Some of the most iconic quotes from the characters of Modern Family

From sarcastic and sassy to relatable and emotional, here are some of our favorite lines from the comedy series.
(ABC/Tony Rivetti)
(ABC/Tony Rivetti) /

The sarcasm was strong on Modern Family, from the littlest ones to the adults! It really did make for some of the funniest moments on the hit comedy, as well as for some memorable lines. But, that's not all. At the center of the story, there was also heart and emotion and quotes from the show that reflect that. Below, we shared some of our favorites from each of the 12 main characters!

Jay Pritchett

"Life is full of changes. Some big, some small. I learned a long time ago you can fight it or try to make the best of it. And that's all a lot easier if you've got people who love you to help you face whatever life throws at you."

Jay is your typical "tough guy" who can be seen as a bit too direct and stand offish most of the time. But deep down, he's actually a big softie and cares very deeply about his family. And nothing sums it up like the quote above. Even if he complains or says his signature "oh jeez" at times when the family does something he doesn't agree with, he stands by them. And they all stand by him. And after marrying Gloria, having Manny as a stepson, and later with Joe, we really see Jay's character growth each season. The main theme of the series is family, and life really is easier when you have a support system around you.

Other memorable Jay quotes:

  • "Phil thinks he can Mean Girls me? How lame is that? Let me tell you something, I might be a pretty face, but I fight to win. Just like Legally Blonde!"
  • "Amazing news. The Grand Marshall in today's parade just got #MeToo'd, and they need me to fill in."
  • Gloria: Jay, don't forget Joe's new doll. Jay: Cam and Mitchell, always pushing their agenda.
  • "The minute they got rid of rotary phones, everything went to hell."
  • "History does not record Pocahontas asking John Smith to pass the sashimi roll while Myles Standish helps himself to gluten-free huevos rancheros!"
  • "The family needs a leader, and I can't do it forever. You can handle it."
  • "I spent the day hearing what my future had in store for me, and I didn't like one bit of it. It felt like my life was ending. And now you're telling me that I get to have a new start with the woman of my dreams. I think I'm gonna cry."
Courtesy: ABC /

Gloria Delgado-Pritchett

"Family is family. Whether it's the one you start out with, the one you end up with, or the family you gain along the way."

I love this quote because it basically sums up the whole show. It's so true. Families all look different, but that doesn't mean they're not a family if it's not in the "traditional" sense. Not everyone was receptive to Gloria when she first married Jay (we're looking at you, Claire). But eventually, the two actuallly grow to have a wonderful relationship. And the sitcom did such a great job of portraying three different types of families, and all three were portrayed equally as they should be. It's something important to show on television as we all have different experiences. I think that's one of the reasons why Modern Family was, and still is, such a success. It's relatable.

Other significant Gloria quotes:

  • "I know a lot of people think I'm attracted to Jay because of his money. But they're wrong. I'm attracted to him because he's sexy."
  • "You're too funny. I'm going to share that one with my next husband when we're spending all your money."
  • "The poncho by itself is fine. The poncho plus the flute plus the stupid dance? My son will die a virgin."
  • "In my culture, mothers are very clingy to their sons. In fact, the leading cause of death among Colombian women is when their sons get married. But I'm not like that."
  • Gloria: Lily, when something awful happens, you're going to be mine. Mitchell: It really is an "if" situation. Gloria: All mine!
  • Gloria: I do Jay. Why can't I do you? Phil: You can do me.

Claire Dunphy

"Raising a kid is like sending a rocket ship to the moon. You spend the early years in constant contact, and then one day around the teenage years, they go around the dark side and they're gone. And all you can do is wait for that faint signal that says they're coming back."

Claire is definitely super mom! She does it all, even when she has to play "bad cop" thanks to Phil. But when the two switched their roles in that one episode, they hilariously realized they each thrive as "good cop" and "bad cop," respectively! This line is so relatable for many parents as the teenage years are the tough ones. It's when kids are ready to be more independent, and like Claire said, they don't realize they need to come back and rely on their parents, but in a different way, until they're adults. During that time, all you can do as a parent is support them and wait for that day to come.

Other notable Claire lines:

  • "I have 3 children. I've been tired since 2005."
  • "No. The agreement was that if he shoots someone, you shoot him."
  • "Sweetheart I would love to be wrong, but I don't live with the right people for that."
  • "Your kids don't need to know who you were before you had them; they need to know who you wish you were, and try to live up to that person. They're gonna fall short, but better they fall short of the fake you than the real you."

Phil Dunphy

"We like to think we are so smart, and we have all the answers. And we want to pass all that on to our children. But if you scratch beneath the surface you don't have to dig very deep to find the kid you were. Which is kind of crazy that now we're raising kids of our own. I guess that's the real circle of life."

Another awesome quote about parenting comes from the one and only Phil Dunphy. A lot of times he's the goofy dad who has hilarious lines like "when life gives you lemonade, make lemons." But Phil is really one of the best TV dads out there, and this line is just one example of that. He's committed to his family and will do anything for his kids. And this quote is one that makes parents think. Even as adults we all still have an inner child of sorts. And sometimes, you're healing or become aware of that inner child once you have kids. Through them and with them, you grow together. And what a very cool lesson indeed!

Other unforgettable Phil lines:

  • "I’ve always said that if my son thinks of me as one of his idiot friends, I’ve succeeded as a dad."
  • "It's like they say, sometimes God closes a door. But sometimes he closes it so hard you can't get your wife out."
  • "Marry someone who looks sexy while disappointed."
  • "Is she moving in slow motion or is my brain doing that?"
  • "Do you see me saying 'I'm done?' Never. Because there is no 'done' in Dunphy."

Mitchell Pritchett

"Everybody's desperately afraid, to be different in any way. And then suddenly, almost overnight, everybody wants to be different. And that is where we win."

You know honestly, I didn't think about things like this until Mitchell said this quote. And it's so true when you do sit and think about it. In school, especially our teen years, in college, and even into adulthood, all you want to do is fit in with everyone else. But as we grow older, we learn to appreciate our differences and what makes us unique as individuals. And we really don't want to be the same as everyone else! It's funny how we change and see things differently, and it's a quote a really resonate with.

Other noteworthy Mitchell quotes:

  • "Look, everybody learns in different ways. My intellectual approach just wasn't right for Gloria, and it probably wasn't right for Lily. It- It's humbling to admit, but I'm just too smart to teach."
  • "When I was 12 years old my father walked into my bedroom and caught me doing the most embarrassing thing that a boy can do: dancing toMadonna’s “Lucky Star.”
  • "I got to stay home and plot the death of Dora the Explorer. Fill her backpack with bricks and throw her into the Candy Cane River."
  • Cam: The doctor says absolutely no sun while I'm on these antibiotics. Mitchell: What would happen? Because if it's anything short of death, I think you should risk it.
Courtesy: ABC /

Cameron Tucker

"Why not just live your limited days with leaving nothing unsaid. Tell the people who matter the most how you feel."

This line is key in any relaitonship. Everyone eventually realizes just how short life is and how the days go by so quickly. So while you have the chance and time, you need to let the ones you love know how you feel and how much you care about them. With our busy lives and schedules, this little thing can sometimes be easy to forget. But I think we can all learn from Cam's line in that we have to be aware of it, and truly tell our loved ones how much we care about them.

Other iconic Cam lines:

  • "Oh I'm sorry are my pinkies up? They do that when I get excited. Down girls."
  • Mitchell: We don't love pink. Well, you love pink. Cam: No, pink loves me."
  • "I just wanna dance at the ballet!"
  • "Yes, I've gained a few extra pounds while we were expecting the baby... but that's science. You can't fight it."
  • “These feelings would go good with pie.”
  • "We never needed fake I.D.s on the farm. We figured if a 16-year-old could drive a tractor, he could drink a beer. Not at the same time, of course. It's Missouri, not Texas."
  • "The dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists... Well, without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground."

The kids

  • Haley: Look, I have no problem drinking. I can literally do it standing on my head. But not with my parents. Plus also I needed to stay sharp because they were obviously up to something and I was in no mood. I barely got 10 hours of sleep last night.
  • Alex: I shouldn't be penalized for being too smart, I'm not running for president.
  • Luke: The money, it's in a block of ice. I got the idea when I heard about rich guys with frozen assets.
  • Cam: "Do you have any queens?" Lily: "Yeah, two big ones."
  • Lily: What if he never comes back? Jay: Oh honey. No one ever leaves home and never comes back. Lily: I did.
  • Manny: Aren't we all just fragile eggs hiding behind bubble wrap and bravado?
  • Joe: I saw Manny take shampoos from the hotel. So I took some things too. Then some bigger things. I like stealing. It makes my heart go faster.

All 11 seasons of Modern Family are currently streaming on Hulu and Peacock.

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