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Modern Family: Who is a Rising Star and Who Will Fade Into a Black Hole?

John Bridges is a published author of history, and politics. His doctorate is in criminal justice. He's a fan of Modern Family


I am a huge fan of Modern Family and credit much of its success to an incredible writing staff and those members of the cast who carried the show. This article is an opinion piece, and you are free to agree or disagree with my assessment in the comment section.

The Pritchett Family


Ed O’Neill (Jay) Shining Star

O’Neill carried this show. He is an incredible actor, both dramatic and comedic. He can basically write his own ticket, or at the age of 75 can simply retire and rest on his laurels. If you are not sure about his abilities, then check his IMDb and choose something you have not yet watched. His work is always solid.

Sofia Vergara (Gloria) Shining Star

Vergara mastered a complex character that had both comedic and dramatic elements. She has held her beauty throughout the series as well. Unfortunately, her side efforts in movies did not do her justice. If the right role is offered to her, probably a romantic comedy, she will do great. If she chooses to stay in television, despite her tremendous comedic skills, her success would more likely be in a dramatic role. She did such a good job with the role as Gloria that she will need to distance herself before returning to comedy.

Rico Rodriguez (Manny) Black Hole

Rodriguez had many beautifully written lines during the show. He failed to deliver any of them properly. He showed no expression, no animation, and jumped, stumbled or mumbled most of his lines. As the show progressed, his skills did not. Since most of the scenes he was in also had O’Neill and Vergara his lack of acting abilities became even more notable. In the future he might be a candidate for a reality show (if they remain a thing) but for now, once he runs out of his money, look for him delivering pizza.

Jeremy McGuire (Joe) Shining Star

McGuire was a natural. It was obvious at the start that his long hair was covering an earpiece used to help him deliver lines, but he delivered them well, with proper inflections and acting. Many of his lines were also quite complex. His immediate best option is likely in television commercials. This route would keep him in the business until he grows a little older and can carry a Disney style show on his own. Unless his cute factor wanes during his teen years, he has a promising career ahead.

The Dunphy Family


Julie Bowen (Claire) Shining Star

Bowen is an incredibly talented actor. She can easily slip into future dramatic or comedic television roles without skipping a beat. She will likely be the first cast member to be offered a starring role on another television series and carry that show to success.

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Ty Burrell (Phil) Mediocre

Burrell did a good job on the show. His character was likeable, and he delivered lines well. He is however the Ross Geller of Modern Family. Like David Schwimmer, he will likely be offered a few roles in B-list movies and some guest appearances on television shows then fade away. Like Schwimmer though, he will likely find his true success behind the scenes as a director or producer.

Nolan Gould (Luke) Mediocre/Black Hole

When the show started, Gould was a cute kid who could not act. Some of the shows best lines were written for him but he did not know how to deliver those lines. As the show progressed his acting skills improved somewhat. He did grow into an attractive man though. His future is based upon the decisions he makes now. His immediate options would seem to be television commercials and perhaps modeling. In the long run though, if he wants to be an actor, he needs to improve his acting skills. Gould is not a shining star, but he does have potential.

Ariel Winter (Alex) Shining Star

Winter is a wonderful actor. Even when she was young, she delivered her lines well and showed a range of expressions. She did have some serious personal issues during the run of the series, but still handled her job professionally. It would be understandable if she chooses to take a break and recuperate but if she chooses to continue acting her future is bright in television, stage or film.

Sarah Hyland (Haley) Mediocre

Hyland’s acting in the show was inconsistent. She has good skills with facial expressions, gestures and vocal inflections. In some episodes she jumped lines that would have been funnier if she got the timing right. Hyland had some serious health concerns during the filming of the series, and this may be a consideration for her when deciding to engage in future projects. Her best current options would be doing voice overs for animated shows or podcasts.

The Tucker-Pritchett Family


Eric Stonestreet (Cam) Black Hole

Everybody loves Cameron, so hear me out before you throw stones. There is such a thing as doing such a great job that your future options become limited. He is forever typecast in the role of Cameron Tucker. Any acting he does from this point forward, all people will be thinking is his role on Modern Family. Compounding his challenges, Stonestreet is not gay. His expert portrayal of a gay character though will make it very difficult for him to be accepted in straight roles and any gay character he portrays would immediately take viewers back to Cameron Tucker. Stonestreet is smart and was likely aware this was his fate once the series proved to be a success. He will likely find great success in voice over for animated shows, producing and directing.

Jesse Ferguson (Mitchell) Black Hole

Yes, everybody loved Mitchell as well. Watching the show with a critical eye though, he was not given many opportunities to expand his character and develop a range of acting. Most of his role revolved around responding to Stonestreet. Ferguson did a good job in his role which accounts for his popularity, but like Overstreet, he is now typecast. Unlike Stonestreet, Ferguson is gay, and the character of Mitchell was not a far stretch from how he appears to be in real life… not a great deal of acting skill was required. He does have a distinct voice that would translate well to animated show voice over work. In the long run his best option will likely be as a spokesperson for a product or charity.

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons (Lily)

If the writers could have killed off a character, it would have been a toss up between Manny and Lily. Anderson-Emmons was awful at the start of the show. She could not deliver any of her lines which was even more noticeable next to talented actors such as Stonestreet and Ferguson. While her acting skills never improved, credit must be given to the writers which redefined her character and wrote lines that she could deliver in her untalented dead pan manner. It is unlikely she will ever act again. If there is ever a reunion show, her invitation to attend will likely be lost in the mail.

© 2021 Dr John Bridges

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