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The 25 Best ‘Modern Family’ Episodes of All Time

But we love *every* episode

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*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

Modern Family is one of those shows that is so entertaining to watch that it can be hard to narrow down the best episodes (honestly, they’re all great). The family drama, chaos and comedy from seasons one through 11 make you fall in love with the storylines and characters and even become emotionally invested in watching them grow up over the years.

And each episode is roughly 22 minutes long, which means it’s incredibly easy to binge-watch a full season in just a couple of days. But whether you’re a super-fan like us or whether you’ve only caught a few episodes on TV here and there, we’ve accepted the difficult challenge of rounding up the 25 best Modern Family episodes that are definitely worth a viewing ASAP.

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1. “Fizbo”

  • Season: 1
  • Episode: 9
  • Air Date: November 25, 2009

As we get to know the characters more and more as season one progresses, this episode melds together the humor and personalities of the Dunphy and Pritchett families. While they gear up to celebrate Luke’s (Nolan Gould) birthday, things go awry causing a hilarious mess including Cam’s (Eric Stonestreet) clown alter-ego, Fizbo, Claire’s (Julie Bowen) insistence on a comb-sheath craft table, a jealous Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Jay (Ed O’Neill) gifting Luke a crossbow.

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Getty Images/Eric McCandless

2. “My Funky Valentine”

  • Season: 1
  • Episode: 15
  • Air Date: February 10, 2010

Valentine’s Day episodes are a common thread throughout the Modern Family seasons, and in this first one we get to meet Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire’s sexy alter egos for their V-day date night, Clive Bixby and Julianna. They pretend to meet in a hotel bar and flirt, but things don’t end as steamily as they started thanks to an escalator and Claire’s coat belt.

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Getty Images/Danny Feld

3. “Family Portrait”

  • Season: 1
  • Episode: 24
  • Air Date: May 19, 2010

This is one of those early episodes that comes full circle at the end of the series and makes you say, “Aww, they’ve come so far!” The family messes up Claire’s vision for a perfectly planned family photoshoot in white outfits when a mud fight breaks out in the backyard, resulting in an adorable, meaningful photo framed in all of their homes. Plus, Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) goes head-to-head with a pigeon that flies through his window while Cam is away.

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Getty Images/ Karen Neal

4. “Halloween”

  • Season: 2
  • Episode: 6
  • Air Date: October 27, 2010

Halloween is Claire’s favorite holiday, and everyone in the family is recruited to create a spooky haunted house for trick-or-treaters at the Dunphy’s. From a marital spat between Jay and Gloria (Sofía Vergara) to Cam reliving a past Halloween humiliation, the night turns to chaos resulting in a classic Claire flip out.

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Getty Images/Adam Larkey

5. “Slow Down Your Neighbors”

  • Season: 2
  • Episode: 11
  • Air Date: January 5, 2011

Not only do we get a James Marsden cameo in this episode—as he is strangely squatting in Cam and Mitch’s daughter Lily’s (Ella and Jaden Hiller) playhouse—but a comical conflict of interest also emerges for Phil. Claire gains a new nemesis who dangerously speeds through the neighborhood in a Camaro, while Phil finds out the driver is his client whose home he’s trying to sell. Phil attempts to secretly prevent the women from finding out who the other is so he can keep his wife happy while also successfully selling the house.

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Getty Images/Adam Larkey

6. “Good Cop Bad Dog”

  • Season: 2
  • Episode: 22
  • Air Date: May 11, 2011

The best part of this episode is that we’re officially introduced to the love of Jay’s life, Stella. After Gloria welcomes a man into their home to get business advice from Jay (to his dismay), he ends up with a dog he doesn’t want—but who quickly becomes the light of his life. Back at the Dunphy house, Phil and Claire switch parenting jobs and Phil takes on the role of disciplinarian, forcing Haley and Alex (Ariel Winter) to deep clean their bathroom while Claire gets to be the fun parent with Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and Luke.

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Getty Images/Rick Powell

7. “Dude Ranch”

  • Season: 3
  • Episode: 1
  • Air Date: September 21, 2011

Vacation episodes are a fun change of scenery and we start off season three with a family trip—including Haley’s boyfriend, Dylan (Reid Ewing)—to a dude ranch. There are multiple storylines happening here, from Alex getting her first kiss, to Claire and Haley fighting over Dylan’s unexpected proposal, to Mitchell teaming up with Luke to do “boy things” (like blow up a birdhouse with a firecracker), to Phil trying to impress Jay with his mountain man skills, to Jay working to keep a ranch hand from flirting with Gloria. Oh, and Gloria spends the trip being much louder than usual since her ears won’t pop from the flight. There’s so much going on in this episode but it’s entertaining from start to end.

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8. “Baby on Board”

  • Season: 3
  • Episode: 24
  • Air Date: May 23, 2012

The roller coaster of emotions this episode brings makes it a crowd favorite. Mitch and Cam find out the mother of the little boy they’re adopting is in labor sooner than they thought, and they bring Gloria along to help with the language barrier between the families. At the hospital, drama ensues between the family of the birth mother, and Mitch and Cam find out they won’t be getting the baby after all. But on a happy note, we end the episode and the season finding out that Gloria is pregnant.

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Getty Images/Peter Hopper Stone

9. “Fulgencio”

  • Season: 4
  • Episode: 13
  • Air Date: January 23, 2013

Baby Joe (Pierce Wallace) is getting baptized and Gloria’s mother and sister are in town. After Jay rejects a few of their family traditions, Gloria’s mother feels disrespected and throws some digs at him. Phil, on the other hand, is working to solve the kids’ problems without involving Claire and ends up creating plenty more issues for each of them.

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Getty Images/Jordin Althaus

10.  “Games People Play”

  • Season: 4
  • Episode: 23
  • Air Date: May 15, 2013

In this episode, Phil thinks it’s a good idea to take a road trip with Claire and the kids, though Claire is waiting for the other shoe to drop, since she has a feeling it’s not going to work out. Cam and Mitch are cheering on a now-older Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) at her gymnastics competition when their actions are questioned by other parents who think they’re trying to sabotage her competitors as Lily comes out in first place.

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11. “Suddenly, Last Summer”

  • Season: 5
  • Episode: 1
  • Air Date: September 25, 2013

Spirits are high at the start of the season as the family celebrates the legalization of gay marriage, insinuating Cam and Mitch can now tie the knot. While each of them work on a plan separately to surprise the other with a grand proposal, the plans fall through and a romantic moment on the side of the road leads to their beautiful engagement.

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12. “Australia”

  • Season: 5
  • Episode: 20
  • Air Date: April 23, 2014

Another family vacation takes us to the Land Down Under. It’s all fun and games until Jay and Claire are working too much, leaving Phil and Gloria upset. Haley also works to teach Lily the value of waiting for the right thing instead of jumping on the first offer in terms of what souvenir she should pick out. While all this is happening, Mitch and Cam take advantage of the perks of their international friend who turns out to be an Australian talk show celebrity (no matter how much he annoys them), which ends up biting them in the behind when they need to hitch a ride home from a biker gang.

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Getty Images/Peter Hopper Stone

13. “The Wedding Part 2”

  • Season: 5
  • Episode: 24
  • Air Date: May 21, 2014

Mitch and Cam’s wedding day is here. Part one of this episode starts with chaos like Cam’s outfit being stuck at the closed dry cleaners, a wildfire forcing the wedding to be pushed up, Claire getting stuck in a boat on a lake with Luke and more. In part two, we see the wedding being moved around to numerous locations, ending with a sweet moment with Jay and Mitchell and a beautiful marriage between Cam and Mitch.

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Getty Images/Carol Kaelson

14. “Phil’s Sexy, Sexy House”

  • Season: 7
  • Episode: 7
  • Air Date: November 18, 2015

The family gets together for Thanksgiving leftovers and Phil talks up the new house he’s trying to sell with tons of cool, high-tech features. Everyone seems to get enticed by this because while Andy (Adam DeVine) is setting up for a showing at the house, Haley arrives and makes a mess in the huge bathroom jacuzzi, Phil arrives to play a virtual reality video game alone, Claire arrives to seduce Phil, Luke arrives to drink with friends, Alex arrives to hook up with her secret boyfriend and Cam and Mitch arrive to have some alone time together.

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Getty Images/Eddy Chen

15. “White Christmas”

  • Season: 7
  • Episode: 9
  • Air Date: December 9, 2015

Gloria wants a “white Christmas” so she rents a cozy cabin, although she reads the weather app wrong, using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit, so it’s much hotter than they expected. Cam and Mitch are hoping to redeem themselves from a drunken mess of a performance they put on last Christmas by singing a harmonized version of “Silent Night” while seemingly being teased by everyone else. Meanwhile, Haley and Andy are secretly hooking up while he is still with his girlfriend, Beth (who Gloria then surprises him with by bringing her to the cabin). After Haley and Andy are caught, he's confronted by Phil and ends things with Beth (Laura Ashley Samuels), who reveals she’s been a serial cheater throughout their relationship.

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Getty Images/Peter Hopper Stone

16. “The Party”

  • Season: 7
  • Episode: 18
  • Air Date: April 6, 2016

This is one of our favorite episodes because the comedic energy is top notch across the board. Gloria and Claire head out for a spa weekend when Claire gets a notification the fire alarm is going off while Manny and Luke are home watching Lily. Assuming they’re throwing a party, Claire forces Gloria to come with her to check on them. Meanwhile, Mitch and Phil are headed to a nerdy movie premiere when they take a marijuana edible (which kicks in when they get back to the house) right before they get notified an alarm is going off. They walk around the house high thinking about a plan on how to get out undetected. After Luke and Manny inevitably do get caught with a room full of partygoers in Luke’s room hiding, Mitch and Phil are outed as high by Jay.

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Getty Images/Peter Hopper Stone

17. “Finding Fizbo”

  • Season: 8
  • Episode: 15
  • Air Date: March 1, 2017

Fizbo episodes are always a treat, and in this one, we find out Mitchell “accidentally” donated Cameron’s Fizbo get-up and someone is now impersonating Fizbo in public. Cam uses his sleuthing skills at the couple’s bowling tournament to find out who the culprit is. While this is going on, Phil is hosting a bachelor party for his dad, Frank (Fred Willard), and includes Jay and his new brother, who turns out to be a bit of a wild card.

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18. “Lake Life”

  • Season: 9
  • Episode: 1
  • Air Date: September 27, 2017

Starting off season 9, the family is on vacation on a big yacht on a lake where Jay ponders his mortality and the mark he’ll be leaving on his family while Claire and Phil try to get in touch with their younger selves with cliff jumping and water sports. Gloria and Cam hang out together on the water while Cam is covered from head-to-to in a white garment, sunscreen, a sunhat and glasses to avoid sun exposure because of a medication he’s on. When his coverup gets caught in the boat motor, he’s left nude and has to jump in the water to cover himself. The episode ends with the family coming together to console Jay after they miss his one request to watch the eclipse with him.

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19. “Wine Weekend”

  • Season: 9
  • Episode: 16
  • Air Date: March 21, 2018

Haley takes the adults and Manny to her boss’s mansion in wine country for a weekend stay, though everyone seems to be keeping secrets. Haley has an ulterior motive of her own to get them to take responsibility for a mistake she made (which works). Jay is hiding from Gloria that he’s brought Stella with him, Mitch and Gloria sneak out to go to a party at Oprah’s house, Claire works alone to get rid of a pair of bear slippers Phil won’t stop wearing and Cam and Phil practice for a dance troupe they’re trying out for to ensure their moves are perfectly synchronized.

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20. “Good Grief”

  • Season: 10
  • Episode: 5
  • Air Date: October 24, 2018

The usual fun Halloween episode isn’t as fun this season as the family finds out about Mitchell and Claire’s mom’s very sudden passing. The comic relief between the grieving moments keeps the episode light though. Lily hides Dede (Shelley Long) figurines in plain view of Gloria to make her think Dede is haunting her and Cam’s Kate Middleton costume is pretty spot on. We also see the kids grieve as Haley comfort eats while Alex can’t seem to get enough of her boyfriend in the bedroom to comfort her.

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21. “Stuck In A Moment”

  • Season: 10
  • Episode: 10
  • Air Date: December 12, 2018

In this episode, we patiently wait to figure out how Dylan and Haley plan to tell the family about their news: Haley is pregnant. After many things go awry, like the Pritchett household getting infested by banana spiders from Gloria’s Columbian Christmas sweaters and Phil stealing Claire’s home Christmas display to use at an open house. At the end of the day, they all get together and Haley and Dylan spill the beans and they all apprehensively celebrate out of excitement and nerves for the couple.

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Getty Images/Byron Cohen

22. “Can’t Elope”

  • Season: 10
  • Episode: 20
  • Air Date: April 10, 2019

Haley and Dylan decide to tie the knot before Haley’s looming due date, and they get frustrated when Claire tries to make it a big family affair, because of how chaotic things get. After uninvited party guests like Luke’s Tinder date and Jay’s “business partner” are also in attendance, the couple ditches the last-minute wedding to elope by themselves, but decide they can’t get married without their parents there. At a midnight ceremony officiated by both Phil and Dylan’s mom, the couple says, “I do.”

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Getty Images/Tony Rivetti

23. “The Last Halloween”

  • Season: 11
  • Episode: 5
  • Air Date: October 30, 2019

Claire told Phil she doesn’t scare easily, so Phil has made it his mission ever since the previous Halloween to frighten her, which he accomplishes with a very long, detailed plan over the course of the year. Cam and Mitch head to a Halloween party with Gloria where she is insecure about her age when someone calls her Jay’s wife and not his daughter. Luke heads out for a romantic night with his older girlfriend, who then realizes she was the target of Luke’s teenage pranks that led to her divorce.

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Getty Images/Gilles Mingasson

24. “The Prescott”

  • Season: 11
  • Episode: 10
  • Air Date: January 8, 2020

Courteney Cox and David Beckham make cameos in this episode thinking Manny and Luke are their bowling instructors. Phil identifies himself as an undercover Instagram foodie who wants to review Alex’s apartment building’s renowned sliders, Claire wants to get her hair done by a famous hair dresser that works in the complex’s salon, Mitch and Cam are both trying to have a run-in with David and Victoria Beckham and Jay is setting up a romantic rendezvous with Gloria while she tries to overcome her fear and go down the waterslide.

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Getty Images/Eric McCandless

25. “The Finale Part 1 & 2”

  • Season: 11
  • Episode: 17
  • Air Date: April 8, 2020

In this last episode, Phil and Claire are going mad because all of their kids are living at home, in addition to Haley and Dylan’s twin babies. They make the kids decide which one of them will be the one to move out which results in all of them making plans so the parents end up as empty nesters for the first time ever (a bittersweet moment for sure). Cam and Mitch settle into their new home with their newest addition. Shockingly, Cameron is offered a prestigious head coaching position in Missouri which ends up uprooting their new life into an even newer life in a new state. We end the series with the kids moving out of their rooms and Cam, Mitch, Lily and the new baby moving to Missouri. The final shot lands on the entry room photo from the muddy photoshoot in season one for one last tug at the heartstrings.


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Olivia Dubyak is PureWow's Commerce Editor and textbook Capricorn. She studied journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but has gone from New York City to...

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