The thing about shows that run for over five seasons is that the cast and crew are oftentimes tied to that project for that duration of their life. Kids become adults, adults get older and people change tremendously. “Modern Family” is no exception. It’s been a decade since it first aired, and if you can imagine how much your own life has changed in this time, then you can certainly imagine how this portrait of three families in modern day has adapted to how times have changed.
Although I was nine years old when “Modern Family” first started, I picked it up at a random time some years later and haven’t been able to leave it since. The show follows three diverse families as they learn how to navigate in the cruel world that is modern society. The variety of personality in each episode makes it easy to find at least one character to relate to and one you’d rather be. Unless you have the luxury of time, don’t binge it from the very beginning; instead, opt for a few seasons before the finale. You’ll be able to catch up quickly and share the same bittersweet feeling that devoted viewers will inevitably feel when the show comes to its end.
The first episode of the final season picks up right where the last season left off, with the birth of Haley’s (Sarah Hyland, “The Wedding Year”) twins. The infants won’t stop crying, and the instant chaos is both familiar, hilarious and soothing. Our favorite families are back, and with the witty quips it’s easy to tell that 11 seasons in, production and cast know exactly what they are doing. The episode is particularly heart-warming, as we get to see the duality of Haley’s irresponsible nature merge with her new experience as a mother. Toward the end, she accidentally locks herself out of the house and ends up climbing the roof and into the window with swiftness, like she used to do as a teenager when she had to sneak back into the house late at night.
Simultaneously, Cam (Eric Stonestreet, “The Secret Life of Pets 2”) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Pete the Cat”) are back at their house holding a meeting with the at-risk kids at Cam’s high school, where he’s the vice principal. Cam accuses the kids of stealing his tacky clown statue, and boy, are the jokes fresh. In a world where it’s easy to get canceled for risky jokes (albeit, sometimes rightfully so), the show pushes the edge and maintains its comedy skillfully. He makes quick hits at the kids’ “at-risk” status, and in “Modern Family” fashion, they never linger too long on a joke. Spoiler alert: It was all a ploy enacted by Cam to get Mitchell to confess to throwing the clown statue away.
Even with around 11 main cast members to follow throughout the seasons, and with only half an hour to tell a story, the show never feels rushed. And while it’s a real shame that network television is losing a gem like this, I can’t help but feel happy in this bittersweet beginning that the show is quitting on their own terms and not because of the dreaded sitcom downward spiral. With 117 awards, there’s no doubt that the show has had a successful run up to this point, and it’s understandable that they want to end on a good note. Despite each episode’s chaos, everything is running like a well-oiled machine and there’s no doubt that the show will continue and end with dignity and warmth.