Modern Family (season 3)

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Modern Family (season 3)
Modern Family Season 3.jpg
Region 1 DVD cover
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 24
Original channel ABC
Original run September 21, 2011 (2011-09-21) – May 23, 2012 (2012-05-23)
Home video release
DVD release
Region 1 September 18, 2012 (2012-09-18)
Region 2 October 1, 2012 (2012-10-01)
Region 4 October 10, 2012 (2012-10-10)[1]
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4
List of Modern Family episodes

The third season of the comedy television series, Modern Family premiered September 21, 2011 and ended on May 23, 2012 on the American Broadcasting Company in the United States.[2] Modern Family was officially renewed for a third season on January 10, 2011.[3] The series airs at 9:00 pm ET on Wednesday on ABC and is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Lloyd-Levitan Productions with creators Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd as show runners.

This season like the previous seasons won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Eric Stonestreet (third consecutively and second for Stonestreet), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Julie Bowen (second consecutive), along with Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for Steven Levitan, among the fourteen nominations it earned. It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.



The third season of the show was produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Lloyd-Levitan Productions and is airing on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). Modern Family is produced by co-creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan who serve as executive producers and show runners with Bill Wrubel as co-executive producer.[4] The season premiere will be filmed at a dude ranch according to Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet.[5] The top choice for the setting for the dude ranch was Jackson, Wyoming.[6] Other cities that were under consideration were Tucson, Arizona and Bozeman, Montana.[6] The premiere will also be the first one hour episode for the series.[2] The season will feature the second Christmas episode and the first thanksgiving episode.[7] The season will also add new writers including Cindy Chupack as co-executive producer and Ben Karlin as consulting producer.[8] On February 29, 2012, the cast filmed an episode on location at Disneyland. The episode aired on May 9, 2012.[9]


Modern Family employs an ensemble cast. The series focuses on Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill), his daughter Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen), and his son Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) who live in Los Angeles. Claire is a homemaker mom married to Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell); they have three children, Haley (Sarah Hyland), the typical teenager,[10] Alex (Ariel Winter), the smart middle child[11] and Luke (Nolan Gould), the offbeat only son.[12] Jay is married to a much younger Colombian woman, Gloria (Sofía Vergara), and is helping her raise her pre-teen son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Mitchell and his partner Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) have adopted a Vietnamese baby, Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons). The kids are only required to appear in 22 episodes.[13]

Near the end of the second season, there were rumors of the producers recasting the role of Lily, and changing her age from a baby to a toddler.[14] In July 2011, a casting call for a "3- to 4-year-old daughter of Mitchell and Cameron" was put out by the producers.[15] They eventually cast Aubrey Anderson-Emmons to replace Jayden and Ella Hiller.[16] The season will also feature the developing of Lily's character.[5][17] There is a possibility of Cameron and Mitchell adopting another baby although it is not definite.[14][18] The season will also feature Haley's senior year of high school, and her being shown at least one prospect for college.[19] The season will also feature several guest stars. In the season premiere, Tim Blake Nelson guest starred as a cowboy who "intimidates the guys and sends the girls' hearts a-twitter".[20] Benjamin Bratt is currently slated to guest star as Manny's biological father and Gloria's ex-husband.[21] This will mark Bratt's second appearance on the series.[21] David Cross will also have a recurring role on the series as a city councilman who becomes enemies with Claire.[22]


No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
U.S. viewers
49 1 "Dude Ranch" Jason Winer Paul Corrigan & Brad Walsh & Dan O'Shannon September 21, 2011 (2011-09-21) 3ARG03 14.53[23]
While vacationing at Lost Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the three families try their hands at a little cattle herding, skeet shooting, and horseback riding. There are also some big firsts, a huge surprise, and an actual face-off between Jay and a cowboy named Hank (Tim Blake Nelson).
50 2 "When Good Kids Go Bad" Michael Spiller Jeffrey Richman September 21, 2011 (2011-09-21) 3ARG02 14.53[23]
Mitchell and Cameron plan an evening with the whole family to break the happy news that they're attempting to adopt another child. However, things go poorly when they realize that Lily may not take well to another baby in the house. Meanwhile, Claire and Jay are each focused on proving a point.
51 3 "Phil on Wire" Jason Winer Teleplay by: Danny Zuker
Story by: Bianca Douglas & Danny Zuker
September 28, 2011 (2011-09-28) 3ARG01 13.45[24]
The growing bond between Jay and the dog, Stella, gets on Gloria's nerves. Meanwhile, Phil and Luke go on a tightrope, but it's Claire with the missteps as she tries to teach the girls a life lesson. Cam's juice fast creates tension between him and Mitchell.
52 4 "Door to Door" Chris Koch Bill Wrubel October 5, 2011 (2011-10-05) 3ARG04 13.24[25]
Jay is determined to help Manny sell wrapping paper for a school fundraiser. Claire petitions the city for a stop sign to be installed at a high-traffic intersection. Mitchell tries to prove a point with Cameron, and neither one of them will back down. Phil and Luke attempt to create a viral video sensation. Finally, Gloria is desperate to find Stella after losing her.
53 5 "Hit and Run" Jason Winer Elaine Ko October 12, 2011 (2011-10-12) 3ARG06 13.65[26]
Phil and Claire's encounter with an annoying city councilman (David Cross) on the campaign trail gets Claire thinking about throwing her hat into the ring. Meanwhile, Gloria's offer for help fall on deaf ears with Jay, who's frustrated at work, and Manny, who's worried about school; and Mitchell and Cameron have a hit-and-run fender bender that leads to a confrontation with a kid who's bothering Haley.
54 6 "Go Bullfrogs!" Scott Ellis Abraham Higginbotham October 19, 2011 (2011-10-19) 3ARG07 13.04[27]
When Phil takes Haley to his Alma Mater on a trip to visit colleges, Claire persuades Mitchell and Cameron to include her in their boys' night out. Meanwhile, Gloria and Jay are alarmed at how fast Manny appears to be growing up.
55 7 "Treehouse" Jason Winer Steven Levitan November 2, 2011 (2011-11-02) 3ARG08 13.37[28]
Gloria persuades Jay to commit to a night of salsa dancing after seeing how much his friend Shorty (Chazz Palminteri) and his girlfriend (Jennifer Tilly) do together. Meanwhile, Cameron makes a bet that he can get a woman's (Leslie Mann) phone number at the bar and Phil builds a tree house for Luke.
56 8 "After the Fire" Fred Savage Danny Zuker November 16, 2011 (2011-11-16) 3ARG09 12.91[29]
The Pritchetts rally for a good cause after a neighbor's house burns down, but there's a downside to their Samaritan intentions when Jay injures his back. Cameron takes on a moving truck and some donated toys fall into the wrong hands.
57 9 "Punkin Chunkin" Michael Spiller Ben Karlin November 23, 2011 (2011-11-23) 3ARG05 12.72[30]
A former neighborhood resident, now rich and successful, returns for a visit. Jay thinks Manny needs constructive criticism and Mitchell questions the authenticity of Cameron's colorful childhood stories.
58 10 "Express Christmas" Michael Spiller Cindy Chupack December 7, 2011 (2011-12-07) 3ARG10 12.20[31]
The family gathers at Jay and Gloria's pool on a sunny December day, and realize that everyone will be scattered this coming Christmas, so they set off with their respective duties to throw an impromptu Christmas celebration. Therefore, Mitchell, Alex and Lily search for a tree, Jay and Cameron wrap gifts, Phil and Manny shop for the groceries, Gloria and Luke retrieve the angel, that Claire and Mitchell's mother made them, from the attic, and Claire and Haley shop for last-minute gifts.
59 11 "Lifetime Supply" Chris Koch Jeffrey Richman & Bill Wrubel January 4, 2012 (2012-01-04) 3ARG11 14.03[32]
Phil contemplates the worst, after missing a call from the doctor. Elsewhere, Javier, Manny's biological father, pays another visit to take his son to the horse races. Mitchell wins an environmental law award, creating a competition between Cam and himself on who has the better trophy. Gloria tutors Haley in Spanish.
60 12 "Egg Drop" Jason Winer Paul Corrigan & Brad Walsh January 11, 2012 (2012-01-11) 3ARG12 12.12[33]
Jay and Claire take control of their kids' school projects from Manny and Luke, while Haley and Gloria help Phil with a real estate presentation. Elsewhere, Cam and Mitchell meet with a potential birth mother.
61 13 "Little Bo Bleep" Chris Koch Cindy Chupack January 18, 2012 (2012-01-18) 3ARG14 11.89[34]
Claire prepares for her debate with Duane Bailey. Mitch and Cam try to clean up Lily's language before her turn as a flower girl. Jay blames Stella's strange behavior on Gloria.
62 14 "Me? Jealous?" Michael Spiller Ben Karlin February 8, 2012 (2012-02-08) 3ARG13 12.90[35]
Claire believes that Phil's new prospective client is inappropriate, but she cannot convince a trusting Phil. Meanwhile, Cam and Mitchell stay with Gloria and Jay, while their house is being fumigated.
63 15 "Aunt Mommy" Michael Spiller Abraham Higginbotham & Dan O'Shannon February 15, 2012 (2012-02-15) 3ARG15 11.23[36]
After selling a house to Mitch and Cameron's friends, Claire and Phil plan a celebratory dinner; overindulging in drinks leads to over sharing.
64 16 "Virgin Territory" Jason Winer Elaine Ko February 22, 2012 (2012-02-22) 3ARG17 11.54[37]
It's a day of disturbing realizations when Mitchell manages to ruin one of Jay's proudest golf moments, Phil overhears something that may forever change how he sees his little girl, and Gloria stumbles upon Claire's dangerous little secret. Luke and Manny try to get Lily into trouble because she is too cute .
65 17 "Leap Day" Gail Mancuso Danny Zuker February 29, 2012 (2012-02-29) 3ARG19 11.63[38]
Mitchell feels pressured to make Cameron's birthday extra special; people start to question Jay's manliness; the girls' "cycles" interfere with Phil's leap day plans.
66 18 "Send Out the Clowns" Steven Levitan Steven Levitan & Jeffrey Richman & Bill Wrubel March 14, 2012 (2012-03-14) 3ARG16 10.60[39]
Cameron's former clown partner comes to town. Meanwhile, another real estate agent obtains a listing Phil was trying to land. Elsewhere, a new friend of Manny's has Gloria and Jay suspicious.
67 19 "Election Day" Bryan Cranston Ben Karlin April 11, 2012 (2012-04-11) 3ARG20 10.35[40]
On Election Day, the family does some last-minute campaigning for Claire. Claire experiences technical difficulties during interviews.
68 20 "The Last Walt" Michael Spiller Dan O'Shannon & Paul Corrigan & Brad Walsh April 18, 2012 (2012-04-18) 3ARG21 10.21[41]
Claire tries to help Luke cope with the death of their neighbor, Walt. Phil and Alex spend some time together. Haley throws a pool party without permission at Jay and Gloria's house; Cameron's father visits.
69 21 "Planes, Trains and Cars" Michael Spiller Paul Corrigan & Brad Walsh May 2, 2012 (2012-05-02) 3ARG18 10.06[42]
Phil's friend Andre (Kevin Hart) convinces him to buy a two-seat convertible instead of his regular Cadillac, to which Claire's response is far from expected. Cam and Mitchell lose Lily's favorite stuffed rabbit on the subway and go to great lengths to recover it. Meanwhile Jay, Gloria and Manny take a trip to Jay's high-school reunion but run into trouble along the way.
70 22 "Disneyland" James Bagdonas Cindy Chupack May 9, 2012 (2012-05-09) 3ARG22 10.58[43]
When the family travels to Disneyland, Phil struggles to keep up with Luke. Claire tries to set Haley up with her friends nephew Ethan (Matt Prokop) but is stunned when they run into Dylan. Cam and Mitch try to curb Lily's new penchant for running.
71 23 "Tableau Vivant" Gail Mancuso Elaine Ko & Jeffrey Richman & Bill Wrubel May 16, 2012 (2012-05-16) 3ARG23 9.36[44]
Gloria and Jay bicker while trying to order lunch at a diner; Claire and Cam have different theories on how to discipline kids; Luke accepts an award under false pretenses; Phil has a hard time firing Mitchell from his temporary job at the real estate agency; the entire family participates in Alex's living art display of Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving painting "Freedom from want".
72 24 "Baby on Board" Steven Levitan Abraham Higginbotham May 23, 2012 (2012-05-23) 3ARG24 10.07[45]
While Gloria helps Cam and Mitch pursue an adoption opportunity, Jay and Manny baby-sit Lily; Alex attends her first prom; Haley makes a shocking announcement about her plans for the future.



Like the previous two seasons, Modern Family aired Wednesday at 9:00pm and is coupled with Happy Endings.[46] Aided by winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for the second time, ratings for the one-hour season premiere, "Dude Ranch" / "When Good Kids Go Bad", rose up 18% compared to the previous season premiere, "The Old Wagon" making it the highest rated episode for the series and the highest rated ABC premiere in six years.[47][23][48] "Dude Ranch" / "When Good Kids Go Bad" finished first in the ratings with a 6.2 rating among adults between the ages of 18 and 49.[23] The high ratings have led to a rise in cost for an ad, with an average of $249,388 per 30-second commercial, making it one of the highest costing shows of the season.[49]


The season has received an overall mixed reception, most of which stated that the series had lost some of its originality and wit while falling prey to comedy clichés. Slant Magazine reviewer Peter Swanson wrote that while the first episode was "the type of wacky-location stunt that's usually reserved for the fifth or sixth season of a dying sitcom", the following episodes "have been better [...] but they're still uneven".[50] He also criticized the writers for relying too much on "stunt episodes and celebrity cameos, like David Cross".[50] He ultimately gave the season 3 out of 4 stars.[50] HitFix reviewers Alan Sepinwall and Daniel Feinberg considered the season uneven and Feinberg criticized the season for the multitude of guest stars like David Cross.[51] Sepinwall also criticized the writing for Bowen's character for being "shrill and angry".[51] Despite this, they both complimented the performance of the kids.[51] James Parker of The Atlantic said, at the beginning of the third season that "Modern Family is very, very funny, almost ruthlessly so," [It's] a bit of a master class in pace and brevity ... The writing is Vorsprung durch Technik: hectically compressed but dramatically elegant, prodigal in its zingers and snorters but austere in its construction." He found it an exception to his dislike for sitcoms that eschew a laugh track.[52] Despite the recent criticism from some critics, the third season won its first Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, beating out two-time winner Glee.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Primetime Emmy Awards[edit]

Despite the mixed reviews, the third season received 14 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, the most nominations for a comedy, and won five of them.[53]

Primetime Awards
Year Category Nominees For role/episode Outcome
2012 Outstanding Comedy Series Modern Family Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor
in Comedy Series
Eric Stonestreet Cameron Tucker Won
Jesse Tyler Ferguson Mitchell Pritchett Nominated
Ty Burrell Phil Dunphy
Ed O'Neill Jay Pritchett
Outstanding Supporting Actress
in Comedy Series
Julie Bowen Claire Dunphy Won
Sofia Vergara Gloria Delgado-Pritchett Nominated
Outstanding Directing
for a Comedy Series
Steven Levitan Episode: "Baby on Board" Won
Jason Winer Episode: "Virgin Territory" Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Awards
2012 Outstanding Casting
for a Comedy Series
Jeff Greenberg Nominated
Outstanding Guest Actor
in a Comedy Series
Greg Kinnear Role: Tad
Episode: "Me? Jealous?"
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture
Editing for a Comedy Series
Ryan Case Episode: "Leap Day"
Steven A. Rasch Episode: "Election Day"
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy
or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation
Modern Family Episode: "Dude Ranch" Won

Golden Globes[edit]

The show won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.


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External links[edit]