Tonight, the Modern Family series finale arrived after 11 years on the air, and of course we found ourselves wondering just how the ABC show would end. Would they go for some sort of dramatic surprise, or find a way to close things out in more of a subtle, muted sense?
As it turns out, the answer was somewhere in between. Looking back, a great deal of the oft-funny/oft-moving comedy was meant to be about a particular point in these characters’ lives, where they were all living close and able to spend a considerable amount of time together. They watched some of the kids grow up and some of the adults find new passions and wrinkles to who they are as people. Phil and Claire’s relationship now has new dimensions versus the pilot, but the essence of who they are is still the same. This could be a microcosm for everyone on the series.
As Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen’s characters commented in the episode, there was a fear that comes with seeing their kids all move forward and out of their home. There are new horizons that are coming for them in all sorts of parts of the world. Maybe that means parenthood, or maybe that means living in another country. They still want to be there for them, and the porchlight will still stay on in case they ever need to come home.
That is the subtle, moving quality of this finale. As every character moves forward, they won’t forget about the people who are in their lives. They’re grateful — another notable moment in the finale was one of gratitude. It was one of recognition that not every family is like this. The Modern Family cast lives within a world where differences can be resolved and there is love in every direction. It’s the family so many want, and the writers clearly recognize that there are viewers who feel like they are their TV family. When they go, a part of that experience is gone.
Yet, we don’t think that Modern Family is ever fully gone. Maybe we don’t see these adventures on TV anymore, but there will be phone calls, Facetimes, soccer games, poems, and so much more. They’ll get back together, and maybe the metaphorical porchlight will still be there for us in the form of old stories. It will get to live on even if there is never anything more from this world.
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What do you think about the Modern Family series finale overall?
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