Mitchell Pritchett is just part of what made Modern Family phenomenal for 11 seasons. Unlike the rest of his family members, Mitchell was high-strung and timid. He was sensitive and caring in ways that his family members weren’t. Now that the ABC sitcom is over, fans who are rewatching the series can’t help but notice some of the sadder moments that contributed to Mitchell’s anxieties.
While he and his husband Cam have a lot in common, they’re also incredibly different. Mitchell held a lot back due to fear and found himself tangled in his web of lies to avoid discomfort. By the end of the series, Mitchell was brave enough to move on to a new adventure with his family but there will always be sad aspects to his character.
Updated on July 20th, 2022, by Lynn Gibbs: Mitchell Pritchett was unlike any other member of his family on the sitcom Modern Family. Unlike his sister and dad, Mitchell was softer-natured. And unlike his husband, he wasn’t an extrovert. He related to his niece Alex the most because, like him, she never fully felt comfortable in group settings. Despite all the great things that Mitchell had going for him, he also had sadder scenes that were hard to ignore.
Jay Didn’t Accept His Identity For Years
When Cam and Mitchell first got together, it was a different time in terms of the legality of gay marriage. Gay marriage wasn’t legal yet and Mitch’s father wasn’t necessarily comfortable with his son being gay.
Because of Jay’s judgmental views and cold personality, he made some questionable parenting choices with Mitch and Claire. Mitchell stayed in the closet for years and dated women to cover his truth. Mitch eventually dared to live his best life and speak his truth, regardless of what his father felt. And while Jay came around to accepting his son, he wasn’t always that warm to Mitch’s identity.
They Were Denied Adopting A Child… Twice
In many ways, Mitchell can be seen as the show’s main character because of his development as an individual and partner. One hardship that Mitch grew from was when he and Cam were denied the option to adopt a baby.
And sadly, this happened on two occasions. Mitch and Cam were lined up to adopt a baby but when they got to the hospital, they were informed that another member of the biological family was going to take guardianship over the baby. Another time this happened was when a pregnant woman chose Cam and Mitchell as the soon-to-be dads of her unborn baby but later changed her mind when she was close to birth.
He Lost His Job And Was Afraid To Tell Cam
Mitchell had his fair share of jobs throughout Modern Family but when he lost a job, he was at a loss. As the breadwinner, Mitchell wasn’t comfortable telling Cam that he lost his job and they may suffer financially. Instead of telling Cam what happened, he pretended like he was going to work every day but went to the park instead.
His fear of admitting the truth to his husband was upsetting. He could have used the support at that time but he instead lied to save his ego.
Mitchell Lost His Way While Unemployed
When Mitchell lost his job and came clean to Cam about their new reality, he took some much-needed time for himself. After working hard for years and being so hard on himself, Mitchell spent his days finding the real him and digging into different hobbies.
However, his short time getting to know himself turned into months of unemployment. Mitchell lost his way and his purpose, and people around him noticed. Mitch always enjoyed working and now that he was spending his days painting and staying busy, he lost his passion. Thanks to Alex and Jay, Mitch eventually snapped out of it and went back to work.
His Sister Was Also His Bully
In season 9’s ‘Lake Life,’ the entire clan headed to the lake where Mitch and Claire spent their summers growing up. It was a special place for the Pritchetts. But when Mitchell ran into an old friend from his summer camp days, it brought back a lot of harsh memories. While talking about old times, his friend brought up the mean “bully” named Claire who used to make fun of Mitchell.
What this man didn’t know was that Claire was more than a bully — she was Mitch’s sister. Bullying Mitchell as kids was one of the worst things Claire did to the family. It was then that viewers realized how horrible Claire had been to Mitchell over the years. Their contrasting personalities led Claire to bulldoze Mitchell for years.
He Was Always Second Best
When DeDe came into the picture, it became painfully obvious that Claire was a daddy’s girl and that Mitchell was a mama’s boy. Claire was dry and cold like her dad while Mitchell was sensitive like his mom. Sadly, there was more to the story.
With DeDe in and out of their lives so much, Jay and Claire reminded Mitchell that his mom used him to do her dirty work. She knew that Mitchell would do what he was told and break the ice for her. This oftentimes made life hard for Mitchell and created drama that he shouldn’t have had to deal with. Knowing this, it was an unpopular opinion to support Claire when Mitch was taken advantage of.
His Family Didn’t Recognize Him As A Real Lawyer
The show didn’t always credit Mitchell with how brilliant he was. His anxiety and shyness often got in the way of his accomplishments. Mitchell attended Cornell University before going to Columbia for his law degree. He was at the top of his class and went on to have some pretty sensational cases in different firms around California.
However, due to Mitchell’s area of study being environmental law, his family (i.e. Jay and Claire) didn’t always take him seriously — despite his degrees. When Haley got arrested, Jay questioned why Mitchell was the one going to bail her out because he wasn’t a “real lawyer.” Considering Mitchell passed the California State Bar, he is a real lawyer. His disregard for Mitch’s profession was one of their worst father-son moments.
His Friends Sided With Cameron
With Jay and Claire being so cold to Mitchell at times, it was sweet to see his strong group of friends surround him from time to time.
As amazing as Mitchell’s friends were, they thrived on theatrics and went where the drama was. Mitchell learned this the hard way when Cam faked a breakup with him to see who his friends would support if that were ever to happen. Mitchell eventually found out his friends would have chosen Cam because he was needier, but that didn’t make it any easier.
The Pressure Of Being A Breadwinner
When Lily was a baby, Cameron decided to be a homemaker and take care of her while Mitchell went to work. Mitchell loved being a lawyer and didn’t see himself staying at home all day with a baby. Cameron, on the other hand, did. This was a realistic storyline because what works for one person doesn’t mean it’ll work for another.
Their arrangement worked well for a long time until the pressures became too heavy to ignore. Lily got to an age where she started going to school and Cam didn’t know what to do with his life. This was a heavy burden on Mitchell and he didn’t always handle it well due to stress.
He Was Stuck Between Cam & Pam
With Cameron living in California with Mitchell and his family, he missed his own family in Missouri. When Cam’s sister Pam came to visit the couple, Mitchell always welcomed her with open arms but that welcome died down as time went on, as Pam repeatedly took advantage of Mitch and Cam. Despite her selfishness, she was one of the funniest side characters in Modern Family.
She lived rent-free in their upstairs unit for a year, despite knowing Mitch and Cam needed money. The Tucker-Pritchetts rely on that income, but Cameron didn’t have the heart to kick his sister out. This created even more tension for Mitchell. Things worsened when Pam went to jail and left her son behind with Mitch and Cam.
His Problems With Public Affection
In season 2, Cam, Gloria, and Phil were all bothered by the Pritchetts’ lack of public affection. And as per usual, it all stemmed from their childhood and being raised by Jay. While Jay was always around for his little girl, Claire, he wasn’t the same affectionate dad towards Mitchell.
They never said “I love you,” hugged, or kissed. As much as Cam understood Mitch’s reasoning, it was sometimes hard for him to be with someone embarrassed to be affectionate in public. Ignoring the curmudgeon in Jay was not easy to do.
His Relationship With Lily Wasn’t Like Her Relationship With Cam
As hard as it was to admit, Lily had a closer relationship with Cameron while growing up as he was the one at home with her all day. The two created a bond that Mitchell could never replicate because he wasn’t around as much.
Lily loved both of her dads but when it came to personal issues, she appeared more comfortable going to Cam. This was unspoken throughout the series but by rewatching the episodes, it’s painfully clear that Lily and Mitchell weren’t that close
The Big Move
Cam’s dream of moving to the farm came true by the finale. Cameron and Mitchell made their lives in California because that was near Mitch’s family, and by season 11, it was Cam’s turn.
Sadly, this meant Mitchell leaving his career, his family, and his comforts. As fair as it was that they were moving, that didn’t make it any less sad that they were leaving the place they called home for more than a decade.
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