Emmy Watch: 'Modern Family' co-creator talks about surprise finale
Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to return nomination ballots, EW.com is running a series called Emmy Watch, featuring highlight clips and interviews with actors, producers, and writers whom EW TV critic Ken Tucker has on his wish list for the nominations announcement on July 19.
Steve Levitan, the co-creator of the Emmy-winning Modern Family, talked to EW about Gloria’s surprise pregnancy in the finale, and why he opted to expand her family with Jay rather than another little one to the Cameron-Mitchell household.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Should Modern Family receive another nomination in the Outstanding Comedy, what episodes will you submit?
STEVE LEVITAN After much debate, we decided “Aunt Mommy,” “Baby on Board,” “Door to Door,” “Punkin Chunkin,” and “Leap Day.”
Let’s talk about the finale. Why are Gloria and Jay getting a baby but not Cam and Mitchell?
We liked the idea of setting up the audience for one thing and then having it go a different way with some sort of surprise. We also have really begun to love Aubry Anderson-Emmons as Lily, and what she can bring. We all fell in love with her around here. She is utterly charming. We have a lot to play with her, so it dawned on us that Cam and Mitchell already went through having a baby, so maybe it would feel repetitive. Maybe it would be nice to give it to someone else. Whose lives would it screw up the most? With Jay and Gloria, we really like what it will do to that household.
It was quite a surprise.
We didn’t want anybody to know so we cleared the set. Nobody knew about it. It wasn’t in the script. We only told two people at the studio (20th Century Fox TV) and one at ABC. We swore them to secrecy. We did pull the actors in and told them because it all affects them very, very specifically, but we didn’t tell the kids. We didn’t want to burden them with a big secret! It’s a hard one to keep.
Gloria’s reaction was great.
I have a little story about that. In our mind, we thought she would say it with a bit more trepidation, being scared. But the one we went with was from Sofia Vergara’s first take. It caught us so off guard. I was sitting about five feet from her and I got goosebumps and my eyes welled up. We shot five or six more but we never got anything better than that.
When the show returns in the fall, will Gloria be far along in her pregnancy?
We will play it continuously. Everyone begins learning about it. There are a number of possibilities!
Looking back, how was this season for you? Was it easier than the previous one? Harder?
I would say neither. It was never easy as pie. The tricky part of our show, and so many shows these days, is that we have multiple storylines going that are weaving throughout. That means breaking hundreds of stories a season, and that’s never easy. That said, I’m very proud of this past season, there were great moments.
What do you think your competition will be this year in the comedy category?
I never expect anything. First of all, I don’t want to sound like an ass and sound too presumptuous. There are a lot of great shows this season. I have great respect for a lot of shows, and there are a lot that are deserving of recognition. They are all very formidable.
Parents just don’t understand… and neither do kids or spouses in this hit ensemble comedy