ABC’s Modern Family — which out of the gate won the Emmy for Best Comedy five years in a row — wrapped its 11-season run on Wednesday night, with a one-hour finale. Did you tune in to bid the Dunphy-Pritchetts farewell?
The first half-hour found Phil and Claire living and loving the RV life, having relocated themselves to mobile home in their own driveway now that the house itself has become overpopulated with Haley, Dylan and the twins, Luke, and a returned Alex. The storyline was far and away the strongest of that half-hour, especially as we witnessed how badly life had devolved inside the house, with “baby formula and croutons” subbing for breakfast cereal. After the kids crashed their cozy RV breakfast of actual bacon, Claire (and Phil) declared that someone had to move out of the house. Sure ’nuff, each of the kids balked at the notion… and sure ’nuff, they all ended up deciding to move out — to follow a job to Switzerland with new beau/boss Arvin (Alex), to attend the University of Oregon (Luke), and to live in a million dollar-ish apartment (Haley & Co.).
Elsewhere, Mitch and Cam delighted in their new home and new baby, whom they named Rexford (after the street they now live on). Their housewarming party, however, hit a hiccup just as the guests were arriving, Cam was offered the college football coaching job he coveted, at North Southern East Central Missouri U. (or something). Cam tried to keep a lid on his conflict, but eventually erupted in front of everyone. Later, in their basement karaoke room, Mitch assured Cam that he was A-OK-ish with making the move — especially once they realized that crazy, clingy Sal lived right down the street and had big plans for spending lotsa time together.
The first half’s C-story, meanwhile, involved Gloria feeling less needed in her household now that she is the working spouse/parent, but Jay encouraged her to seize this moment and enjoy her career.
In the second half-hour, Mitch, Cam and their fam are packed (back) up already and at Claire’s house to bid everyone an emotional farewell… only to get delayed by a tornado warning. And then by a flood, with locusts. Once they finally do leave the house, they catch the others snapping a family photo on the stairs without them. Terse words are about to be exchanged… when a Missouri hail storm holds things up once again.
During this latest delay, Claire and Mitchell plot to steal their skating trophy from the ice rink that Jay gave it back to years ago, because they kept fighting over it. That led the siblings to revisit their ice dancing routine, only to realize it was a lot more sexual than they recall. Alex and Haley meanwhile schemed to mess with Luke one last time, by duping him into dressing up as “Woofie the Dog” to “recreate” a ruined home video. Over at Jay’s, his recent run of aloof behavior led Gloria to worry that he was getting old and or losing his hearing, when in actuality he was secretly learning to speak Spanish.
After Jay encourages Phil to consider his own next chapter in life, Phil suggests to Claire they take a cross country trip in the RV, getting selfies with every MLB mascot — and she is on board for that! They later wistfully look on as Haley, Alex and Luke all pack up their things and clear out 25 years of craziness from the house. What will they do now, Claire wonders. “Leave the porch light on,” says Phil. “They come back.” And after Jay reveals to Gloria his surprise fluency in Spanish and plan to join her and Joe in Colombia for the summer, the family finally poses for that elusive selfie.
And as we get glimpses of everyone embarking on their new lives, Jay’s closing voiceover says:
Life is full of change — some big, some small. I learned a long time ago you could fight it, or you can try to make the best of it. And that’s all a lot easier if you’ve got people who love you help you face whatever life throws at you. At least, that’s what helps me sleep at night.
As the Dunphy and Pritchett homes turned out their lights one last time. No twist ending, no Suzanne Pleshette, no snow globe, no introduction of a Dutch documentary crew. Just… a warm, sweet ending.