With three generations colliding on a daily basis, drama cuddles up to comedy in these "modern family" episodes as they showcase the facets of family dynamics. Even with the laughs, there's enough insight into the emotional and motivational motives behind every character that this show becomes more than a time killer. Find out why this show is a hit with these prime episodes:

"Moon Landing"  

A keen observation on what is lost and what is gained by leaving a career to pursue full time parenting gets tackled here. Clair goes through an amusing crisis and her family helps to enhance that spiral with their antics. The interplay between Jay and Cameron in their shared gym experience should cause some serious gut busting laughs. Manny's betrayal of his mom's terrible driving talents is worthy of a spy thriller and makes this one of the best "Modern Family" episodes ever.

"Someone to Watch Over Lily"  

Death is the ultimate, mostly unforeseen game changer, and it takes the center role in this "Modern Family" episode. Baby Lily might need a guardian should anything happen to Mitchell and Cameron but their selections are rather limited. The covert investigation into their family kicks off and chaos ensues. A great look into the random moments in lives that people are judge by both fairly and unfairly. Jay's admission about Manny's bravery gives an incredible power to this story.

"Airport 2010"

Ed O'Neill's nuanced expressions, as his mind wars between the general love of his family and his specific desire to spend time with Gloria, are worthy of a thousand words. Love means needing some time alone before you lose your mind from the constant proximity of family. Jay and Claire's barstool confessions bring a beautiful power to their own father-daughter bond. A "Modern Family" episode that builds pressure until it's all gently released back into the wild.

"Role Reversal"

"Modern Family" ignores the classic brain swaps in movies and television and simply has Claire and Phil switch their perceived good and bad roles. One of the things "Modern Family" does so well is showing all the motives and thoughts behind every action and with Mitchell trying to be a good partner but needing to serve his own self, a comedic moment of neuroses and selfishness ensues. Gloria's teaching of compassion to Jay offers a lesson in what helps a stranger more: compassion or the truth? Gloria is an incredible foil to Jay's curmudgeon. In the end, this "Modern Family" episode is about the strength of opposites and need to laugh at your own weaknesses to keep your sanity.


The little things people promise to get to and then forget get tackled with Phil forgetting to secure a cabinet. The steps he takes to ensure that Claire doesn't find out makes this a "Modern Family" episode that strives on the audience identifying with Phil and his flaws. With the earthquake giving the perfect excuse to avoid a party, "Modern Family" shows they can take the minutiae of people's lives and make it hilarious. You can fake an illness to get out of work, but with an earthquake you can probably get out of a wedding if you play it right. The observations in this episode are picture perfect, smudges and all.

-Matthew Lagenfeld