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The Modern Family Episode That Hasn't Aged Well At All

With a remarkable 85 Emmy Award nominations and 22 wins over the course of its 11-season run on ABC (via Emmys.com), the popular sitcom "Modern Family" features three interconnected families in suburban Los Angeles contending with a wildly entertaining variety of comedic crises, most of which end up incorporating a socially conscious teaching moment or life lesson before the final scene plays out.

Following the day-to-day lives of what would appear to be average families, the show centers on the Pritchetts, headed up by patriarch Jay (Ed O'Neill) and his wife, Gloria (Sofia Vergara); the Dunphys, Jay's daughter, Claire (Julie Bowen), and her husband, Phil (Ty Burrell); and the Tucker-Pritchetts, Jay's son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his husband, Cameron (Eric Stonestreet).

Addressing everything from gay marriage and transracial adoption to racism, ageism, teen sexuality, and gender issues, "Modern Family" was never reluctant to confront social issues head-on. When viewed in retrospect, however, not every installment of a series running for this long can avoid stepping on a societal landmine now and then. In that regard, what's one "Modern Family" episode that hasn't stood the test of time all that well?

Season 3, Episode 1, Dude Ranch, doesn't hold up at all

In the Season 3 premiere, "Dude Ranch," which aired in 2011, the whole family travels to Wyoming for what is planned to be a relaxing, family-bonding getaway. Various subplots soon develop for all the series regulars, but one storyline in particular, featuring the Dunphys' teenage daughter Alex (Ariel Winter), constructs a narrative for her character that, even at the time, should have given the scriptwriters pause. The moment in question occurs after Alex encounters Jimmy (Mathew Gumley), a teenage boy also staying at the ranch.

Starting a thread on Reddit called "Modern Family – Some of the most disgusting parts of the show," u/AffectionateMind26 singles out "Dude Ranch" as a genuine low point, writing, "[A]lex was kissed forcefully by a boy [the] same age as her, later on in the episode [A]lex goes back to him and kisses him. That was a sexual assault." The poster adds that the scene was an unambiguous example of bad role modeling, saying, "Showing [A]lex go back to him just teaches kids something very very wrong. This is not at all okay. I was disgusted."

So while the series has an admirable record of presenting generally uplifting and morally responsible stories, "Dude Ranch" has to go down as one "Modern Family" episode that definitely has not aged well.