By virtue of its name, Modern Family will always have an expiration date.
Snarkier and snootier may mock that the date came and went years ago. But viewer’s historic plot happy riding with the show towards sunset, which officially comes Wednesday night after 11 seasons and 250 episodes. Of course, long-lasting fans adjust for familiar comfort, at this point remains something they fall in love with more than a decade ago. In other words, you could say there is nothing modern at all.
It’s important to measure 11 seasons. Children who tots precociously begin the series now full adults. That is an inherently emotional way to mark time.
Difficult to measure, but also profound, is the way the TV landscape, the entertainment industry, and the cultural atmosphere aired by this series have evolved. Modern Family arrived at a tipping point. In fact, with its pleasant and continuous progression, it may be a show that finally touches the scale.
Celebrated as at the time of its release and for most of its first shows, the sparkle is rusty because darker, cynical, more obscene, and more explicit comedy draws attention to the cable. House of Cards, the first original series on Netflix, began airing in the winter of 2013. Nothing about the industry would be the same after that, and the disruption occurred at a surprising speed.
The Netflix-led streaming service boom starts in the middle of the road Modern FamilyThe fifth season, precisely in the middle of the course on the ABC broadcast network, which makes the audience, like all broadcasts, plummeted. The revolutionary program suddenly becomes a strong benchmark, the conservative Old Faithful of these exciting and exciting new ventures measuring their resistance.
But it’s a culture that shifts too. What is “modern” then ages to something out of date. A progressive sitcom becomes rote and fundamental. Healthy deteriorates to become paralyzed. A show that was once a cool symbol of being a sitcom is equivalent to the sign “Live, Laugh, Love”. As my friend Matthew Jacobs wrote The Huffington Post, Modern Family to “the event that remains the same while the rest of the TV changes” around it.
The saving grace of the final series throughout Wednesday night is that, although it will hardly rank among the biggest episodes produced by the show, it is an opportunity to remember that greatness.
Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil (Ty Burrell) live in an RV in their yard, their house flooded with their grown children, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Desperate for peace, they decided that one in three adult children must move. You don’t need to be a sitcom comedy to know that, at the end of the hour, all three children will fall into a state that will make them pack their bags, leaving Claire and Phil with empty nests.
Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) live in a new home with their adopted son and like him, until their baby’s happiness is interrupted by offers of work in Missouri. Now they will also leave. Gloria (Sofia Vergara) also looked at the lonely barrel. His son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez), will be gone for one year. Is Jay (Ed O’Neill) equipped to accept emotional leeway?
The episode is a classic sitcom finale that almost feels as if you have seen it before. There is a mix, dramatic coincidences, bait-and-switch, miscommunication, and two great musical works. Four different scenes mine the group’s hug for comedy and tears.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I’m touched. Bless them both, Ty Burrell and Sofia Vergara have readings that make me laugh harder than I have experienced all day – and that is very much needed. Of course, both of them reliably are the MVP of the event. Even when their writing failed, they delivered an ace comedy.
But for an event launched with what might still be the best sitcom pilot in the past 15 years, that final proved to be very calm and predictable rather sad.
That first season Modern Family make changes to the family dynamics metaphor that has long been embedded in the family sitcom DNA. By doing that, it gave a new genre, a fresh identity.
In finally validating how the state and his family units changed in non-traditional ways, he managed to recognize the fact that had passed that no two families were the same without knocking down the support beams that held back the entire structure of the family-sitcom genre: the idea that the character you watching is a support for us all.
When you look at TV now and the voices that have risen to the forefront of the industry, they are no longer trying to talk or even appeal to everyone. This is a specific personal experience story, told in a way that can only be done by the creators.
“There is still a place and of course a desire to do what Modern Families do: solace of values, the structure of the story, that “children! can’t live with them, can’t live without their “try-and-true humor.“
There is still a place and of course the desire for what Modern Family no: solace of values, the structure of the story, that “children! cannot live with them, cannot live without them” tried-and-true humor. The family will never stop being frustrated and, as such, very funny. With the world as it is, our hearts break every day. They need to be fixed. Froze in fear, they needed the warmth of an event like this to continue to defeat.
They will never leave, no matter how much the landscape changes. The type of their performance and how they are watched will, of course, be different. Schitt River, which began airing calmly in the middle of the road Modern FamilyRunning before it erupts in popularity when the two of them are in lunch, is proof. That is a very strange coincidence Schitt RiverLast episode aired last Tuesday, just one night later, Modern Family also say goodbye.
Opposite to Schitt River, which airs a series of finals that show how emotionally rich the event has developed, Modern FamilyThis is a well-intentioned and quite pleasing accusation about how superficial it has happened.
This is a show that is statistically the best comedy in television history. (At one point, it was at least worthy of that conversation; as the series continued, the ship sailed at the speed of the motor.) This was the only show, along with Frasier, to win five Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Series, and both won trophies it in sequence. You could argue that many consecutive wins were excessive, but it cannot be denied that, in the 2010-14 time frame, Modern Family is, week after week, giving brilliant television.
It’s hard to remember how strong the show’s hold was on the zeitgeist too.
This is a breakthrough for Mitch and Cam to become an established gay couple with the same billing as the other characters in this series. This platform is so unique and powerful that online pop culture thinking machines in the early days are supported in part by passionate discourse about what stereotypes they have and whether their relationships – normal and settled according to heteronormative standards – are responsible.
When fans noticed that the couple preferred PDAs over the program’s straight pair, they launched a petition that made national news. It works. They kissed.
When Prop 8 was canceled in California, fans couldn’t see Mitch and Cam getting engaged right away. One year before marriage equality is ratified in the Supreme Court, ABC aired their marriage. And there is no discount of the impact of 11 years exploring the relationship between Jay and adult gay sons, making mistakes made and changing opinions from places of love.
The event even became a buffer for presidential candidates. In the 2012 election, support Modern Family is a must. For Obama, yes. For Republicans like Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, it was an opportunity to provide the most vacant attitude. Out as a favor Modern Family is a political manifestation of that Seinfeld jokingly, convincing gay voters that they don’t hate them – really “there’s nothing wrong with that.”
At that point, Modern Family is the hit, beloved, Emmy-winning series and the comedy bridge across the hall. It is not surprising that critical acceptance has changed.
Of course there is a reaction. That’s what happened when the show ran for 11 years. It happened to Big Bang theory. It happened to Office. It happened to Seinfeld and Friend and Will & Grace and Roseanne. Who knows if that will happen again, if a show will even last long enough to change his attitude like that. That Modern Family making it so far historic.
Everything has changed. And that’s fine. If Modern Family know one thing, that is the power of the “Circle of Life.”
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