After eleven years of growing up in each other's homes, ABC's Modern Family comes to an end. Eleven seasons of countless emotional memories. Even as "Finale" had viewers tearing up, we were given an ending that both brought closure as well as open new chapters to their stories. It really felt like a family, you spend the whole time leading to the end thinking you are prepared. But when the time finally comes to say goodbye, your breath catches up on your throat and you realize you were really not ready for this moment. Having said that, I know as I write this that I am still in denial. When fall rolls around and there are no new Modern Family episodes, I am sure it will become ten times more real. As much as I thought I was prepared to say my final goodbye to my extended television family, I was absolutely not ready for all of those little moments that hit me in the finale.
Keeping with tradition, the episode follows different storylines as always that are all interconnected. It was incredibly bittersweet to watch everyone is saying goodbye and all characters are in the midst of starting a new chapter in their lives. Alex (Ariel Winter) quit her fancy job and now works for a low paying, ethical job. She also moved into the Dunphy house pushing Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) to move into their RV in order to avoid the clutter and overcrowded home. When the kids finally discover their hiding place is when they get their ultimatum: one of them must move. Cam (Eric Stonestreet) gets the offer for the coaching job in Missouri we wished for on the same day of their house-warming. And Jay is acting weird lately, which is scaring Gloria (Sofia Vergara).
The Dunphy's were always my favorite, reminding me of my own family. While I was not always happy with where life took Haley (Sarah Hyland) or Alex, they still remained dear to me. Luke (Nolan Gould) was the embodiment of my brother more often than not. The scene with the siblings realizing how far they will be from one another had my heart breaking and once again reminded me of how it feels saying goodbye to my own favorite pair of humans. As per Claire and Phil, their reaction to this was sobering to see from the parents' perspective on just how hard it is to say goodbye no matter how ready you think you are for it.
Thankfully, Modern Family Proved Our Theory Wrong
Let me also say, I am so happy Jay did not die. I do not think I could have taken that blow in these trying times. However, I was very surprised to see he was actually learning Spanish and not showing early signs of dementia. Jay's arc this season has been beautiful—he has shown so much growth as a character. There were a couple of times this season where Jay had me tearing up and smiling like he was my own grandfather. This episode was rich with those though: His conversation with Gloria about it being her turn to work while he holds the forte; his conversation with Mitch's (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) friends about his house-warming present; and his moment with Phil advising him to look at these changes as a new chapter were my favorite. I am so glad they made Jay a more loveable person.
On the Tucker-Pritchett side, my first thought is I wish we could have gotten more of this Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons). I have really come to love her character and how sassy and funny she is. It was great that we get to see how hard this was for Mitchell to accept this change. Though we all knew they would end up in Missouri, and I am so happy they did. The finale episode of Modern Family really had me laughing and crying. I cannot begin to describe my joy over the fact that they did not do a "flash-forward" into the characters' futures.
I am glad (for now, at least) to be left to imagine where their lives go from here, knowing they will do great things. The best thing is knowing you can continue rewatching the show you love because they did not mess up the ending (I am looking at you, How I Met Your Mother and Dexter). Is it just me that cannot watch reruns of shows with crappy endings? Thank you so much, creators, for this blessing. It still has not sunk in that I will not be getting to see my favorite television family continue to grow. Thank you, Modern Family, for all the laughs and all the comfort you offered me throughout the years. Thank you for showing a great portrayal of a family: diverse and loving no matter what. I hope we get to see a reunion one day to see where the next generation goes.