birthday party, but Phil is absolutely terrified. Meanwhile, Claire and Phil are going head to head with party activities until Luke gets injured. It’s not only amusing, but also sets up the rest of the show for Fizbo’s appearances and Claire and Phil’s feuding nature.
imDb rating: 8.6
4. “Caught in the Act” (Season 2, Episode 13)
Another hilarious early episode is from Season 2 where the Dunphy children try to do something nice for their parent’s anniversary. But, in the worst fear of all children, they walk in on their parents in “the act.” While the Dunphys are dealing with this, Gloria sends a mean email to Claire and tries to distract her so she can delete it and avoid an argument. Also, Mitch and Cam try to befriend a celebrity during a playdate, but they spill juice on an expensive rug and panic on how to fix it. It’s got three plot lines going on at once, so it’s a great episode to watch this extended family sort through mass chaos yet again.
imDb rating: 8.9
3. “American Skyper” (Season 6, Episode 24)
So much happens in Season 6, Episode 24, but the highlight is what this sitcom can do with a bit. In this case, Phil is stuck in Seattle, but instead of just leaving him out of the episode, he is even more present. He uses a rolling prop to place an iPad while on FaceTime, so that he can interrupt or be a part of the conversation as per usual.
There is something about Phil’s humor that becomes even more hilarious when on video around everyone else fighting. He even continues his bodily humor when the robotic camera gets stuck in the bathroom. In the background, one of Haley’s biggest love stories is coming to a head as Gloria and Jay’s nanny debates what to do with his on and off girlfriend, Beth.
imDb rating: 8.7
2. “Lake Life” (Season 9, Episode 1)
Thus far, I have ranked the best episodes of Modern Family according to personal preference and imDb ratings. However, these last two entries are the absolute best and funniest based on my own opinion. While the imDb ratings don’t necessarily agree, you have to trust me in that you will laugh harder than you ever have through the show with these next two entries. I’ve seen the show several times and break out the popcorn for these scenes.
Season 9, Episode 1 starts off a new season with an absolute bang. Jay takes the whole family to the lake as he starts to contemplate his bonds with each member of his family and worries about what they will think when he dies. That’s where the darkness ends. When Gloria and Cam take to nature, there is pretty much not one natural thing about it. There are several moments between the two of them take make them stand out and embarrass themselves.
Mitchell also makes a fool of himself when he runs into an ex-crush. He goes back to the bait shop several times to say hi and then ends up confronting him about his sexuality. The children get stranded on an island and fight as per usual. You’ll never want to go on a family vacation again, until you see the ending.
imDb rating: 7.9, but we agree to disagree
1. “Little Bo Bleep” (Season 3, Episode 13)
Last, but certainly not least, Season 3, Episode 13 is my absolute favorite episode of Modern Family. I’ll put it on if I’ve had a bad day and it heals all bad energy. Within this plot, you have Lily who is at a very cute age learning new words. One of them being the F word, which she starts saying conveniently right before she is the flower girl at a wedding. You can guess how that turns out.
Then, you also have the Dunphys trying to help Claire prep for her debate while she is running for town council. Claire is always a bit uptight and her prep for the debate brings out that side of her and her family that you can’t help but laugh at. Last, but not least, Gloria and Jay are not getting along because of Jay’s adoration of Stella, his new French bulldog. Stella keeps jumping in their pool even though she can’t swim, so they start to think she’s suicidal. Before Gloria tries to save her, she gives a speech trying to convince Stella to stick around. You’ll be howling laughing because “there is so much left to smell.”
imDb rating: 8.4, but we agree to disagree
Which Season of Modern Family Is Best?
While the last season usually has people jerking back tears because many things come to an end, I’m partial to the very first season. It’s the best not only because it is nostalgic once you have seen the show, but the jokes are on point and the documentary-style interviews are more frequent, reminding us why the show is so unique in the first place.
Any season of this show will be funny, heartwarming, and entertaining, so you really can’t go wrong. The humor pokes fun at the “modern” and progressive nature of the show, so everyone can see themselves in this extended family and the troubles they face. But, like most things in life, you have to laugh at the silliness of it all. If you haven’t seen Modern Family before, now is the perfect time to start streaming on Hulu, Peacock, and the ABC channel.