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Modern Family: Luke And Walt's Friendship Was Based On A Real-Life Bond

No matter your familial background, there's bound to be at least one scenario on "Modern Family" that hits close to home. This can largely be attributed to the writing team, whose stories are often based on their real experiences, one of which birthed one of the show's most unique storylines.

In a 2012 interview with the Futon Critic, "Modern Family" executive producer Danny Zuker revealed where the idea for the character Walt Kleezak (Philip Baker Hall), an old neighbor of the Dunphys who befriends Luke (Nolan Gould) before his death in Season 3, originated. "Frankly, Walt was created to die," Zuker explained. "Steve [Levitan] first talked about this story and its framework is based on his own son, Griffin, who had befriended an elderly man who died." Levitan, confused as to why his son didn't react the way he expected upon hearing of the loss, was motivated to create an older character for the show that would have a similar relationship with Luke and eventually die.

Talking about death on a family sitcom is never an easy task, but the team behind "Modern Family" approached it with honesty, grace, and their usual dosage of comedy. And that approach lent its way to one of the show's most emotional storylines.

Luke and Walt's simple connection tugs on the heartstrings

The heartfelt friendship between Walt and Luke gave viewers a gut punch of emotions that they were not expecting. In their short-lived, simplistic time together, the two truly mean a lot to one another.

First introduced in the Season 2 episode "Boys' Night," Walt is seen as angry and unpleasant by much of the Dunphy clan. When Luke decides to wander over to retrieve the family's one and only baseball, he learns that his neighbor, while a little grumpy, isn't all that bad. The initial concern from Luke's parents is squashed once Walt himself comes over with a gift while also pointedly telling them he was once a firefighter and would never harm Luke. From there, he is accepted as a family friend, playing video games and gardening with Luke and even sharing some fun moments with Phil (Ty Burrell).

Upon learning of his death in Season 3's "The Last Walt," Luke initially doesn't seem all that upset by it, even snagging Walt's TV to take to his room, but it is revealed later that seeing the television through his window gave him comfort knowing Walt was there. Luke and Walt have a special friendship in which neither flawed character judges the other for their outward appearance as much of the world had. And thanks to that, Walt and his wholesome relationship with Luke lives on in the hearts of many "Modern Family" fans.