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The pilot episode of the television series Modern Family, written by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd and directed by Jason Winer, premiered on ABC in the United States on September 23, 2009. The pilot introduces viewers to three sets of people who make up a single family. The episode is shot in a mockumentary style, with a cameraman following the characters around their everyday lives and interviewing them characters at various intervals. It cuts between the experiences of the three separate units before they all come together at the end of the episode. Jay's family tries to function despite the age difference between himself and his wife. Claire's family tries to punish their son and watch over her daughter and her new boyfriend. Mitchell tries to hide the fact that he and his partner Cameron have adopted a daughter in Vietnam from his family until Cameron invites Mitchell's family without consulting him (which is revealed to be the other two families).

Reviews for the pilot episode compared Modern Family to shows such as Married...with Children, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle and, most strongly, Arrested Development. In the United Kingdom, reviewers saw similarities between Modern Family and Outnumbered.



Plot
The episode begins at the home of Phil and Claire Dunphy and their three children Haley, Alex and Luke. Claire and Phil shout up the stairs to the children and, when Haley emerges, Claire tells her that her skirt is too short. Phil, however does not agree and tells her she can wear it. In an interview, the adults discuss how they want to stop their children making the same mistakes that they did when they were growing up and Claire concludes that "I have done our job."

The scene shifts to the soccer field where Gloria Delgado-Pritchett is watching her son Manny play, along with her older partner Jay. Gloria plays the role of overenthusiastic mother on the touchline, instructing her son to try harder. Gloria and Jay are then interviewed, where Gloria discusses the differences between their backgrounds: she comes from a small village in Colombia which is "number one for murders", while he comes from the city. Back on the pitch, Manny spots a beautiful girl riding by on a bicycle and a dispute develops on the sidelines. Gloria speaks to the father of one of the other players, who assumes that Jay is her dad.

The episode next cuts to Mitchell and Cameron, a gay couple on a plane who are returning from Vietnam having adopted a baby, Lily. The other passengers admire Lily, with the man sitting next to Mitchell commenting that Lily's "mother must be very proud." When Cameron walks along the gangway and sits down next to Mitchell an uneasy silence develops. In an interview the characters say that they have been together for five years and had considered asking one of their lesbian friends to help them conceive. Back on the plane, Mitchell threatens to make a speech and does so when a lady says "look at that baby with those cream puffs," which he believes is referring to them but Lily is in fact eating cream puffs. Cameron offers to pay for the headsets of all the passengers.

The next scene is back at the Dunphy residence where Haley has a boy over who claims to be a senior at Haley's high school. In the process of meeting the boy, Phil manages to injure his back, and Haley's friend is forced to carry Phil to the couch, where the family leaves him, rolling their eyes. Haley brings her boyfriend upstairs but gets very annoyed when her mother Claire keeps watching them. Haley goes downstairs to complain to Phil who accidentally shoots Luke, Hayley's friend and then himself.

After the incident at Manny's soccer game, Jay is mistaken for a mall walker so he decides to buy 'hip' clothes at the local mall. Meanwhile, Manny reads a poem for a girl working at the mall.

The last scene is at Mitchell and Cameron's house where Lily is going to be introduced to the rest of the family. Before Lily is introduced, Jay says that Mitchell and Cameron shouldn't adopt and if they're bored they should get a dog. Lily is then introduced to the family while the The Lion King song "The Circle of Life," is played with music by Elton John and Tim Rice.

Production

The episode was filmed in Los Angeles in the United States and is set in a nameless suburban neighborhood. It was written and produced by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, who had worked together on Frasier.


Reception

Nielsen Ratings
The episode premiered on ABC in the United States on September 23, 2009. The show was watched live by 12.61 million viewers, placing it as the most viewed show of the night and the series. It also acquired a Nielsen rating of 4.2/11 in the 18-49 age bracket. The show began broadcasting in the United Kingdom on Sky1 on 15 October 2009. The pilot was watched by 444,000 viewers across two airings, with 348,000 watching the show in the 8pm time slot.

Critical Reception
Critical reaction to the pilot episode was very positive, with some reviewers highlighting it as one of the best new comedies of 2009. Variety wrote "Easily the new season's best comedy pilot, Modern Family deftly serves up laughs on multiple levels, from understated one-liners to deft sight-gags." Mary McNamara of the LA Times commented "Just when we were thinking it couldn't be done, ABC's Modern Family has single-handedly brought the family comedy back from the dead...Modern Family is sharp, timely and fresh, complicated enough to be interesting but with a soft, sweet center". The New York Times' Gina Bellafante called the series "the best new half-hour of funny television in a season rife with half-hours of funny television". She also felt it was a replacement for Arrested Development, the "last great family comedy" which ended in 2006.

The success of the pilot led to the series holding a rating of 86/100 on Metacritic from 25 reviews. ABC ordered a full 22-episode season of the show.

Awards and Nomination
The episode's director Jason Winer won Directors Guild of America award for Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series.[10] The episode has also been nominated for Episodic Comedy at the Writers Guild of America Awards 2009.
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review by . April 09, 2010
posted in Modern Family Fans
I have to imagine that writing a good pilot has got to be one of the hardest things in TV writing.  You not only need to lay the foundation and develop all of the characters, but you need to do it in a way that is still interesting.  And if you can't do it, then your show is toast... talk about pressure.        The creators of Modern Family did such a great job and got this show off to such a great start.  Let's just hope they can keep it going for many years …
Quick Tip by . December 29, 2010
posted in Modern Family Fans
A "normal" family full of bratty kids and bewildered parents, an older man with his smoking hot wife and her son and a gay couple who adopted a Asian baby all have adventures that intertwine.
review by . February 19, 2010
posted in Modern Family Fans
 Remember the first time you saw "Modern Family"? for me it was love from first sight (or from first episode). The moment that sealed the deal for me was Cam presenting baby Lily to the family with "The Lion King" song in the background.      The pilot episode introduces us to three family units: The traditional family, the Dunphys, mom, dad and their three kids, the older-man hot young woman and her son, the Pritchetts, and the modern …
Quick Tip by . April 09, 2010
posted in Modern Family Fans
Thank goodness for this pilot, otherwise I wouldn't have all these great quotes & laughs!
Quick Tip by . March 31, 2010
posted in Modern Family Fans
FINALLY sat down and saw this show. Totally worth the hype!
Quick Tip by . March 18, 2010
posted in Modern Family Fans
Best ever first episode. Most shows start slowly until they find themselves. Modern Family hit the ground running!
Quick Tip by . March 04, 2010
posted in Modern Family Fans
it was a fantastic pilot. I really set up the entire series so well and left me wanting to learn more about each and every character.
Photos
Modern Family (Episode 1)
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