The actress, 29, posted a series of Instagram Story videos on Wednesday, January 15, reacting to the death of Frank Dunphy (Fred Willard). “So I don’t read scripts of episodes of Modern Family that I’m not in, so I just found out that my grandpa’s dead along with all of you,” she announced. “I still feel special.”
In a follow-up clip, Hyland, who plays Haley on the ABC sitcom, recognized her mistake. “Oh, yeah, I guess I should have put a spoiler alert for Grandpa Frank dying, but I was just caught off guard,” she explained. “As his granddaughter, you’d think I’d be invited to the funeral.”
The Wedding Year star dealt with the repercussions, though. “If it’s any consolation to those who are angry about the spoiler alert, karma hit real fast and [her dog] Boo just farted in my face,” she shared.
Phil (Ty Burrell) revealed during the Wednesday episode of Modern Family that his father died. The news followed his fears that Frank had developed dementia. “When I was growing up, he was the cool dad,” Phil recalled of his final encounter with his dad. “He was hip. He knew all the dances from Grease. He knew all the expressions. BFF: best friends forever, TMI: too much information, BJ: blue jeans. We didn’t do much that day, but it might have been one of the best days I’ve ever had with my dad. I just didn’t know it would be the last.”
The series has not been afraid to kill off significant characters in the leadup to its series finale. Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell’s (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) mother, DeDe (Shelley Long), died during a season 10 episode that aired in October 2018.
“It occurred to us that death is a giant part of the family experience and while Phil had lost his mother in a previous episode, we’ve never seen the entire family have to deal with such a loss. It seemed like an interesting thing to have happen,” cocreator Steve Levitan told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “She’s directly involved with three of our characters and she touched everybody’s life in some interesting way. It seemed like the right character to put everybody through something. She seemed like the right character because she so directly affects so many of our characters.”
Modern Family airs on ABC Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!