Modern Family is an incredibly popular, and long-running, ABC sitcom. The series will be entering its eleventh, and supposedly, the final season this coming fall. The series follows a dysfunctional family shot in a documentary style. The characters include Phil and Claire, who are polar opposites, and their three kids.
Then there is Claire's dad and his new, much younger wife, Gloria and her son. Finally, there is a gay couple, Mitch and Cam, along with their adopted kids. While many people are sad to see the show go, there are some jokes they probably won't miss. We're taking a look at some of the jokes from the series that have already aged poorly.
10 Claire Commenting on Alex's Figure
This is a joke that no one could have truly anticipated aging as poorly as it did. In the series, it's played as a casual comment that Claire makes to her daughter when she begins to go through puberty.
But then we find out that the actress who plays Alex, Ariel Winter, was actually severely mistreated by her mother and eventually ended up getting a surgical reduction because she felt very self-conscious about her body; the joke lost some of its humour. It's hard to rewatch that scene without cringing a little bit about what happened later on down the line and feeling sorry for the girl.
9 Jokes At Haley's Expense
Early on in the series, this was more prevalent than it has been in the last few seasons but there were many jokes about Haley's sexuality and often times they were about shaming her for it.
There were also copious jokes about her being taken advantage of by older men or that she was too stupid to know how to do anything and it's a "good thing she's pretty." Had those same jokes been written now they might not be brushed aside as easily or supported by the fans of the show nor by the actors who bring these characters to life.
8 The Nagging Wife
The "nagging wife" trope is one of the laziest sitcom tropes out there and yet it litters many of the older sitcoms who make it an effort to paint all women as nagging shrews who keep their husbands from doing anything fun. Modern Family did this quite a bit in the early seasons with Claire who didn't get to have much of a personality beyond being this type of character; much to the chagrin of her husband and kids.
Her personality has grown and her characterization has evolved since then making her less of a one-note character and Julie Bowen's excellent portrayal helped a lot with that.
7 Columbian Stereotypes And Punchlines
This is a major problem with the series that has continued throughout but it has gotten slightly better in the more recent seasons. Gloria's character is portrayed as a stereotype of Latin-Americans, but not only that, Sofia Vergara very much plays into it. Her over-exaggerated stories and characteristics have not been taken kindly by many in the community and the show has received backlash for how it portrays her character.
Things got a little better when Gloria admitted she over-exaggerates at times and also went on a rant in Spanish about how she's actually incredibly intelligent in her native language that resounded strongly with others.
6 Jokes That Target The LGBT Community
Considering two of the main characters on the series are members of the LGBT community, you would think the series might have been more tactful about the jokes based around sexuality but in reality, the beginning of the show had many that were various shades of offensive.
As the series progressed, the jokes came more from the gay characters themselves and were more in good fun than crude and dehumanizing. But if you watch the early seasons back it's hard to not cringe at some of the things that come out of Jay's mouth, in particular. He has a gay son and it's not easy to forgive his blatant prejudice towards his own kid.
5 Cam "Acting Straight"
Cam "acting straight" but then being called out by the woman he's trying to pick up was a pretty awful example of how the gay characters on the show are stereotyped. The woman stating she knew Cam was gay based on how he walked and talked is basically saying that all gay people act the same way and all of them are feminine in nature.
It was offensive enough that the LGBTQ+ community fired back at the series after that episode aired and several articles were written about it. One would think with having two main gay characters they would have wanted to set a better example to their many viewers.
4 Jokes That Divide The LGBT Community
As if the LGBT jokes weren't enough, there were several jokes in the early seasons specifically at the expense of lesbian characters. Cam and Mitch have had more than one occasion where they show distaste for lesbian women.
It's sad because misogyny with gay males is indeed a real issue and having it depicted on the series is uncomfortable for bi and lesbian women, it felt as if we were being attacked for our sexuality from people who were supposed to be our allies and part of our community. Like with other elements on the series, this got better over time but it was hard to miss early on.
3 Beautiful Name, Shawn
Ugh, the racially insensitive jokes in this episode truly are terrible. As mentioned before, they've lessened over its ten-year run but in one of the earlier seasons, there was an entire episode about Jay not wanting to seem racially insensitive or prejudiced. Most of the jokes in this episode were satirical in nature and certainly about Jay being an idiot. But one, in particular, is majorly cringe-worthy.
Towards the end of the episode, Jay talks with his new black neighbor who mentions his name is "Shawn, by the way." Jay mishears this as, "Shawn M'badawae," or something that ilk and is obviously being racially insensitive to Shawn who is clearly blown away by his comments. Again, this joke is aimed at making Jay look stupid but it's still hard to watch.
2 Poking At Gender Identity
Modern Family truly made "acceptable" targets out of everyone. There really wasn't a stone unturned when it came to offending groups of people. This remained true with transgendered people who were constantly the butt of many jokes in the early days of the show.
Eventually, the series did cast a trans child actor but some outspoken people on the internet felt the move was exploitative and a way to make up for past mistakes on the series. There are too many jokes to list but if you're rewatching the early seasons of the series odds are you will notice and come across many of them.
1 All Of The Jabs At Lily
Finally, some of the worst and most offensive jokes early on in the series were at Lily's expense. Perhaps one of the most racist jokes on the series came from Phil when he found out that her name was Lily. Because she is Vietnamese, Phil makes a comment about how "Lily" will be hard for her to say. It's hard to even type that without cringing internally. This isn't a joke that aged poorly so much as a joke that never should have been made to begin with, as are many on this list.
As if belittling her like that wasn't bad enough, Cam and Mitch, her dads, have had several terrible moments. One other that comes to mind is when Cam continues to ask racially insensitive questions to Lily's doctor, specifically because she's Asian, despite being raised in America and having no idea what he's talking about more often than not.