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When Modern Family ended its third season, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) revealed she was pregnant with a second child, a plot point that the producers kept more tightly guarded than any in the show’s history. In fact, a fake ending was written and shot to throw off both the network and the crew.
To hear co-showrunners Steve Levitan and Chris Lloyd tell it, the decision to add another Delgado-Pritchett family member was made early in the season as a way to test Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria’s relationship with each other and with young Manny (Rico Rodriguez), much as having Lily grow up and sending Haley (Sarah Hyland) off to college had done for the other two homes.
The cast and crew, who are featured in this week’s cover story, open up about what’s to come in Modern’s fourth season.
*Claire and Phil Contemplate More Kids, A Vasectomy
Claire is struggling with both her daughter’s departure for college and her dad’s new child with Gloria. “She has some ambivalence about it because she’s seen her family shrink as she’s seen Jay and Gloria’s family expand and so I think that gets her thinking: might another kid not be completely out of the question,” says Lloyd. Adds Julie Bowen (Claire): “She thinks it’s ridiculous and silly that her father’s having a kid; and at the same time, there’s that question: ‘Oh God, am I old? And I’m done having babies?’” She and her on-screen husband Ty Burrell (Phil) reveal that there will be an episode early in the season where Phil explores the idea of a vasectomy. Also addressed: Claire’s future outside of her children. “I think invariably, as the children get older, Claire is going to wonder what the hell she’s supposed to be doing with her life,” Bowen continues. “She doesn’t have people to boss around.”
*Claire Sends Haley to College with Condoms
Claire sends her daughter off to college with a supply of condoms, which will inevitably embarrass Haley and shock her roommate’s father. Levitan acknowledges that some of his writers, many of whom don’t have a college-aged child as he does, weren’t initially in favor of the scene. In fact, he wasn’t entirely convinced he was comfortable with it either, except that it’s a situation he’s heard many mothers discuss and for that reason felt it worthy of inclusion. “The name of our show is Modern Family,” he tells THR. “We shouldn’t shy away from things like that; we should explore them.”
*Cam returns to Work; Mitchell Consoles Him
Cam will return to work as a music teacher at the local middle school, which will make for a challenging –if deeply funny—transition. At home, he and Mitchell try to come to terms with the fact that Jay and Gloria are getting a new baby and they’re not. Says Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell): “Cam is in a very tough, dark, quiet place with it and feeling a lot of the anger and the disappointment of not getting the baby. Mitchell is having to take the reigns of being more emotionally the caregiver of the two of them.”
*Manny and Luke Bar Mitzvah Crash
Luke and Manny are now 13-years-old going on 14, which means they’re right at that Bar Mitzvah-going age. Except in Modern’s Bar Mitzvah episode, the duo is crashing rather than accepting an invite. “Luke and Manny are at this hotel, and Manny sees the girl of his dreams and she disappears. He understands she’s going to this Bar Mitzvah, so he goes to look at the board and there are three Bar Mitzvahs going on,” says Lloyd, adding: “Luke is along for the ride as they crash three different Bar Mitzvahs.”
*Alex Experiments with her Look, Gets a Boyfriend
With Haley off at college, Alex is now the oldest child at home. She’ll spend the early part of the season trying to figure out who she is and where she fits in. “She goes through a lot of different looks. First goth, and then vintage,” says Ariel Winter, who lets slip that her character will get a boyfriend this year.
*Gloria’s Family Comes to Town
Vergara (Gloria) says she’s been campaigning for Modern to head to Columbia to meet Gloria’s entire family. And while she’s yet to convince the producers, Columbia is going to come to her. Gloria’s mother and sister will both fly in for the baby’s christening.
*Jay and Manny Bond; Gloria Gets Moody
Rodriguez (Manny) suggests he and his on-screen step-dad Jay (O’Neill) will grow closer this season as they try to figure out how to deal with a pregnant Gloria. “There’s a lot about Gloria being pregnant and going through mood swings and how Jay and Manny deal with it,” he says. “They need to lean on each other because it really takes two to deal with one Gloria.” The writers are having a field day with the pregnancy storylines, which will include such things as Jay not being able to sleep care of Gloria’s thunderous snoring.
Email: Lacey.RoseTHR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose
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