Lake Life[1] is the first episode from Season 9 premiere of Modern Family, it aired on September 27, 2017.

Plot Summary

In the season premiere, Jay forces the family to take their family vacation on a houseboat on a lake in an effort to create memories that will last long after he's gone. Meanwhile, Mitchell runs into an old flame that opens some old wounds; Cam has to stay out of the sun at all costs; Phil and Claire try out some adventurous excursions; and the kids' quest for a good time may not be as fun as they expected.

Episode Description

Jay has taken the family on vacation on a houseboat to watch the upcoming solar esclipse. Also along for the ride is Alex's boyfriend Ben, however everyone barely notices he's there (including Alex).

Jay learns that an old colleague of him passed away and wants to get close on his family. He obliges them to watch the eclipse with him.

However, things become difficult as Claire and Phil feel that they get older and try to rejuvenate themselves. Claire jumps into the lake from a cliff while Phil jetpacks.

The kids go on a quest but become stranded on a island. At the same time, Ben, who collapsed while Lily and Joe were supposed to stay with them, rescues them but the kids take the float he'd used to reach them and leave him stranded instead.

Cam must avoid the sun because of his skin's problems and Gloria does not have it easy since she embarrasses him in front of Mitchell who learns that his teenager crush was actually gay.

Everyone except Jay and Joe miss the eclipse. Jay is furious and decides to leave on a rowboat convinced he'll never be as close to his family as he'd like. They all remind him of all the great stuff he's done for them, so he returns and the episode finishes with everyone singing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' until Alex remembers she left Ben stranded.

Main Cast

(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Joe Pritchett
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring

  • Joe Mande as Ben
  • Kyle Bornheimer as Scotty
  • Annika Foster as Jet Ski Kid


  • Ben is the fifth non family member to appear in an interview scene, with Alex.
  • In this episode, Mitch pretends not to know Cam. In Stand By Your Man, the roles are reversed.
  • This is the second episode to air during or around an actual event which in this case was the solar eclipse the first being Suddenly Last Summer which aired the day gay marriage become legal in California.


Cultural References

  • The episode takes place around the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017.
  • The family sing "Total Eclipse of the Heart".
  • Mitch mentions "If I Could Turn Back Time" as the Cher album he wanted in 1989; the album in question was actually called Heart of Stone
  • Cam says "Hello darkness my old friend", from "The Sound of Silence"


  • The AV Club gave it "B-", saying "will the show be enshrined as one of the great network sitcoms? Can it still capture the inventive, sharp feeling of its early seasons—something that happened in many of last season’s episodes—or has it settled into the sitcom version of a light stroll through the woods while keeping an eye out for birds?"
  • TV Fanatic gave it 3.8 / 5.0, saying "Modern Family is great when it comes to humor, but it's at its best when it combines that with true to life experiences and emotions."


  • Claire's first line "Kids, breakfast" is also her first line in Pilot.



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