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Modern Family episode
Fizbo (Modern Family).jpg
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 9
Directed byJason Winer
Written byBrad Walsh
Paul Corrigan
Production code1ARG09
Original air dateNovember 25, 2009
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Great Expectations"
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"Undeck the Halls"
Modern Family (season 1)
List of Modern Family episodes

"Fizbo" is the ninth episode of the first season of the American sitcom, Modern Family and the ninth episode of the series overall. It originally premiered on ABC in the United States on November 25, 2009. The episode was written by Brad Walsh & Paul Corrigan and directed by Jason Winer.[1]

In the episode, Phil and Claire try to throw a party for Luke's birthday. Cameron decides to dress up as his clown character Fizbo to attend, Manny has a hard time impressing a girl after taking advice from Jay and Haley gets jealous of Dylan who talks to the animal handler of the party ignoring her. Everything seems to go fine but after Haley frees the scorpion, things go wrong and the family ends up to the emergency room.

"Fizbo" has received positive reviews from critics with many naming it the best episode up to that point. Despite this, "Fizbo" was viewed by 7.12 million households becoming the lowest rated episode of the series, low ratings some attribute to airing the night before Thanksgiving.

Eric Stonestreet won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance in this episode.


It is Luke's (Nolan Gould) birthday and Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) want to throw a big birthday party for him. Phil is the one who organizes things for the party. Among other things he ordered, he also asks for an animal handler, Jungle Tanya (Margo Harshman), who brings different animals to show them to the kids, including iguanas, a python and a scorpion.

Manny (Rico Rodriguez) wants to impress a girl he likes from school, Bianca (Kaitlyn Dever), and she is going to be at Luke's birthday party. He does not know what to do to get her attention and he asks for Jay's (Ed O'Neill) advice. Jay tells him that girls go for power and success and since he does not have any of those, he should be the funny guy. Manny's attempts to be funny do not have much of success but he finally finds the way to impress Bianca.

Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) dresses up as Fizbo the clown, despite Mitchell's (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) disagreement. But Cameron believes that there cannot be a party without a clown so he ignores him. On their way to the party though, Cameron defends Mitchell at the gas station, and Mitchell sees him in a different way.

Haley's (Sarah Hyland) boyfriend Dylan (Reid Ewing) is also at the party. When Dylan starts talking with Jungle Tanya ignoring Haley, Haley gets jealous and she frees the scorpion from its box to take her revenge.

Everything is going well at the party until the moment the freed scorpion triggers a chain of events and the whole family ends up in the hospital because Luke fell and broke his arm. While everyone is worried, Luke seems really happy for having a cast because he always wanted one and he says that this was the best birthday party ever.


The episode was written by Brad Walsh & Paul Corrigan and directed by the series' main director, Jason Winer. The episode employs a framing device to tell the story. The episode was inspired by the fact that Eric Stonestreet actually once performed as a clown; Fizbo was a nickname that his dad gave him. Fizbo's clothing is Stonestreet's real clown clothes.[2]

A gag throughout the episode is Phil's fear of clowns. Besides this, "fizbo" (spelled: FSBO) is a real estate term, meaning: For Sale By Owner. This furthers Phil's fear given his background as a real estate agent.



In its original American broadcast, "Fizbo" was viewed by an estimated 7.12 million households with a 2.4 rating/7% share in the 18-49 demographic becoming the lowest rated episode in the series history, until the Season 7 finale, due to the fact it aired Thanksgiving Eve. The show came fourth in its timeslot losing to Criminal Minds, The Biggest Loser, and Glee according to Nielsen Media Research.[3]


The episode was critically acclaimed by critics with many naming it the best episode of the season.

Although it was the least viewed episode of the season, it was the highest rated on IGN with a rating of 9.3. IGN reviewer Robert Canning noted, "Modern Family continued its trend of outstanding episodes."[4] Nolan Gould considered the episode his favorite of the series.

BuddyTV named the episode the 26th best episode of 2009 saying "A perfect ensemble piece had the family gather for a disastrous birthday party that featured a clown, a crossbow, a scorpion, a bouncy castle, a zip line and beads".[5]

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A saying "Best birthday ever. And best episode since the first couple. Welcome back, Modern Family!"[6]

Robert Canning in a review of the season remarked "the episode perhaps being that moment when the series went from being a strong freshman series to a breakaway critical success."[7]

James Poniewozik of Time gave the episode a positive review calling it "an impeccably executed pile-up of comic misfortune" and also said "Besides playing well of the defining traits of several characters, . . . it also proved again that the show has a great touch for physical comedy."[8]

M.L. House of TV Fanatic named the episode the best episode of the season saying "This episode also brought all storylines and family members together in an ideal conclusion to the half hour".[9]

Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Rob Licuria of Los Angeles Times stated Eric Stonestreet has the best chance to win a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance in the episode.[10]


Eric Stonestreet won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance as Fizbo in this episode.[11][12]


  1. ^ "Modern Family: Fizbo: Writers, Directors, and Crew". Retrieved 2009-12-14.
  2. ^ Bierly, Mandi (November 25, 2009) Entertainment Weekly Retrieved 2010-06-24
  3. ^ Seidman, Robert (November 26, 2009). "TV Ratings: Modern Family, Cougar Town, Glee, Eastwick & everything else down". TV by the Numbers.
  4. ^ Robert Canning (2009-11-30). "Modern Family: "Fizbo" Review". Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  5. ^ "TV's 50 Best Episodes of 2009". Buddy TV.
  6. ^ Bowman, Donna (November 26, 2009),35800/ The A.V. Club Retrieved May 23, 2010
  7. ^ Canning, Robert (May 26, 2010) IGN Retrieved May 30, 2010
  8. ^ Poniewozik, James (November 27, 2009) TimeRetrieved May 31, 2010
  9. ^ Richenthal, Matt (June 3, 2010). "Modern Family First Season Report Card: A". TV Fanatic.
  10. ^ Beachman, Chris; Lucuria, Rob (August 11, 2010). "Emmy toss-up: Who'll win best supporting comedy actor? [updated]". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
  11. ^ Allen, Chris (August 30, 2010). "Local star Eric Stonestreet and Modern Family win big at the Emmys". KSHB. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  12. ^ "And Your Winner, by Submission...: Analyzing 2010's Emmy Tapes". Cultural Learnings. July 15, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2016.

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