Falling out of love with a sitcom is a strange old thing, and I find it hard to ditch something I watch regularly as well, but around season seven I couldn’t be arsed with Modern Family any more, I was starting to dislike characters I once liked and wanted to dismember characters I previously only tolerated. Luke and Manny became especially unlikeable and even the show’s Most Valuable Players (Phil, Claire, Alex) seemed to end up repeating the same old plotlines and stopped being amusing.
I dipped back in to the show a couple of weeks ago to see if I’d been missing out on anything, and the answer was “Fuck no, you fool, what were you even thinking?”, but sometimes they pull out all the stops for a series finale and produce something really fun again, so I went in with vague optimism. Of course the opposite also applies, sometimes a great sitcom can end badly, so I truly had no idea what might happen.
A fuckton of writers contributed to these two finale episodes with the likes of (deep breath) Steven Levitan, Abraham Higginbotham, Jon Pollack, Ryan Walls, Jeffrey Richman, Morgan Murphy, Stephen Lloyd, Christopher Lloyd, Jack Burditt, Elaine Ko, Danny Zuker, Vali Chandrasekaran, Brad Walsh and Paul Corrigan all receiving a credit, which may just be the largest amount who have written a finale in the history of sitcoms, and with that many people involved you’d also think they’d be able to create something at least vaguely fun.
And they did! I’m genuinely surprised by this too, and even though story-wise it relied on familiar finale tropes (new careers, characters relocating, new romances, appearances from vaguely liked old characters) for the first time in too long it felt like these characters were real, believable, not stereotyped or cliched (even if the storylines were) and the dialogue shined and sparkled, the jokes felt fresh and didn’t rely on tedious misunderstandings or people getting pissed off with each other.
Also on the plus side was that Luke didn’t seem quite so idiotic (though the idea he’s off to university beggars belief), Mitch and Cam still had the odd jibe at each other but did actually seem to like each other for once, Hayley and Alex bonded in a cute manner, and Manny wasn’t in it much (and that’s always a good thing). If anyone felt a little underused it was Phil and Claire, they’ve been a great double act over the years and while they got to have some affecting moments with other characters it’s a shame we didn’t get to see them interact with each other a little more.
It wasn’t quite the perfect ending, the scenes with Joe being weird with Manny were a bit annoying, and you could complain about the fact that there were a few sentimental moments within the episode, but overall it definitely was a hell of a lot better than I was expecting. That’s partially due to the way the show took the time out to gently poke fun at the more saccharine scenes too, like how Mitch and Cam were about to leave after a bunch of big goodbye speeches but then had their plane delayed for two hours, and then Dylan turned up presuming everyone was there as they’d remembered his birthday.
Like many a network sitcom that lasts for eleven years it definitely outstayed it’s welcome but at least they did manage to pull off a rewarding ending to the show, and given how hard that is to do, and how many much better series have messed up at the final furlong, they definitely deserve kudos and praise for creating something genuinely sweet, funny and emotionally satisfying. Indeed it’s such a good ending that it made me miss the show from when it was at it’s peak, and made me want to dip back in to the very best episodes once more, and given how much I’d gone off the series that’s an enormous surprise, albeit a very pleasant one.
And now, a quite frankly ridiculous amount of different ratings:
Episode Rating: ★★★★
Seasons 1 – 6 Rating: ★★★★
Seasons 7 – 8 Rating: ★★★
Seasons 9, 10 and 11 Rating: ★★1/2
Series Rating: ★★★1/2