Modern Family will find surprising comedy during a family tragedy in Wednesday's season finale.
In the season-ender (9/8c on ABC), Phil (Ty Burrell) learns that his mother has died, leading the entire Pritchett-Dunphy clan to head to Florida to say goodbye. "We're always looking for an interesting way to wrap up the season, and it felt just like what we get to deal with a real-life issue, something that felt a little more substantial than the normal kind of stuff," executive producer Steve Levitan tells TVGuide.com. "At the same time, we want to make sure everybody knows it's a very funny episode. It's very touching, but it's also very funny. We're very happy with it."
In order to lighten up an otherwise dark subject, the finale sees Phil set out on a mission left to him by his late mother, which Claire (Julie Bowen) will help him to achieve in hopes of helping Phil deal with the loss. "It's a rather unusual mission, so there's lots of comedy to be had," Levitan says. "We don't want people to think, 'Here is that very special episode of Modern Family.'" Look for the mission to involve the returning Fred Willard as Phil's father.
The Dunphy children will also bring levity to the episode when Alex (Ariel Winter) is left with a mission of her own, of sorts. "Each of the three Dunphy kids were left with a special gift from their grandmother, and Alex has always said that she was the closest to her grandmother of anyone, cannot understand her gift, so we deal with that," he says.
The rest of the Pritchetts will also find themselves in hilarious predicaments as Gloria (Sofia Vergara) has an outstanding warrant in Florida, Jay (Ed O'Neill) runs into a woman he had a fling with back in his prime, Cam (Eric Stonestreet) falls in with a gang of gossiping older women, and Manny (Rico Rodriguez) loves the laid-back culture. "It suits his personality and temperament," Levitan says.
Modern Family's Season 4 finale airs Wednesday at 9/8c on ABC.