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'Modern Family': A picture-perfect finale

May 19, 2010 | 10:34 pm


There is something special to be said about “Modern Family.” 

As an unashamed couch potato (not so bad that I get paid for it) I’ve seen a lot of comedies come and go over the years, and I do mean a lot -- just ask Fox. But it’s been a dreadfully long time since a freshman prime-time sitcom has hit one of the big networks, and I come back weekly.

And then seemingly out of the blue (for me at least) this little crazy, kooky, yet incredibly hilarious family took over my Wednesday nights, as well as my heart.  The show is so well written, so finely acted -- it was absolutely love at first sight. I can’t name the last pilot episode of a show that I’ve fallen head over heels for. Can you? Seriously, could you imagine life without Phil, Cam or Luke? I dare you to. And let me get this shameless ABC plug out in the open -- what a way to build around such a great show. I’m sure I’m not the only one who now watches “The Middle” (even if it’s the last 15 minutes) and “Cougar Town” on a weekly basis.

I will even go so far as to giving “Modern Family,” and of course “Glee,” credit for the influx of comedies that the networks have planned for the fall. Sure, it’s not that black and white but these two shows -- both of which I’ve had the utmost honor of covering for Show Tracker -- have led the pack this fall. Though I think it’s vital that I tip my hat off to another favorite freshman sitcom, the criminally underrated “Community” (it’s the only reason I came back to “Parks and Rec” this season).

Each week, even if I complain about the sometimes very unnecessary guest stars or the incessant need for the show to tie up the ending like a pretty little bow, I live for the show -- and judging from the comments that I check often (don’t think I don’t), the Pritchett, Dunphy and Delgado clan has found a permanent place in your living room and on your DVRs.

BIRDS The finale, like any fantastic episode this season, was all about pure, side-splitting comedy with a sprinkle of mushy family values. 

All Claire (who I repeat, is brilliantly played by Julie Bowen) wants is for a new family portrait to be taken, as she tells an apprehensive Hayley she wants to “freeze” the moment. Like any mother, she wants to frame this moment of the way things are -- and so do viewers. Of course the picture becomes a royal pain, um all white outfits? Come on Claire, it’s not an ABBA photo shoot. Again, kudos for bringing back that darn step that’s provided me laughs for the entire season.

Elsewhere Gloria and Manny go with Phil and Alex to a Lakers game. Of course leave it to Phil to have an awkward encounter with Kobe Bryant -- “Do you like being an athlete”? If Phil’s flub of meeting a celeb wasn’t enough to have him duck in a corner, the kiss cam plus Gloria equaled, well, you can only imagine. I’ve always imagined what would happen if I got on the kiss cam with someone I didn’t want to see, almost as what I’d do if my parents got on the kiss cam while I was with them. One of those scenarios happened, take a guess.

Cameron gets a gig as a wedding singer while Mitchell, who has a really ridiculous reason for not going to the wedding, stays at home with Lily. This, of course, until a pigeon flies into the house. I loved the witty, slow-motion montage of Cam singing (the boy has a voice, who knew) as Mitchell tears up their house in an attempt to get the bird out. You should never throw logs, or use a tennis racket in your house. Also Mitchell’s panicked run to get Lily milk got a few rewinds from me.

What worked about the finale was it left the way it came in: swinging, with fast-paced gags one after another that literally leaves you laughing the entire episode. Way to keep em laughing.

Some of my favorite lines? There are always a few dozen; here are my favorite five from the episode:

Phil: When someone tells me I can’t bring my own snacks into a stadium, that's when I get a little … nuts. It’s a free country right. Let’s just say it ruffles me, when some goobers tell me I have to spend half my payday on their … hot dogs.

Claire: Is there clearly a more way to distinct white pants?

Jay: Where’s my good underwear?
Gloria: The question is why isn’t all of your underwear good?

Luke: My dad said the greatest singer to ever live was Peabo Bryson.

Phil: Luke walks over there “Hurt Locker”-style and flips the switch and boom … oh not boom.

And as a bonus, for sticking with me all season…

FAMILY My Top 10 favorite lines of the season:

1. Phil and the iPad. "The iPad comes out, on my actual birthday. It's like Steve Jobs and God got together to say, we love you Phil!"

2. Cam’s glorious clown years. "I've known I wanted to be a clown since I found out clowns were just people with makeup. As a matter of fact, by the time I was a teenager, if I wasn't in school or fishin', I was clownin'. There are four types of clowns. A tramp, an august, a white face and a character. I am a classically trained august clown named Fizbo."

3. Manny’s old soul charm. "But if this so-called Santa Claus doesn't bring me a burgundy dinner jacket, we're going to have a big problem."

4. The “splash down.” Cameron: "This can't be your first moon landing." (Jay and Cameron's bare behinds touched.)
Jay: "You've got a name for it?"
Cameron: "It's very common. You got off easy. At least it didn't happen after a shower. We call that a splash down."Cameron: "When you're gay you just walk around giving butt bumps to everybody. It's like a high five. It's a low two."

5. Clive Bixby. Phil as Clive: “I’m in town for a trade show. I design high-end electro-acoustic transducers.”
Claire as Julianna: “Wow, that is very specific.”
Phil: “It’s a fancy way of saying, ‘I get things to make noise.’”

6. Phil on Claire’s sub-par gift-giving. "Things I want, robot dog, night-vision goggles, bug vacuum, GPS watch, speakers that look like rocks. I love my wife but she sucks at giving gifts. I'm sorry for the pay channel language but ... oh, yogurt maker, I can’t not think of things I want."

7. Phil’s way of teaching his daughter not to drink. Alex: "What's Jaegermeister?"
Phil: "Well, you know how in a fairy tale there's always a potion that makes the princess fall asleep, and then the guys start kissing her? Well, this is like that except you don't wake up in a castle. You wake up in a frat house with a bad reputation."

8. Gloria’s driving. Manny: It all happened so fast, just like they say ... Everybody looks parked when you’re going 100 mph.
Gloria: You're like everyone else. You blame the Latino driver. Where I come from, they always blame the Latino driver.

9. Jay’s cultural stereotypes. Gloria: What about the fan in Manny's room?
Jay: Oh yeah, call a guy.
Gloria: No you're supposed to do it with him, it’s important we teach him to do things for himself. In my culture, men take great pride in doing physical labor.
Jay: I know, that's why I hire people from your culture.
Gloria: You're too funny, I'm going to share that one with my next husband, when we're spending all your money.

10. Jay’s gay jokes. "Part of going to the gym is the locker room atmosphere, and if I'm there with a gay guy, it's just not going to be the same. I mean for me it’s a locker room, for him it’s a showroom." 

Oh sweet Lady Gaga this is one good show.Thank you for laughing with me all season.

--Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo credit: ABC


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