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Family Portrait (Modern Family)

"Family Portrait" is the twenty-fourth episode and the final episode of the first season of Modern Family and the twenty-fourth episode of the series overall. It originally premiered May 19, 2010 on ABC. The episode was written by Ilana Wernick and directed by Jason Winer. It guest stars Kobe Bryant and Sean Smith.

"Family Portrait"
Modern Family episode
Family Portrait (Modern Family).jpg
The Family Portrait
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 24
Directed by Jason Winer
Written by Ilana Wernick
Production code 1ARG22
Original air date May 19, 2010[1]
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Old Wagon"

In the episode, Claire makes an effort to take a new family portrait. Gloria and Manny go with Phil and Alex to a Lakers game and share an awkward moment on the jumbo-tron. Cameron gets a job as a wedding singer while Mitchell takes care of Lily and battles with a pigeon that entered the house. Luke interviews Jay for a school project. After lots of mishaps, the family is barely on time for the portrait but Claire's perfectionism gets on Jay who starts a mud fight. The portrait is not as perfect as Claire was imagining it but she admits that she loves the result.

"Family Portrait" became the second highest rated show in the series history and received positive reviews from critics with many praising the scene where Mitchell attempts to kill the pigeon and Cameron singing Ave Maria.



Claire's (Julie Bowen) perfect plans for a beautiful family portrait are pulled apart by various mishaps.

Phil (Ty Burrell) takes Alex (Ariel Winter) to a Lakers game with Gloria (Sofía Vergara) and Manny (Rico Rodriguez). During the game, he ignores a phone call from Claire and then begrudgingly kisses Gloria because of the "Kiss cam". Claire and Haley (Sarah Hyland) watch on TV that Phil ignores the phone call but not the fact that he kissed Gloria, but Phil believes that they had seen the kiss.

A stray pigeon enters Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron's (Eric Stonestreet) house, and Mitchell battles to get it out. As a result, he destroys the house. Cameron gets a job as a wedding singer and Luke (Nolan Gould) interviews Jay (Ed O'Neill) for a school project. Luke finds Jay's stories boring so Jay invents much more exciting ones. Haley gets a pimple and tries to get her mom to postpone the portrait, something that Claire does not agree to.

All the while Claire battles the Dunphys' broken stair to fix it so everything would be perfect for the portrait. She ends up destroying it completely so she calls Mitchell to ask him to do the shooting at his place. After his battle with the pigeon though, the house is in the worst condition for a photo shooting so he tells her that what she is asking is impossible.

Nonetheless, Claire manages to get the whole family perfectly dressed and barely on time for the picture. Her perfectionism though, finally gets to Jay and he starts a mud fight, dirtying their perfect white costumes. Claire is forced to let go of the perfect family portrait, and instead they take a series of fun pictures in varying positions. While later hanging the framed picture, Claire admits that she loves the result more than any perfectly posed family portrait.


The episode was written by Ilana Wenick and directed by Jason Winer.

The episode also guest stars Kobe Bryant as himself in a short cameo and Sean Smith as the photographer. Pau Gasol and Luke Walton guest starred in the episode, but their parts were cut from the episode. This was revealed by ABC representative, Yani Chang by e-mail.[2] The episode is also being included on the DVD, the episode will have a "Making of" for the season 1 DVD as well.[3]

Cultural referencesEdit

Cameron sings the song "Ave Maria" at the wedding.[4] The same scene where the song is played while Mitchell is trying to kill the bird is very similar to John Woo movies.[5] The scene is also similar to The Godfather.[6]

Phil tells Luke to go through the sprinkler the "Hurt Locker" way, in a reference to the film The Hurt Locker.[7] Phil makes a reference to Willy Wonka.[8]



In its original American broadcast, "Family Portrait" was viewed by an estimated 10.01 million households receiving a 4.2 rating/11% share in the 18-49 demographic becoming the second highest rated episode of the series history.[9] It also beat American Idol in the Men 18-34 demographic and became the Wednesday's #1 Scripted Show for the 12th consecutive week.[10] "Family Portrait" ranked 10th in the 18-49 demographic weekly ratings becoming the 4th highest rated episode and the 3rd highest rated show of the week on American Broadcasting Company and 21st in the weekly total viewers the 6th most viewed episode and 4th most viewed show of the week on American Broadcasting Company.[11]


"Family Portrait" received generally positive reviews.

Robert Canning from IGN gave the episode a 9.2/10 saying it was "Outstanding" and "So as great as Maui was, "Family Portrait" was indeed the best way to end Modern Family's premiere season."[5]

Donna Bowman of The A.V. Club gave the episode a "A-" writing "no way Claire manages to calm down enough about her ruined picture at the scene, although I can buy her loving the picture after the fact -- almost everything else that happened tonight made me cringe because I recognized some part of myself or my family in it."[12]

Jason Hughes of TV Squad remarked "Lucky for me, it was brilliant and packed with far, far more goodness to enjoy."

Emily Exton of Entertainment Weekly gave the episode a positive review and stated that Luke was the best character of the episode once again saying "From falling asleep to his grandfather’s stories about the ’60s, to being plastic-wrapped and walking Hurt Locker-style (pure genius!) across the lawn, I’ve grown to appreciate and crave his hilarious and slightly delayed responses to things."[7]

TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.4/5 writing " already considered your opening season one of the strongest in TV history. Did you really have to prove that this week by even making Kobe Bryant funny?!?"[8]

Alison Stern-Dunyak of BuddyTV said the best moment of the episode was "Most prominent, however, was the show's best sequence, a lengthy, nearly wordless scene that cut between Cameron singing "Ave Maria" at a wedding and Mitchell destroying their home chasing an invading pigeon."[4]

James Poniewozik of Time stated "Portrait" set out to do what some of Modern Family's best episodes have done, notably "Fizbo," in my opinion the show's best episode overall: it moves the characters toward one central event, setting in place the elements for both hilarious disaster and a moment of catharsis. "Portrait" did that" and he also loved The Godfather parody scene.[6]

Award nominationsEdit

This episode was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Comedy Series (Single or Multi-Camera) and was nominated along with the eventual winner of the category: The Pilot of Modern Family.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for playing Mitchell Pritchett.[13]


  1. ^ "Family Portrait: Episode Info". MSN Entertainment. 
  2. ^ Medina, Mark (May 13, 2010). "Kobe Bryant's cameo appearance on 'Modern Family' to air on May 19". Laker's Blog - LA Times. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ McCutcheon, David (July 7, 2010). "Modern Family Waltzing In". IGN. Retrieved July 10, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Stern-Dunyak, Alison (May 20, 2010). "'Modern Family' Fan Columnist: An Offer You Can't Refuse". Buddy TV. 
  5. ^ a b Canning, Robert (May 20, 2010). "Modern Family: "Family Portrait" Review". IGN. 
  6. ^ a b Poniewozik, James (May 20, 2010). "Modern Family Watch: Photo Finish". Time Entertainment. 
  7. ^ a b Exton, Emily (May 20, 2010). "'Modern Family' recap: Luke puts the 'He' in 'Hero'". Entertainment Weekly - Pop watch. 
  8. ^ a b Richenthal, Matt (May 20, 2010). "Modern Family Season Finale: Even Kobe is Funny". TV Fanatic. 
  9. ^ Seidman, Robert (May 20, 2010). "TV Ratings Wednesday: Good Guys Off To Bad Start; Idol Down". TV by the Numbers. 
  10. ^ Gorman, Bill (May 20, 2010). ""Modern Family" Finishes Out its First Season as the Night's No. 1 Scripted TV Show on Each of its Last 12 Originals". TV by the Numbers. 
  11. ^ Seidman, Robert (May 25, 2010). "TV Ratings Top 25: Dancing Tops Idol With Viewers Again, Lost Finale Wins With Adults 18-49". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on 2010-05-28. 
  12. ^ Bowman, Donna (May 21, 2010). "Family Portrait". The A.V. Club. 
  13. ^ "Emmy toss-up: Who'll win best supporting comedy actor? [updated]". LA Times. August 11, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2016. 

External linksEdit