Modern Family has enough characters that we often see them split off, in their own microcosm of familial units rather than all together at a big event. After all, navigating all of those characters in one place, at one time can be tricky, and coming up with reasons to thrust them upon each other can be even more complicated. But it is in the moments when they form one large, and at times awkward, “super” family that comedy gold is surely spun, and what better time to go out on such a high note than a season finale?
After last week’s junior high school graduation, one might think the writers would be hard-pressed to turn around and offer yet another big celebratory event to bring everyone together, but the patriarch of the family, Jay (Ed O’Neill),’s birthday is certainly more than justification. With the kids growing up so fast, and especially with Alex (Ariel Winter) now about to enter high school, they certainly have to grab onto the fleeting occasions before it is too late. That appears to have been the theme in the back half of the second season of Modern Family, and the finale episode certainly drives the point home even farther.
See a photo preview of “The One That Got Away” here.
Though Claire (Julie Bowen) may have come to terms with the fact that her own kids are growing up, she finds she regresses a step or two and reconsiders her own childhood with brother Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) when they see how their father is tweaking his own parenting style for Manny (Rico Rodriguez). For one thing, they were never allowed to have a dog, but Manny now has one.
Meanwhile, Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) helps Manny through a little crush crisis of his own and finds himself wanting to be more of a role model to the boy, to teach him how to throw a ball around, but the boy already has a pretty strong role model in Jay. So it leaves Cameron wanting something more.
All that being said, obviously before there can be a party in “The One That Got Away”, there will be many distractions, as well as (somewhat failed) attempts at preparation. Every family member has an important role– from Mitchell and Claire visiting the house they grew up in to get their father a very special and nostalgic gift, to the kids editing a video about their grandfather they should have been working on for months. And hilariously, not one of them manages to pull through, relying on the man of the hour himself to come to the rescue and not only pick his (adult) kids up from a tree-house but also buy his own birthday cake.
And Phil (Ty Burrell) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) end up shopping for Jay’s present together, and he uses her to make an old college rival (guest star Rob Huebel) jealous, but he ends up just realizing how good he actually has it that he “got Claire.”
It certainly sounds like fun and games for the audience, if not for Jay, but there are some very sentimental moments, as well, to remind you that through all the humor, there is even more heart that will leave you wanting to call home to the Pritchett household before summer has even really begun.
Modern Family will air its season finale on ABC at 9pm.
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