'Modern Family' shakes it up for Season 2



"Modern Family" will enter its second season trembling. Literally.

An episode early in the Emmy-nominated ABC show's second season will find the show's characters going through an earthquake and watching how each unit in the extended family reacts. "Earthquakes are on our minds," co-creator Steven Levitan told Zap2it at Monday's (July 19) Paley Center "Inside the Writers Room" event.

And, as Levitan says in the clip above, what's on the "Modern Family" writers' minds, or what happens in their lives, is what fuels a lot of the stories in the series. So in Season 2 you'll see Phil ( Ty Burrell) and Claire ( Julie Bowen) act out a running argument Levitan and his wife have over the quickest way to get home from a restaurant: "That race becomes a story," he says.

Viewers will also meet Cameron's ( Eric Stonestreet) mother in the new season, which should be a juicy guest role (the part hasn't been cast yet) -- but which won't be done just for the sake of getting a big guest star. "As those parts come up, if somebody really fits and it really feels great and organic, then we'll do it," Levitan said during the Paley panel. "But we're not going to do it just go get ratings." Pause. "Cut to Justin Bieber on our show."

Levitan doesn't want to fix what's not broken about the show, but he also says he and his team are "neurotic enough" to keep pushing to find the comedy in "Modern Family's" characters. That includes putting characters together in combinations we haven't seen yet.

"It's 'Who haven't we seen together?'" Levitan says. ""Let's put Haley [ Sarah Hyland] and Cameron together' -- those kinds of stories. That gives us a lot of room. There are a lot of combinations we haven't yet explored. And, you know, I just said that off the top of my head right now, but now I'm going, That's interesting. Haley and Cameron."

"Modern Family's" season premiere is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 22.

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