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Virgin Territory (Modern Family)

"Virgin Territory" is the 16th episode of the third season of the American sitcom Modern Family and the series' 64th episode overall. It aired on February 22, 2012. The episode was written by Elaine Ko and directed by Jason Winer.

"Virgin Territory"
Modern Family episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 16
Directed by Jason Winer
Written by Elaine Ko
Production code 3ARG17
Original air date February 22, 2012
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Aunt Mommy"
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"Leap Day"
List of Modern Family episodes

In the episode, Claire, Jay and Mitchell go on and confess past sins during a family brunch with Mitchell destroying one of the proudest moments of Jay, scoring a hole-in-one at a golf game. Jay is furious about it and leaves while Mitchell decides to follow him to apologize and the two of them make up. Claire leaves for some "yoga" classes and Gloria follows her because she wants to join her. When Claire finds excuses to not do the classes with her, Gloria realizes that something is wrong and that Claire is lying. She goes back only to discover that Claire does not take yoga classes but practices shooting range, something that relaxes her. Luke and Manny try to revenge Lily for taking all the attention away from them but their plan fires back and Cameron gets injured instead while also breaking Lily's doll. Phil goes to the mall with Alex, Haley and Lily to fix the doll and on their way there, Alex accidentally reveals that Haley and Dylan have sex, something that shocks Phil.

"Virgin Territory" received positive reviews from the critics and it won the Guilt Writes Award for Episodic Comedy, while Winer was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series.



At a family brunch, the Pritchett family confess past sins starting with Claire (Julie Bowen) confessing to a long-ago transgression against Jay (Ed O'Neill). Jay takes his turn and confesses to both Claire and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). Mitchell's confession ruins Jay's proudest golf moment when he reveals that he kicked Jay's ball into the hole and that Jay did not score a hole-in-one.

Meanwhile, Luke (Nolan Gould) and Manny (Rico Rodriguez) decide to take revenge on Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) for taking all of the attention away from them. The two set up a trap similar to a Rube Goldberg machine which is inadvertently tripped by Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) instead, and he injures his back and breaks Lily's doll. Phil (Ty Burrell) takes Alex (Ariel Winter), Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Lily to the mall to repair the doll. Jay leaves to the golf course and Claire leaves to "yoga", and Gloria (Sofía Vergara) decides to join her. Mitchell decides to go reconcile with his father and leaves. With everyone gone, Cameron begins a frantic search for a Tupperware he believed Claire stole from him some time ago.

At the parking lot of "yoga", Claire attempts to avoid Gloria and lies continually making Gloria to eventually depart. Gloria realizes that something is wrong with Claire's excuses so she goes back. Claire finally reveals to Gloria that she is actually there for the shooting range and not for yoga because it is a great method of stress release. Gloria surprises Claire by casually shooting a bulls eye and leaving Claire to practice.

In the car, Alex accidentally reveals that Haley had sexual intercourse with Dylan (Reid Ewing), and Phil is shocked. Haley is angry with Alex and feels guilty when her dad implies how disappointed he is. At the mall, there is tension between Phil and Haley as they repair the doll and Phil makes many comments that are both dual references to Haley and the doll. In the end, the two reconcile.

At the golf course, Mitchell mistakenly reveals the false hole-in-one to Jay's friends but the two make up after remembering the incident itself.

The boys catch Cameron uninjured as he desperately searches for his Tupperware, but he gives the boys the keys to his car to wash it. The boys instead take the car for a spin to impress Manny's crush Miranda. Luke gives Manny a quick run-down of the car and they leave. Manny awkwardly drives and fails to impress Miranda. As the boys drive back their mom gets home, but before she can punish the boys, Cameron falls inside and gets injured, but he is satisfied that he has found his Tupperware.



In its original American broadcast "Virgin Territory" was watched by 11.54 million; up 0.32 million from the previous episode.[1]


While it is never to the degree of hysterical laughter, the show still hits the funny bone while being an honest story of a real-life modern times family. This episode, in particular, dealt with lies, virginity, and the tough reality of the secrets we all hold from our own family members. But this show deals with that subject in such a progressive and fun way.

Tim Martens, Custodian Film Critic[2]

"Virgin Territory" received positive reviews.

Leigh Raines of TV Fanatic rated the episode with 5/5. "I found this episode to be the perfect combination of funny and heartwarming. It never hurts to add realistic moments in every once in awhile [sic]. That's what Modern Family is good at and I'm glad they embraced it so well this week."[3]

Meredith Blake from The A.V. Club gave a B rate to the episode saying that the episode was very funny but it suffered from a bit of narrative entropy.[4]

Tim Martens of Custodian Film Critic rated the episode with 4/5 stating: "We really got to some deep subjects on this week’s “Modern Family.” [...] this week’s episode (titled “Virgin Territory”) touches on all the secrets that are kept deep within a family."[2]

Shayelizatrotter from The Comedy Critic gave the episode an A− rate. "While this episode was, in my opinion, not as hilarious as the last, it was still full of great, comical moments!"[5]


This episode won the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Episodic Comedy.[6]

Jason Winer was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for this episode.[7]


  1. ^ Bibel, Sara (February 23, 2012). "Wednesday Final Ratings: 'Modern Family,' 'CSI,' 'One Tree Hill' Adjusted Up, 'The Middle,' 'Happy Endings' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. 
  2. ^ a b Martens, Tim. "Modern Family- 3.16 "Virgin Territory"". Custodian Film Critic. 
  3. ^ Raines, Leigh (February 23, 2012). "Modern Family Review: Dirty Little Secrets". TV Fanatic. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  4. ^ Blake, Meredith (February 23, 2012). "Virgin Territory". The A.V. Club. 
  5. ^ Shayelizatrotter (February 24, 2012). ""Modern Family" Episode Review: Virgin Territory". The Comedy Critic. 
  6. ^ Finke, Nikki (February 17, 2012). "WGA Awards Winners: 'Zero Dark Thirty's Mark Boal, 'Argo's Chris Terrio, 'Breaking Bad', 'Louie', 'Girls', 'Portlandia', 'Searching For Sugar Man's Malik Bendjelloul (LIVE)". Deadline. 
  7. ^ "64th Primetime Emmys Nominees and Winners". Emmys. 

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