Modern Family, “Family Portrait”: I wound up with this sorry bunch.

We had some highs and we had some lows, but overall Modern Family was probably the most solid comedy to along in a while, and the first that’ll give shows like 30 Rock and The Office any serious competition at the next round of award shows. But while there’s a lot to say about the show as a whole, I’ll try and keep my comments here limited to the season finale, which aired a few weeks ago, but, what’re you gonna do.

While there was a lot to like about “Family Portrait,” the episode didn’t really feel like a season finale. Claire wanting to take a picture of the entire family was a good way to bring everyone together, but felt a little watered down because the characters spent so much of the episode apart from each other. As I’ve mentioned before, it seemed like “Airport 2010” and “Hawaii” would have worked much better as an endcap to the season.

Even Jay’s short monologue about the family at the end of the episode didn’t feel in any way different from the several others we’ve heard throughout the season, especially when you consider that it isn’t a monologue like we’ve seen before — in which the characters speak to whoever it is filming them — but an interview he’s doing with Luke for a school project.

Comedy aside, at the heart of the show are the family’s relationships with each other, and it would have been much more fitting for that to serve as a centerpiece to the episode. Instead it was the centerpiece of about five minutes toward the end when Claire is finally able to ease up a bit and everyone has a good time throwing mud at each other.

So while it didn’t work for me as an end to an impressive first season, it offered up a lot more when taken as a regular episode. Phil asking Kobe Bryant if he liked being a basketball player was hilarious and was probably the best part of the entire basketball game. I thought the entire Kiss-Cam thing was a little played up in the promos, and didn’t really seem to go anywhere. Next we had Mitchell running from a pigeon that had somehow gotten inside the house. Him chasing after it with a tennis racket — all set to Cameron’s rendition of Ava Maria — may have been the funniest scene in the entire episode. I didn’t think the scenes between Claire and Hailey were comedy gold, but it was nice to see them get some one on one time, and it’s always nice to see Hailey not act like such an airhead.

The episode may falter a bit once you start picking at it, but it was still enjoyable in its own right. I’ll definitely be looking forward to this one returning in the fall. With The Office and 30 Rock both taking dips this season, Modern Family has been one of the only reliably funny shows this year

Stuff I liked:

  • Gloria’s inappropriate dress?! Surely not.
  • I don’t think “The Squirt Locker” works as a joke anywhere outside this episode.
  • “Actually, Where’s Waldo doesn’t stand out. He’s super hard to find.”


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