'Modern Family' Takes on a Classic TV Theme With 'Career Day'

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Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sofia Vergara, Steven Levitan, Sarah Hyland, Ty Burrell, Nolan Gould, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, Rico Rodriguez, Ed O'Neill and Ariel Winter

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"Modern Family" stars Sofia Vergara, Eric Stonestreet, Julie Bowen, and other cast members are guests of ABC/ABC News.

Coming soon to a small screen near you: A new episode (finally!) of "Modern Family," which marks the return of Phil Dunphy's real estate rival Gil Thorpe (Rob Riggle) in an episode titled "Career Day." The long-awaited new episode has Gil stealing Phil's thunder during a career-day presentation at Luke and Manny's school, but it's the career-day theme that has us reminiscing of sitcoms past.

As we wait to see Phil's chaotic career day (check out a pic here for a sneak peek), here's a refresher on some classic sitcom career days that didn't go as planned.

"The Brady Bunch"

In 1972, "The Brady Bunch" had "Career Fever" when Greg (Barry Williams) fudged a school assignment and pretended he wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps and become an architect. When proud papa Mike (Robert Reed) tried to nurture his son's phony aspirations by buying him a drafting kit, Greg whipped up some weird -- really weird -- designs to throw him off. (A residential moat, anyone?) The result: A disappointed Mike admitted, "Let's face it, what we have here is Frank Lloyd Wrong." Oh well, there's always medical school.

"Married With Children"

Back in the day, "Modern Family" star Ed O'Neill's other hit sitcom dealt with the career-day theme; this time when teen Kelly Bundy (Christina Applegate) brought her mom Peggy (Katey Sagal) to school to talk about the art of being a housewife. In the 1989 "Married With Children" episode "My Mom the Mom," Peggy's career-day presentation at Kelly's school included lessons on wallet pilfering and mastering the TV remote control while simultaneously eating bonbons. Peggy's best tip for family mealtime: "Hello, do you deliver?"

"That '70s Show"

The gang on "That '70s Show" spent the day working with their parents in the 1999 episode "The Career Day." For Eric (Topher Grace) it meant clocking in some time at the hospital with mom Kitty, while Hyde checked out his mom's job as a cafeteria lady. Meanwhile, a confused Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) spent the entire day trying to figure out exactly what his dad's job was. (Mr. Kelso's official title was Senior Executive Statistical Analysis Technician, but his befuddled son finally said, "I'm just gonna say you're a farmer.") Check out a clip here.

"Happy Days"

Like father, like son? Not exactly. In the 1977 "Happy Days" episode "The Last of the Big Time Malphs," Ralph Malph (Donny Most) pretended he wanted to follow in dad Mickey's footsteps and become an optometrist. In reality, he wanted to be a comedian, but at least those few nights a week apprenticing in dad's doctor's office helped pay off this funny guy's gambling debt.


And talk about a career-day diss! In the 1996 "Seinfeld" episode "The Abstinence," Jerry got bumped from Career Day at his former junior high school by a lizard-toting speaker from the Bronx Zoo. A later attempt to talk about his comedy career had Jerry interrupted by a fire drill. At least it made for some good stand-up material.

"Boy Meets World"

In 1995, Career Day at John Adams High School had Topanga's dad demonstrating his guitar-making skills, complete with client name-dropping (yeah, Bruce Springsteen's on his speed dial), while Cory's grocer dad touted the merits of coupons. "The cantaloupe is your friend?" a mortified Cory asked after his dad's sleepy spiel. Check out a clip here.

"The Wonder Years"

On the first season of "The Wonder Years," Kevin Arnold declared, "I want to be a professional baseball player, but my fallbacks...are either...an astronaut or a forest ranger." A day at his dad's office at NORCOM ("My dad manages business," Kev told his pals, before realizing he had no idea what that meant) had the reflective teen realizing one more thing: He never wanted to be a manager of distribution and product support services. Ever. Trouble was, neither did his dad, Jack. After barking orders and chewing a few people out in the 1988 episode "My Father's Office," Jack Arnold told his son, "Tell you what, Kevin, it is time you learned about the most important part of the working day: The coffee break." All in a day's work.

The "Modern Family" episode, "Career Day," airs on Wednesday, 5/1 at 9 PM ET on ABC.

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