When the show first aired in 2009, Modern Family wasn't like other sitcoms of the era. It radically shifted what a contemporary incarnation of a television sitcom could be with its use of representation, multiple locations, and evocative storytelling.
For eleven seasons, Modern Family delivered a unique blend of family troubles, diverse opinions, and relational tension while showcasing the hilarity found within the dynamics of such a group.
Through its characters, the series broke new ground while making audiences fall in love with them along the way—a trait that only the finest sitcoms can boast—and today it stands alongside the very best sitcoms of the 21st century due to its endless rewatchability.
Here we look back across more than a decade to see which of the Modern Family characters stand out as the best.
8. Mitchell Pritchett
Of all the adults in Modern Family, Mitchell Pritchett appeared to be the most sensible when big decisions were made. He counterbalanced his other half, who was far more reckless with emotionally-driven decisions that would often destabilize the pair's dynamic.
That isn't to say that Mitch didn't have his big comedic moments. Some of the series' funniest scenes happened with him at the center, such as when he dressed up as Spider-Man and had to shimmy down a drain pipe to escape the glare of his office workers.
However, on the whole, he didn't have the same sparkle that the others did. (To be fair, a large part of that is down to the screen-dominating performance of his other half.)
7. Luke Dunphy
It's safe to say that Luke got a little less fun as he got older, but when Luke remained a younger character, his escapades with Phil were often at the heart of an episode.
Luke's seeming lack of intellect was made up for in different ways, like scheming to manipulate family members into doing things—like when he made Haley and Alex want to swap rooms with him, when really he wanted to have a different living arrangement.
As Luke got older, his character changed to become more teenager-y. He was less interested in having fun with his dad or messing around with his sisters, and the Dunphy household wasn't as edgy as it had once been.
6. Lily Tucker-Pritchett
Lily's first two seasons were nothing more than her as a baby, but as Modern Family thrived, so too did Lily when she entered as a "real" character in the third season.
The sassy heart of the show and the best of the children, Lily often had the best one-liners and commentary on the events unfolding within her family. At one point, she even used her Asian heritage to distance herself from her embarrassing dads when she was on a date.
Although Lily had significantly less screentime than the other characters, she used her moments to maximum effect. Armed with Mitchell's sarcasm and Cameron's flare, Lily often stole scenes with a simple cutting comment that summed up everything perfectly.
5. Claire Dunphy
Claire is her father's daughter through and through. Her competitive nature shines through as she rules over her family, forced to be the voice of reason for her children and the foil to Phil's wacky ideas.
She's similar to Mitchell in that sense, but she has a side to her that makes Claire more madcap than him. It's a side that probably comes from DeDe, her unbalanced mother, which often ends up with her engulfed in petty feuds that showcase her wild side.
Claire's antics throughout the show make her a fan favorite as she displays all the trappings of modern motherhood while enjoying a loving marriage to Phil, whom she allows to run wild instead of quashing.
4. Jay Pritchett
The paterfamilias of the family and the one who's always dragged in to fix broken situations, Jay is the dad who's lost in the modern world yet always tries to be better for his children and grandchildren.
He comes a long way through the series, such as when he finally accepts Mitchell's gay relationship with Cam and later when he truly accepts Cam as one of the family. He also dotes on his grandchildren whenever they ask him for anything.
He might appear stern and overly competitive, but he's a softie at heart who loves his family through the best and worst moments of their lives. Jay relishes his role and is ultimately a good husband and step-father, making Jay one of the show's most resonant characters.
3. Phil Dunphy
Phil is the joy of Modern Family. He's the family member who never ceases to search for the brighter side of life and wants to spend every second in the embrace of his loved ones.
Sure, Phil is often outright insane with crazy ideas that drive Claire up the wall, but that's also why his family adores him: he's the fun one.
Both his daughters can manipulate Phil to their sides, and the antics he shares with Luke are often the funniest parts of an episode. Despite all that, Phil's real strength lies in his relationship with Claire.
He's the perfect man for her. They have a close connection that's lasted the years of their marriage and their raising of three children. Together, they always help one another to better themselves.
2. Cameron Tucker
A slave to his own emotions, Cam steals every scene he's in with the unique flare that he has on screen. Eric Stonestreet's performance as the character has a sense of freedom to it, one that the writers keenly picked up on and expanded as the seasons progressed.
In Modern Family, Cam represents chaos. His actions are almost always over-the-top and annoying to those around him, but he's got a big heart that displays his love for each and every one of them.
Alongside his passion for clowning and football, he's a loving husband and father. It makes him the person whom Lily loves to manipulate the most, as she knows he finds it difficult to say no to her.
1. Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
Gloria is the beating core of the show. As step-mother to Claire and Mitchell and step-grandmother to their children, she's always attempting to bring them all closer together.
Having only recently married Jay, Gloria needed time to settle into her new family dynamic during the early seasons. However, by the end, she's the one they all end up adoring the most.
Why? Because Gloria is the one who continually demonstrates how much she cares for each and every one of them, often by tapping into the anger that's hidden and bubbling beneath her charming veneer.
An eclectic box of surprises who never shies away from a fight, Gloria came to dominate Modern Family thanks to Sofia Vergara's comedic timing coupled with her adoringly wholesome performance.