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‘Modern Family’ Is Going to Kill off a ‘Significant’ Character Next Season

Modern Family is entering its tenth season next month, one that has long been speculated to be the veteran sitcom’s last. Producer Christopher Lloyd (who is not the guy who played Doc Brown, by the way) told Entertainment Weekly that they’re trying to work out a deal to keep the show on the air past this coming season, though. He said the upcoming season would feature “a significant change in the dynamics of the family that people maybe thought was going to happen at some point down the line that is happening sooner than expected.”

He also said that someone was going to die.

“We’re handling some bigger life events in this season,” he says. “We do deal with a death, which is certainly a topic that families have to deal with, and on television, it’s not easy to do because that’s a heavy subject. But at the same time, it would seem unusual for a family not to go through it.”

Not surprisingly, Lloyd isn’t revealing who is headed six feet under — or if it’s one of the main family members — but he promises that he/she is a “significant character on the series” and the death “will be a moving event — and an event that has repercussions across several episodes.”

Okay, who wants to take bets in the Modern Family dead pool? Shelley Long’s DeDe Prtichett and Fred Willard’s Frank Dunphy, the parents of Claire and Phil Dunphy, respectively. Both have appeared in a handful of episodes but are important as the parents of central characters.

Slightly longer odds point to Cameron’s sister Pameron (which is just an amazing joke in and of itself), who just had a baby that Mitch and Cam have been taking care of while Pam is a mess. Haley’s ex-boyfriends Dylan and Andy could also be on the list, though neither have featured on the show much recently. Gloria’s ex-husband and Manny’s father Javier Delgado (Benjamin Bratt) also seems like an outside chance, but he’s been portrayed as an unsavory character who could easily end up in some sort of trouble.

The really outside chances, however, point to the main cast members themselves. I think with talk of one or possibly more seasons in the pipeline, it’s really unlikely a main character gets killed off, but it could be a way to cut costs. Family patriarch Jay is no spring chicken, he seems like the most obvious choice for the main cast. Phil and Luke are both accident-prone, and the actor playing Luke is pretty terrible compared to the rest of the cast. Even the little kid who plays Joe is a better actor. I just can’t imagine the show without Phil and I don’t see how it can move on and continue to be a comedy if it kills off one of the kids, even one as superfluous as Luke. He’d probably just go away to college if they wanted to cut him loose.

Whoever it is that buys the farm, I hope we don’t get bogged down in melodrama. The show handled the death of Phil’s mother, who was never seen onscreen, pretty well and it managed to put in a funny episode, but I can’t imagine a lot of humor coming out of the death of a beloved character. And I don’t see them building a multi-episode arc out of the death of Jay’s dog.

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Charles Collins

Think it’s going to be Jay ( Ed O’Neal )

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