Television audiences are saying farewell to two landmark comedies: Schitt's Creek and Modern Family. Both shows demonstrate that the family sitcom is alive and well and they're true comfort viewing, especially in a time when we're all physically distant but still want to feel emotionally connected to humanity.
When a show runs for ten seasons, the thing we'll miss most is the familiarity of characters we love seeing every week. Modern Family leaves us this week with 11 seasons of stories that gifted us with laughter, tears and filled up our hearts. Thanks to all the writers who shared their own lives to tell stories that made the show one of TV's best.
As the comedy draws to a close on April 8, we couldn't help but think about what we'll miss most about the cast and the show after more than a decade of making us laugh.
The way the show portrayed a family that was dysfunctional in the same way our own families are will truly be missed. The series made us laugh at goofy eccentricities and feel better about ourselves, which is the mark of a truly great comedy.
Ty Burrell's Phil Dunphy was a typical suburban dad who quickly endeared himself to our hearts with his efforts to be a cool dad who kept up with the kid's lingo, "WTF - Why the face?," while he also tried to be a good husband to his Type A wife Claire (Julie Bowen) and to be the best realtor in the community. Burrell's performance combined his flair for physical comedy with a subtle sweetness and just the right amount of emotion. It was also lovely to see a TV marriage of two people who really complemented each other as Phil helped the tightly wound Claire relax a bit (such as when their alter egos Clive and Julianna met up for rendezvous) and have more fun.
Modern Family has always gotten creative over the years, but in a time when we know all too well how technology can disconnect us, the season six "Connection Lost" episode showcases the best of what this show could do. The episode was an intelligent observation of how tech still connects us for good and shows our family members how much we love them. Cleverly shot on iPhones, iPads and MacBooks, Claire used iMessages, Facebook, and Facetime to communicate with the family while she was traveling and trying to locate Haley (Sarah Hyland), who they mistakenly thought had run off and gotten married. Writers Megan Ganz and Steve Levitan (who also directed the episode) also managed to seamlessly weave in a B story about Mitchell's birthday.
The evolution of Ed O'Neill's Jay Pritchett was subtle and gradual. Because of O'Neill's gruff demeanor as Jay, he hit the emotional notes, but they were never sappy. Jay's marriage to Gloria (Sofia Vergara) could easily have been a parody of a May/December marriage, but O'Neill and Vergara evolved over the seasons as they dealt with each other's specific needs and talents, like Jay's love for his French bulldog Stella, and Gloria's multi-faceted skills including making her own hot sauce from a family recipe. Gloria and Jay grew together and grew to appreciate each other more over the years. Even Claire realized that Gloria was not a golddigger who only wanted Jay's money. Another emotional bonus: Jay and Mannie's (Rico Rodriguez) stepfather/stepson relationship, which combined familial love and sarcasm to great effect.
Sibling relationships on Modern Family were written true to life as they showed the many ways siblings drive each other nuts but are always there for each other when push comes to shove. Haley and Alex's (Ariel Winter) sisterly digs at each other were often funny and scathing, but over the years the two grew into strong, supportive women who supported each other and helped each other become better people.
Mannie tried to be a good big brother to Joe, schooling him about what to expect from Gloria and Jay. Lily (Aubrey Anderson Emmons) is about to become a big sister to Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam's (Eric Stonestreet) adopted son and if there's a reunion special - and we hope there will be - we can't wait to see how the exceedingly smart and craft Lily teaches her little brother to deal with their dramatic dads.
Modern Family comes to an end on Wednesday, April 8 at 9/8c with a one-hour special A Modern Farewell airing at 8/7c on ABC.