No spoilers from Season 7 at tonight’s PaleyFest panel featuring writer/producers and cast members from Modern Family. But one panelist, EP/writer Danny Zuker, did reveal one off-camera storyline that’s going to keep on going: His well-publicized Twitter battle with Donald Trump.
“I’d say something nice about him over his rotting corpse,” Zuker said cheerfully, seated onstage with EP/writer Abraham Higginbotham, EP and co-creator Steve Levitan and cast members Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould, Ariel Winter, Sarah Hyland, Ed O’Neill, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen and Sophia Vergara (Andy Daly moderated).
World War Twitter began in March when Zuker made fun of low ratings for Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice. Zuker’s insolent tweets included this one: “The only way you could be losing ratings points faster is if you inherited them from your father.”
Word of advice: Never take on an Emmy-winning comedy writer on Twitter. But Trump began firing back, commenting that he’d never heard of Zuker and boasting that he had more Twitter followers than the writer-producer. Tonight, Zuker revealed that he had also received an “incomprehensible as always” e-mail from Trump to which Zuker replied: “I don’t know what this means, but I don’t like you.”
Replied Trump (according to Zuker): “Hey, if you met me you would like me.” Zuker said he was pretty sure this was not going to happen.
All Trump-ing aside, the cast had nothing but nice stuff to say about each other and the show. In a recent episode, Sarah Hyland’s Hayley was left in a personal cliffhanger, revealing her romantic feelings about pal Andy (Adam DeVine) while she thought he was unconscious. Hyland would not reveal whether the two would become an item in Season 7, but admitted:”I’m rooting for a certain outcome … Yes, I’m a girl and I love romance and I like things like that. Last season’s finale reminded me of a Rachel-Ross moment.”
Burrell assured the audience that in Season 7, the characters will not grow. Let him explain: The challenge of being in a 6th season, the actor said, is that “everybody’s working really hard to make sure that we’re still doing new things. I don’t think characters really grow on a sitcom but [need to keep] doing new stuff, showing new sides. “
Gesturing at the audience, Burrell added: “In my opinion, I don’t think you really want me to grow. If we did, I wouldn’t fall over things anymore.”
Levitan talked about a special Season 6 episode, “Connection Lost,” that took place entirely on iPhone and iPad screens. He said it was inspired by his FaceTime conversations with his college age daughters.
In an evening of jokes and giggles (including a running gag about panelists using the f-word in front of an infant in the audience), only one panel member waxed wistful: Higginbotham.
Moderator Daly asked him: “If you were in charge what would you do differently? “I wouldn’t do anything much different except, the honest answer is I love the way we shot the show in the beginning, we’d shoot from behind things, it was more voyeuristic,” Higginbothan said. “It’s evolved into a new look. I miss the old look.” But afterward he added he has no complaints: “We are so f—ing lucky. Did the baby hear me?”