When modern family end
It’s hard to believe that when ABC’s sitcom Modern Family ended its run Wednesday night, it had only been airing for 11 years. But a swath of fans rode the show’s coattails and remained loyal to its quirky characters for all that time. That historic swath is what’s left of a show that amassed five Emmy wins and became one of the most popular scripted series in recent memory, with an average of 10 million viewers each week.
At its peak, the show centered on Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill), his wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara), their son Manny Delgado and two sub-families springing up from Claire Pritchett (Emma Stone) and Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). It also showcased an extended cast of related characters.
For a long while, the series was a single-camera, mockumentary comedy that mirrored the way people interact on TV. As each season passed, the show grew in size and scope, adding spouses and kids both biological and adopted into the mix.
As the series progressed, many of those characters moved on to separate paths. Mitch and Cam Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) found their dream jobs as football coaches in Missouri, while Haley Dunphy (Sarah Hyland) and her husband Dylan (Reid Ewing) moved into the house where they’d met Mitchell and Cam when they were teenagers. But with their children grown and pursuing their own ambitions, it was time for the show’s triumvirate of Pritchetts to say goodbye.
In the hourlong final episode, titled “Finale,” the Pritchetts say their goodbyes in several ways. The first half of the episode sees Haley and Dylan move into the house where their parents grew up, while Luke leaves to pursue his college dream in Oregon. At home, Phil and Claire have an argument about their children’s growing presence, but they eventually decide that the best thing for everyone is to go their separate ways.
They’ll leave their porch lights on, which is a symbolic sign of returning to the place they called home. They’ll be together again, and that’s a sentiment that the show’s creators wanted to convey.
Despite this, it’s clear that the show’s end was bittersweet. For the actors, it’s an emotional milestone to mark, as they had spent a decade building their characters and relationships with viewers.
For the show’s writers, the ending was crafted to mirror real life and the ways families splinter. It also included some sweet callbacks to cherished moments from the show’s run.
The final scene — Phil and Claire leaving their porch light on, which is a symbol of returning to the place they called home — was particularly meaningful for the cast. As they embraced in a group hug, it was reminiscent of the iconic “The Mary Tyler Moore” series finale.
While it’s a bittersweet end to an ABC comedy that amassed more than 250 episodes and five Emmys, the show’s co-creators Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd tell The Hollywood Reporter that they had plenty of fun putting together their series finale. It’s a fitting tribute to a show that has given so much to viewers for such a long time.