When it comes to comic relief, it’s hard to pick a character who provides this better than another on the sitcom Modern Family. Phil Dunphy, the patriarch, has a dimwitted charm about him that makes him as lovable as he is hilarious, while mom Claire and youngest daughter Alex deliver the best sarcastic one-liners. Then there’s Mitch’s spastically unintentional deadpan humor, and grandfather Jay’s classic under-his-breath remarks. The list goes on with this ensemble cast.
But Cam, the fun-loving, husky son-in-law, is one of the most quotable. The man with a penchant for loud-patterned button-down shirts with flip-up collars and cuffs of contrasting patterns often delivers the best lines during each episode's diary session with his husband Mitchell.
Cam is flamboyant, fashionable, and soft-hearted, which contrasts with his small town country farm boy upbringing and deep love of football. That makes both his quotes, and the delivery of them, some of the best on the show. Here are 10 of his best thus far through the series.
10 On His Personality
“I’m sort of like Costco. I’m big, I’m not fancy, and I dare you to not like me.”
Like many naysayers, Mitchell is reluctant to head to Costco, believing that he’s too good to shop at a wholesale store. But upon arrival, he discovers a bounty of products he simply can’t resist and fills multiple carts in no time, as one often does when shopping there. This clever analogy to try and convince Mitchell to go with Cam, uttered in the first season of the popular series, is just one of many hilarious ways Cam confidently describes himself.
9 On His Penchant For Payback
“Revenge is a dish best served cold. And even better two days later out of a 24-ounce, microwave-friendly, burp-sealed pack and store.”
Make no mistake: while Cam is soft and sweet, if he gets upset, his hard country upbringing comes out when it needs to. And it did in this episode when he believed Claire has his Tupperware and never returned it, despite her insisting she did. Hence the quote, which references the missing storage containers that he sneaks into the house to find.
8 On Mitchell's Closeness With His Mom
“There’s a fish in nature that swims around with its babies in its mouth. That fish would look at Mitchell’s relationship with his mother and say, ‘That’s messed up.’”
True, Cam’s husband Mitchell has an odd relationship with his mother, which may have contributed to his high-strung, obsessive personality. A true mama’s boy, Cam sees this clearly and doesn’t shy away from giving his two cents about their closeness and Mitchell’s reluctance to stand up to his mother in any situation.
7 On Unrealistic Baby Expectations
“We sent those adoption papers out to Vietnam last summer! She said it could take up to 9 months to get a baby. It’s inhumane!”
This quote is a perfect example of things that sometimes come out of Cam’s mouth that show his slight self-absorption. Of course, had a woman and man conceived a baby naturally, it would take exactly nine months for the baby to arrive. Yet somehow Cam can’t wrap his head around waiting for an adopted child that long. It’s so (gasp) unreasonable! Of course, deep down, this just showed how much he wanted to have a child. But the silliness of the comment perfectly personifies Cam.
6 On His Short Fuse
“You want to hear the guest list for the night? So far it’s anger, betrayal, terror, and sadness. Congratulations Mitchell, you packed the house!”
When Cam gets angry, expect a dramatic flourish, glowering eyes, and a snarky statement like this one. This line was delivered in response to Mitchell forgetting to send out invitations to a gala benefit Cam had been planning. In true Cam fashion, it was to raise money for the “Friends of the Third Street Overpass Musical Society.” Also in true Cam fashion, he was so angry not because he wanted to support a great cause, but because he wanted to make sure he outdid his nemesis at work, who organized the fundraiser the year prior.
5 On His Adorable Baby Face
“I won cutest baby at the 1974 Jasper County Fair. People at the time said I could go Gerber.”
Yes, Cam has a somewhat inflated sense of self that some might simply call extreme confidence. That’s perfectly exhibited when, in this quote, one of many where Cam references his childhood, he compares himself to arguably the most famous baby face of all time. Of course, comparing the Jaspar County Fair to a worldwide baby model sensation is ludicrous. But not to Cam, who takes great pride in his small town.
4 On Eating Feelings
“These feelings would go good with pie.”
It’s the kind of statement that makes so much sense, yet it's a notorious one-liner that only Cam could think up on the spot. If you’re feeling down, upset, hurt, angry, or betrayed, what better way to feel better than to grab a slice of delicious, sugary pie? Let’s face it: of all of the characters on the show, Cam just might be the most relatable, and we’ll surely miss his clever musings once the series ends after its upcoming and final 11th season.
3 On His Love of Meryl
“Meryl Streep could play Batman and be the right choice.”
Clearly, Meryl Streep would never play Batman, much less appear in a superhero action film. (Although, never say never!) But Cam’s sentiment is obvious in this quote: she is an iconic actor who could play just about anyone. Of course, leave it to Cam to venture into impossibly-embellished territory in order to make his point.
2 On Throwing Shade
“That’s the worst call since they cast Russell Crowe in Les Mis!”
The king of the subtle slight, Cam is great at throwing shade in the most passive way, even if he’s talking about a Hollywood actor and not a member of his family, one of his friends, or a fellow parent at his daughter Lily’s school. Spoken when coaching one of his high school football team’s games, Cam’s hardened country attitude comes out, fuelled by his quick wit. He can come up with some of the most clever jabs on the fly.
1 On Awkward Situations
“You know how awkward I get when things get awkward.”
While it makes no sense, the statement is still completely true. Things are awkward when someone gets awkward, which is what makes a situation awkward. Or someone gets awkward because the situation is awkward. Cam, of course, is always ready to deliver a quiet yet hilarious line that has you saying, “What?” And then you laugh hysterically at the ridiculously cyclical and nonsensical nature of what he just said.