Jesse Tyler Ferguson recently spoke to us about what we can expect, so read on to see how Gloria's pregnancy is going to affect things, which stars he'd love to see on the show and which country he would love the family to visit...
The big shock last season was that Gloria is pregnant. How will Mitchell and Cam react to that? Will there be any resentment, considering their problems adopting?
"The first episode of the season starts off with us finding out about her pregnancy, so you can imagine after what we've been through... The day after we come back from having the disappointing adoption meeting in Calexico, that's where the season picks up, so we're still pretty raw from the wounds. Then we find out that my father of 65 is having a baby, so you can imagine they're a little frustrated. That's definitely going to be there.
"I think the arc of their story this year is how to repair from that and focus their energy back on Lily while they're still dealing with the disappointment of not having a baby of their own."
What's it been like working with Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, who plays your daughter Lily?
"We actually had a recasting of Lily after the second season - she was essentially taller, so kind of overnight she grew up! She's been great this year. She's sort of figuring out what being an actress means, which is kind of hilarious, and having to deal with doing things more than once.
"There was an older actress on stage the other day who was playing in the background of one of the scenes, and Aubrey looks at her and goes, 'Is she too old to act?' She'd never seen an older person acting before. So it's really interesting to watch her try to figure out how this all works and she responds to things like: 'Action' and: 'We're going again'. It's funny watching her learn the lingo."
Is she quite close to you and Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cam?
"Yeah. Obviously we were the two who sort of shepherded her into this process, so I hope she holds a special place in her heart for us. We're very close to her and very protective of her as well."
You talked about how Aubrey's growing up - how are Mitchell and Cameron going to deal with Lily growing up?
"That's a lot of fun to play with. One of the greatest things about this job is I get to play a father, which I never thought I would do. It's fun to play one on TV, because you're given really witty dialogue every day. I wish phrases would roll off my tongue like that! But this year Lily's going to kindergarten, and that's obviously taking a toll on Mitch and Cam; I think Cam specifically because he's been the stay-at-home father, so I actually this season am urging Cam to find a job to get his mind off of things.
"As you can imagine, Cam's very sensitive, so the phrase 'get a job' is not going to sit well with him. But it's interesting watching them figure out how to have a growing [child] - they have a toddler now and that's very new for them, and it's so fun having that journey of having a baby and then them going through all the phases of what that means to be a new dad. I'm anxious to see the day Lily gets her first boyfriend and how Mitchell and Cameron are going to deal with that.
"There's so much great material in being a new father, and we're the only couple on the show that gets to have that journey; everyone else on the show has already had a baby, or you meet them halfway into their parenthood. So it's fun - we get to be the couple that represents the trials and tribulations of being a new parent."
Is there anyone you'd like more scenes with... maybe Stella?
"Yeah, I would love to work with Stella, because she's adorable! Nolan Gould - who plays Luke - and I had a short interaction on set the other day. Our characters don't really cross paths too much but there was a brief moment where we had a little bit of a scene together, and when it was done people came up to me and said, 'I really like Mitchell and Luke - I think that's a really interesting dynamic that we haven't really cracked yet'. So I hope that I can have some more scenes with him where we're just the two of us, because I feel like we're definitely not terribly compatible!"
The relationship between Mitchell and Claire is great - are we going to see more of that?
"Oh, it's my favourite relationship on the show. I think it's so interesting, and one of my favourite shows that we've shot is the episode where they do the ice dancing in the parking lot. We have a few things already that we've shot this year that we play together, but I'm hoping that the writers will do a storyline this season, where it's Claire and Mitch commiserating on the fact that their hot stepmother who's a few years older than them - barely older than them - is having a stepbrother or sister. That's going to be a really interesting storyline.
"I think Julie Bowen's so fantastic, and any opportunity to act with her is a pleasure."
We've seen the family take a few trips - is there anywhere you'd like them to go?
"I heard rumours that we might be going to Palm Springs for a New Year's Eve vacation. I personally would love if the whole family went to Colombia to meet Gloria's family, partly because I feel like if we go to Colombia with Sofia [Vergara]... I've been to Mexico with Sofia and she was really treated like she was the Queen of Mexico when we were there. So I can only imagine what it's like in her home country."
Modern Family's had some great guest stars - is there anyone on your wish list?
"Oh my gosh, my wishlist is never going to happen! I would love to have - let's just go with Meryl Streep. Start at the top. Meryl Streep, let's get her on. I don't care who she plays - she could play our next door neighbour. I'd just put all the people on the list who I want to meet. Barbra Streisand could come over and play a role, again as a next door neighbour. Someone who pops over often!"
Speaking of guest stars, what did you make of Ann Romney saying that Modern Family is her favourite show and the show's producer Steve Levitan offering her a role marrying Mitchell and Cam?
"[laughs] I'm not going to lie - I was shocked that she likes the show so much. I'm happy she likes the show, and I'm thrilled. I think there is obviously something about the show that she likes, and I don't think that she can exclude Cameron and Mitchell as two characters that she likes.
"I feel for a lot of Americans - and maybe it's the way over on your side of the pond as well - but I feel like a lot of people over here as we're going through this great civil rights movement, they watch Modern Family and it's kind of an 'in' into the gay culture, and it's a safe way to maybe start accepting the gay culture. So I'm hoping in my heart that she's maybe part of that group that is watching and maybe [is] being changed a little bit.
"I thought Steve's response to her liking the show was very funny and obviously very tongue in cheek and not meant to be disrespectful of her, and I would be thrilled if she would marry Cam and I. I think it would be wonderful!"
Do you have any favourite gay characters on television? Or do any make you mad because they're too stereotypical?
"I kind of cheer the presence of any gay characters at all - I think the more we can saturate television with any gay character or lesbian character or transgender character, I think that's a really great thing. We're kind of getting past the fact that they're the punchline or that they're the novelty. I think any time we can gravitate towards characters like that is a good thing.
"From another perspective, when they are the cliché or the punchline or just they're not in on the joke, that's when it bothers me on television. There are a few shows I think that have gay characters like that, which is disappointing. But I'm a big fan of Will & Grace, and I think looking back on it, a lot of stuff they did was a little caricaturish. But that's kind of what the show was - it was high, high comedy and it certainly wasn't subtle ever. So that's what that show was and hopefully we're taking it to a little more grounded place with our show.
"I'm really excited for The New Normal and this new show Partners that's coming up here and from the creators of Will & Grace. I just think it's great to have more gay characters on TV, and also it takes the burden off of Eric's and mine shoulders to have to go to all of the events! We can pass off some of the gay events to some of the other casts!"
How long do you think the show can keep going? How long do you want to stay with it?
"I'm extremely happy with this job and I'm staying with it until they say I can't do it anymore. I can't imagine ever being sick of it. We're going into our fourth season - it feels like we just barely started, and now we're almost a long running show. So I can't imagine there'll be a year where I feel like I've been doing this forever, but you know, check back with me in, like, three years. I don't know!"
Why should we be excited for the new season?
"I hope that we've proven ourselves as a funny show... Listen, we're not changing the concept of the show. We're not moving to the future and it's like all of a sudden we find the hatch - there's nothing crazy happening here. It's hopefully funny!
"I think getting to know these characters, it gives us more freedom to relax a little bit. We don't really have to sell the characters; I think people already like the characters, so if anything I think the show's settling into more of a comfort zone and we're not having to push quite so hard as we maybe had to in the first few seasons to sell the characters and to know the characters. Now we can just be old family friends to people, and it's an easier sell for us.
"We're going into our sixth episode and the scripts have been so amazing this year, and our writers really are on point. Hopefully for our true fans, that's all they need to hear."
Modern Family returns with its fourth season on Sky1 tonight (October 5) at 8pm.