100 Bullets Reference On Modern Family?

Last night I was re-watching this week’s episode of Modern Family, entitled “Slow Down Your Neighbours”, because it’s a hilarious show and I usually miss lots of jokes the first time I watch it on account of being busy laughing.  Upon my second viewing, something reminded me of a very random character from the last arc of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets (aka. one of the best comics ever). 

Phil was doing one of those testimonial things, talking about how he wanted to be the top salesman of the quarter, and had this to say:

Nobody remembers second best.  Oh yeah, EVERYBODY loves Michael Jordan, but nobody thinks of Scottie Pippen… the only reason I remember him is because he’s named after my favourite musical. 

I’ve come across a Scottie Pippen/Pippin the musical reference only once before, in 100 Bullets.  Consider these panels from 100 Bullets #89, where a young boy named Pippin explains his name to a gang leader:

A few issues later, in 100 Bullets #92, Pippin admits to his friend that he actually isn’t named after Pippen the basketball player:

The video featuring Pippin the Prince is clearly a reference to the 1981 video recording of the musical Pippin, titled Pippin: His Life and Times and starring Ben Vereen and William Katt.  The musical is about Pippin, the son of Charlemagne, and IMDB tells me that it is the only movie/video ever made with Pippin as the title.

Phil and Pippin are clearly talking about the same thing, and both are associating the musical Pippin with Scottie Pippen the athlete.  So did Modern Family make a 100 Bullets reference, or did they just stumble upon a similar joke?  I’m going to go with the former, because that’s way more fun.  So tell your friends… Modern Family, the epitome of wholesome programming for the whole family, has referenced 100 Bullets, the epitome of the sex, violence, and coarse language-laden Vertigo.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Hellblazer reference next week, or maybe they’ll go more modern with some American Vampire.

Published by Tim Hanley

Tim Hanley is a comic book historian and the author of Wonder Woman Unbound, Investigating Lois Lane, The Many Lives of Catwoman, and Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale.

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