In late February, a famous family found itself down to its final farewell. The cast and producers of Modern Family filmed the very last episode of its 11-season run — No. 250, for those who like big, clean numbers — capping the mockumentary comedy’s celebrated, Emmy-studded run. It was a tough task to bid adieu to the Dunphys, Pritchetts, and Tuckers after all this time, and emotions were running understandably high for the cast. “I hope people will forgive us for breaking character a bit, because it was actually a little tricky to delineate,” Ty Burrell, a.k.a. Phil, told EW. “[The finale] really has to do with that feeling that this chapter of this family is over. This magical period in their lives won’t be the same anymore, and people are wrestling with a lot of the same feelings we were wrestling with.”
You can experience some of those feelings secondhand right here: Photographer Joe Pugliese was on hand to capture the colorful behind-the-scenes emotions in black and white, and the following images document the cast and producers savoring their last laughs (and shedding a few tears). After you compose yourself, check out the one-hour series finale (Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET/PT, ABC) to see how the sentimental send-off turned out in front of the cameras.