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Modern Family Wiki

Pilot (originally titled My American Family)[1] is the first episode from Season 1 premiere of Modern Family. It first aired on September 23, 2009.

Plot Summary

Jay Pritchett recently married to Gloria Delgado, is trying hard to keep up with his much younger and hotter Colombian wife, along with her passionate preteen son, Manny Delgado. Claire Dunphy is having a hard time raising her own family: her husband Phil is great, except that he thinks he's "down" with their three kids, much to all their embarrassment. Meanwhile, Mitchell Pritchett and his enthusiastic partner Cameron Tucker have just made a major life change by adopting a Vietnamese baby named Lily.

Episode Description

The show is about three examples of the 'modern family'. First to appear are an example of a typical nuclear family; Phil and Claire, and their three children, Haley, Alex, and Luke. Claire and Phil shout up the stairs to the children multiple times until they finally come down one by one. When Haley emerges, Claire tells her that her skirt is too short, and when she asks Phil to tell her what's wrong with what she's wearing he misunderstands and tells her it looks 'cute', Haley then thanks her Dad. Claire then makes a comment saying that people know she is a girl and she doesn't need to prove it. Alex then emerges and says that Luke got his head stuck in the banister again. Phil then tells everyone that he's got it and asks Claire where the baby oil is, Claire starts to reply with 'it's on our dressing room table' and then realizes it's inappropriate to say in front of the kids and replaces it with 'I don't know, find it'; she turns around to

Phil & Claire (Married 16 years).jpg

bang her head. Phil and Claire are "interviewed"; Claire says she was out of control growing up and doesn't want their kids to make the same mistakes. She then says that 'if Haley never wakes up on a beach in Florida half-naked' she has done her job, Phil then interrupts her to say 'our job', Claire then corrects herself; 'right, I've done our job'.

Jay & Gloria.jpg

The second example of the modern family comes in the form of Gloria Pritchett and her much-older husband, Jay, as they are watch Gloria's son Manny play soccer. Gloria is overenthusiastic; shouting encouragement to her son whilst arguing with another parent. Jay asks her to take it down a notch. Gloria and Jay are then "interviewed", where Gloria discusses the differences between their backgrounds: saying she comes from a small village in Colombia which is "number one for murders", while he comes from the city and owns a big business.

Manny sees a girl on a bike.jpg

Back on the pitch, Manny lets the other team score a goal when he is distracted by a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl riding by on a bicycle, much to the team's dismay and the dismay of one of the parents; who Gloria had an argument with before Gloria threatens to 'take her out'. Gloria then speaks to the father of one of the other players, who assumes that Jay is her dad.

Mitchell & Cameron.jpg

The third example of the modern family are Mitchell and Cameron, a gay couple who are on a plane returning from Vietnam having adopted a baby, Lily. The other passengers admire Lily, with one man commenting, "You and your wife must be thrilled". When Cameron walks on board and sits down beside Mitchell, an uneasy silence develops. In an interview, the characters say that they have been together for five years. Back on the plane, Mitchell threatens to make a speech and does so when a woman says "look at that baby with those cream puffs", which he believes is a reference to himself and Cam. It's revealed by Cam that she is referring to the cream puffs Lily is eating. Cameron apologizes by offering to pay for headsets for all the passengers.

Luke gets his head stuck.jpg

Back at the Dunphy residence, Phil frees Luke and his head from the banister when Alex says that her brother needs to be checked by a specialist. Haley is informing her parents that she has invited Dylan, a senior boy from her high school, over and tells them to try not to embarrass her. In an interview, Phil tells the camera crew that he is the 'cool dad' because he texts and knows all the 'lingo' and dances to High School Musical. He proceeds to show the kids the dances.

Alex gets shot by (a BB Gun) Luke.jpg

Alex and Luke are outside playing when Luke shoots her with a BB gun. Alex runs into the house to complain to their parents Claire tells Alex off when Alex calls her brother a 'little bitch'. Claire reminds Phil that she warned him that this would happen and instructs Phil to follow through with the agreement: that Phil shoots Luke; at first, he misunderstands what she wants him to do.

Back at the soccer game, Manny informs Gloria that he's quitting soccer and wants to go to the mall and tell the sixteen-year-old, Brenda, that he loves her. In an interview, Gloria tells that Manny is more like his father; very passionate. She says that all they did was "fight and make love, fight and make love, fight and make love!". Gloria then says that one time they fell out of a window, this is news to Jay so he responds with 'which one were you doing?' in a sarcastic way.

Cameron and Mitchell are arriving home, and Mitchell is worried that there is something wrong with Lily because she hasn't slept. In an interview, Cameron talks on how he gained weight during the adoption process and compares his process in the beginning and through to a pregnant woman. Cameron then shows Mitchell the surprise he has in Lily's nursery; a mural painted on the wall depicting the couple as angelic figures. Mitchell is worried that his family won't accept Lily telling Cameron that he hasn't told his family they're adopting a baby. Cameron then proceeds to invite them all over and Mitchell says he wants to cancel but is pressured by Cameron to tell them saying he has 'avoidance issues'

Claire and Dylan meet.jpg

Dylan arrives at the Dunphy household. Claire instructs Phil to "scare him". Phil then tries to but just makes it really awkward between Claire, Dylan, and Haley. In an interview, Phil says that it's his 'eye communication' that will scare Dylan. Phil accidentally hurts his back in the process of trying to "scare him" and Dylan is forced to carry Phil to the couch; the scene ends with Phil asking anyone to flip him on his back from his side but everyone has already gone.

At the mall, Jay tries to bribe Manny not to confess his love for Brenda, but Manny does it anyway. Meanwhile, Manny reads a poem for the sixteen-year-old and is crushed when she says she has a boyfriend. Afterward, Jay is mistaken for a mall-walker so he decides to buy some "hip" new clothes.

Haley brings her boyfriend upstairs while Alex helps Claire cook, however, Alex's constant jokes and comments about how "awesome" it would be to see Haley pregnant; at first Claire tells Alex to stop trying to make trouble for her sister, but when Claire says Haley is just like her past self at that age, she panics as she was a risky teenager and goes to rush upstairs and break the two up. Phil tells Luke he's about to learn an important lesson and is hesitant after seeing Luke so scared, but then accidentally shoots Luke. Claire pretends she is dropping off laundry and exits the room, Haley then asks for her door to be closed, and her Mom comes back into the room and tells her she's leaving it open because she's been there before and gives Haley and Dylan a description of what happened to her. Haley freaks out and goes downstairs to complain to her Dad; Phil, who is preparing to shoot Luke. Phil accidentally shoots Dylan, and after asking what's wrong with the BB gun, he drops it and shoots himself.

And in the interview, Mitchell explains how his dad isn't fully comfortable with walking into a room in case he accidentally walks in on his son being intimate with Cameron even after 5 years. At Mitchell and Cameron's house the two prepare to introduce Lily as Mitchell's family arrives, and it is at this point where it is revealed that the three families are all related; Jay is Claire and Mitchell's dad. Before Lily is introduced, Claire shares that Haley got a new boyfriend and Phil shot him. Mitchell announces that he and Cameron were thinking about adopting a baby, but Jay interrupts telling them that he believes a baby should have a mother, and suggests they get a dog if they're bored. Claire admits she's also unsure if the couple are ready for fatherhood as she thinks Mitchell is uptight. Jay then starts to think the couple has split up due to Cameron not appearing, and calls him a drama queen. After Mitchell defends Cameron of being dramatic, Cameron dramatically enters, holding Lily aloft before the family while "Circle of Life" from The Lion King plays. Everyone is shocked but happy, and fawn over the baby. Jay apologizes for his earlier words, and everyone welcomes Lily into the family. In the ending scenes, Jay is reading Manny's poem and then mocks it. We cut to an interview with Phil, where he says that Luke hasn't beaten him at any game, in the Dunphy's backyard, we see Luke and Phil play basketball on a trampoline, Phil trash talks his son while he beats him at the game and we go back to the interview and Phil says that when the day comes and corrects himself to 'if the day comes' he'll tell Luke 'well done' and give him support.

Main Cast

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

Guest Starring


(The Credits will be the same throughout Seasons)

  • Chris Smirnoff - Associate Producer
  • Jeff Greenberg - Casting Director
  • David Hennings - Director of Photography
  • Richard Berg - Production Designer
  • Ryan Case - Film Editor
  • Howard Griffith - Unit Production Manager
  • Alisa Statman - First Assistant Director
  • Helena Lamb - Second Assistant Director
  • Gabriel Mann - Music
  • Marissa Boretto - Costume Designer
  • Gary Camp/Chris Mosley - Camera Operators
  • David Morton - Chief Lighting Technician
  • Charles Bukey - Key Grip (Camera and Electronical Department)
  • Melody Miller - Property Master
  • Christopher Carlson - Set Decorator


  • The pilot script was originally titled My American Family.[2] This episode marks the first appearance of Jay, Claire, Gloria, Phil, Mitch, Cam, Manny, Luke, Haley, Alex, Lily and Dylan.
  • Phil and Claire are also the names of the main couple in Crazy Night which was released in 2010 and the names of a couple in the Twilight Zone episode Acts of Terror which was broadcasted in 1988.
  • The scene where Mitch and Cam play the Circle of Life to introduce baby Lily to the family is used again in season 10 to introduce Haley's babies.
  • When Claire and Alex are in the kitchen Alex suggests Haley get pregnant to which Claire disagrees however in Season 10 Haley does get pregnant and gives birth to twins.
  • Julie Bowen was 8 and a half months pregnant with twins and she is visibly pregnant in this episode. Her stomach is hidden by various things such as laundry or cereal boxes but can be seen briefly when she is first seen calling the kids downstairs for breakfast. It’s also obvious when she is baking in the kitchen later in the episode, while asking Alex what Haley and Dylan are doing upstairs.
  • The first character to speak in the show/pilot is Claire Dunphy when she says “Kids, breakfast!…Kids?”
  • In the Greek version of the show, there are some parts of the episode that change:
    • In the original version, Mitchell and Cameron adopt Lily from Vietnam, but in the Greek version, Dimitris (Mitchell) and Labros (Cameron) adopt Lily from London, United Kingdom, thus portraying her as a British girl rather than a Vietnamese girl.
    • In the original version, Brenda Feldman whom Manny is in love with is 16 years old. In the Greek version, her counterpart whom Diego (Manny) is in love with is 20 years old.
    • In the original version, Phil is dancing to High School Musical's "We're All in This Together" in front of his kids and they look completely uninterested and bored. In the Greek version, Philippos (Phil) dances to the song "Gangnam Style" and his children are actually amused and even laugh happily.
    • In the original version, Dylan is portrayed being 2 years older than Haley while Dylan's counterpart in the Greek version is called Petros and is a male who is 19 and a half years old and has repeated his third year of General Lyceum (this means High School), three times and is 3 years older than, Haley's counterpart in the Greek version, Danai.
    • Luke having a soccer game is replaced with Panos having karate lessons.
    • Claire plans for Luke to be shot at 16:15 while Faye plans for Panos to be shot at 16:20.
    • In the original version, Phil's BB Gun shootings take place outside in the backyard of the Dunphys' household. In the Greek version, they take place inside the house in Panos's (Luke) bedroom.
    • In the original version, Phil accidentally shoots Luke in the wrist, Dylan in the neck and himself in his crotch. In the Greek version, this is all different: Philippos (Phil) accidentally shoots Panos (Luke) in the hip, Petros (Dylan) in the crotch and himself on the top of his right leg.
  • In the Iranian version there are also some parts that change:
    • Mohsen (Phil) does not accidentally shoot himself, but instead accidentally shoots Amir (Haley).
    • Mohsen shoots both Shahin (Luke) and Anoush (Dylan) in their forehead and Amir in his left ear.
    • In the Iranian version, the oldest Dunphy daughter, Haley, has gone AWOL and is instead replaced by a teenage boy, Amir. Due to this change, Haley's boyfriend Dylan is replaced by a boy, Anoush, who is a close friend of Amir. This change is because in Iran, friendships between opposite sexes, even for children, aren't allowed. This is why in the original series, Claire goes to check on Haley and Dylan if they're not doing anything stupid (as well as lying that she was dropping off some laundry) since Alex made her feel insecure that Haley would get pregnant, and instead in the Iranian version, Leila (Claire) instead enters Amir's room in the guise of providing refreshments and this is also the reason why the Iranian version featured Amir and his male friend, Anoush, in his room.
    • "Circle of Life" from The Lion King does not play when Behrooz (Mitchell) and Elham (Cameron) introduce their baby to their family.


  • First episode of the show.
  • This episode aired six years before Summer Lovin.

Cultural References

  • When everyone on the plane change their behavior when they realize that Lily was adopted by two men, Mitchell says: "...suddenly it’s all "Oooh, SkyMall, I gotta buy a motorized tie rack" referring to SkyMall, the specialty publishing firm that's headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Phil frees Luke from the banister and tells him "Be free, Excalibur", referring to the sword of King Arthur.
  • Phil mentions texting abbreviations like 'LOL', 'OMG' and 'WTF', for which gives the explanation "What the face?".
  • Phil says that he knows all the dances from High School Musical, referring to the homonymous movies series trilogy.
  • Claire gets into Haley's room while she is with Dylan to check on them and she mentions that they are watching Falcon Crest, referring to the soap opera that aired on CBS.
  • Cameron presents Lily to the family with the "Circle of Life" from the animated movie The Lion King playing in the background and he is reenacting the scene from the movie.


  • When Jay and Gloria are doing their couch interview near the beginning of the episode, judging from the staircase behind them alone, it’s obvious that their house is completely different from every other episode.
  • When Claire and Phil first meet Dylan, after the front door is closed, you can see that the wall to the left of the stairs is solid - in every other episode, there is a doorway that leads to another room (that we never actually see the entirety of the series).
  • When Dylan lays Phil on the couch, you can see a wall immediately to the left of the couch - in every other episode, the wall is not there and the room continues (where the piano sits).
  • Cam and Mitch’s apartment is also different from every other episode - the kitchen that usually sits to the right of the front door is a wall, and the arches between rooms are much wider. The black and red painting next to the front door is very similar to other episodes, but also different.
  • The end credits are in a different style/font to other episodes.