10 Hilarious TV Running Gags That Lasted An Insanely Long Time

3. Fix That Step - Modern Family

Modern Family finds humor in the everyday frustrations of life, and that includes things as simple as something in the house being broken that never gets fixed. This joke goes back to the early episodes, and it's a pretty simple one: there's a step on the Dunphys' staircase that's broken, and Phil keeps meaning to fix it but never does. Over and over he'll be running up the stairs, trip, and then proclaim that he's "gotta fix that step." 

In one instance, Phil walks down the stairs before slowing very carefully and giving a knowing look to the camera. This is a running gag that has actually impacted the plot in small ways a few times. There's one episode where Claire is convinced the broken step is going to ruin their family portrait, so she tries and fails to fix it herself. In another episode, Phil actually does finally fix it and is super proud of himself, but then there's immediately an Earthquake which wrecks in again. 

Although he doesn't trip on it much anymore, Phil has still never fixed the step since the earthquake, and it's been referenced a few times since in the dialogue, like in a Season 6 episode where Phil warns Luke to watch the step. Let's hope he never actually fixes it for the rest of the series.


Lover of horror movies, liker of other things. Your favorite Friday the 13th says a lot about you as a person, and mine is Part IV: The Final Chapter.