Claire Dunphy of Modern Family’s Weird Coping Mechanism Smile

Modern Family Claire Weird Smiling Coping Mechanism

The other night, we caught the episode of Modern Family, The Last Walt, and I was like, “Oh my god.”

In that episode, Claire and Phil have to break the news to Luke that Walt, the elderly neighbour whom he hangs out with, has died. But Claire does it in a weird way – she keeps smiling whenever she breaks the news. And when she breaks the same news to the Meals on Wheels lady and a delivery man, she does the same thing, and they think she’s disgusting and weird for smiling over such sad news.

And the reason why I went, “oh my god,” is because sometimes I swear I’m doing the same thing! (except I think I don’t have as big and obvious a smile as she does. At least I hope not. Mind you, I’ve never actually seen myself in the mirror and no one has ever commented it but I swear I can feel the corners of my mouth turning up in some weird grimace-y smile). And worse still, it also happens to me whenever I’m discussing some bad or upsetting news with other people, I swear I can feel a weird Joker-type smile coming over my face. And inside, I’m like, “oh my god, oh my god, what are you doing, this is sad, you are sad, but what the fuck are you doing smiling, you lunatic????”

And suddenly all I can think about is my face and I’m trying to banish this smile and put on a sad, serious or sympathetic face and now I’m thinking I must look like an awful phony and people are thinking I’m a horrible person or taking the mickey out of them or, even worse, enjoying their tragedy. And I swear, I’m not! I so, so, so am not. Oh god. Now people think I doth protest too much. Oh god. I could kick myself right now. And I’m probably smiling when I’m doing it. Aaaaargh.

I’m telling you, it’s horrible. I feel horrible. What the hell is wrong with me??

I’m horrified at myself and even I think I’m weird.

But when I saw Claire Dunphy on Modern Family the other night doing the same thing, I was like, “Oh my god! It’s true! There is something like that out there! Other people experience it too otherwise the writers of Modern Family wouldn’t have included something like that in the script. Right?? Right????”

Apparently not. I’ve just had Googled this and it seems like everyone else who has commented on Claire’s strange coping mechanism has never encountered it before. And thinks it’s really strange.

Excuse me while I go stab myself.


  1. Pingback: Three good things about my year ending as spectacularly badly as it is: | moreofablondestrawberrysinceyouasked

  2. oyo

    It’s actually a thing, smiling and laughing to cope. I do it too and thought I was a freak too until I saw that episode and realized that its I dont conciously do it but that its how my brain works. Some people cry, we laugh unfortunately 🙂

    • MarilynChin

      So true! Glad to know I’m not the only one out there 🙂

  3. Suzana

    Has anyone found out how its called? I do it too 🙂 Since I was a kid.


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