THE most fascinating relationship on Modern Family is that between Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) and stepson Manny (Rico Rodriguez).
They were forced to live together when Jay married much-younger single mum Gloria (Sofia Vergara).
It is fair to say things haven’t always run smoothly.
In the first season of the hit US sitcom, the pair didn’t click.
Who can forget the show’s second episode when Jay and Manny started hurling abuse at each other?
The shouting match came after their attempt to set up a fan went horribly wrong.
Things have settled in the second series. Now there is more love in the room.
‘‘ When Jay and Gloria first got married, I think Manny was on edge,’’ Rodriguez says.
‘‘ Manny felt Jay wasn’t right for his mum. He thought his real dad was right for his mum. (Now) Manny and Jay have lightened up the relationship a lot more. There are some parts where it’s serious, some parts where it’s really funny, and teaching moments.
‘‘ Jay called him (Manny) his son in one episode. So it’s starting to get really good, really tight, with Manny and Jay.’’
Rodriguez, 13, appeared in Nip/Tuck, ER, My Name Is Earl and NCIS before he landed the role of Manny.
Manny is wise beyond his years. He is passionate, a romantic, a coffee drinker and afraid of butterflies.
Rodriguez was born in Texas and his family moved to California when he was six to support sister Raini’s dream of becoming an actor. Rodriguez enrolled in acting classes, too, and the rest is history.
‘‘ Before, nobody would see me or they would just look at me and say, ‘ Oh, a little kid’,’’ Rodriguez says. ‘‘ Now they look at me on their iPhones, ask me (whether I’m on Modern Family) and I’m like, yeah. It’s really fun.
‘‘ I love watching it with my family. We know what happens, but it’s still so funny when we get to see the final touches.
‘‘ I’m pretty much nothing like Manny at all.’’ Modern Family, Channel 10, Tuesday, 7.30pm