ABC’s ‘Modern Family’ will its 11-season run Wednesday with an hour-long finale — and the writers promise it will a good ending.
By: Cami Mondeaux
When the writer-producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd first began putting their heads together for ideas for a new TV show, they thought they landed on a good sitcom approach. It would revolve around an extended family, filmed in a “mockumentary” style that was recently made popular by “The Office.”
They began to assemble the cast: Ed O’Neill, Julie Bowen and other relatively new actors were gathered together. When they put a wrap on the first episode, Lloyd said he began to feel hopeful.
“All these things are familiar enough, but different enough that we have a shot with this one,” Lloyd said to the Associated Press. “Having said that, I didn’t believe in it. I was at a party with one of my ‘Frasier’ friends, and said, ‘I think it’s a good piece of writing, but I’d sell the thing to you for 10 bucks because I don’t think it’s going anywhere.’”
Little did they know, the show would go on to win five ‘Best Comedy’ Emmy Awards, matching the record set by “Frasier.”
The show was almost like a first-of-its-kind: It pushed against social boundaries, while maintaining its status as show that kids and parents could watch together.
It definitely lived up to its title “Modern Family.” It built the comedy around an interesting mix of characters and couples: young and older, straight and gay, mostly white but not completely. It reflected the change in American households, while keeping it real and acknowledging that tolerance and understanding behind these differences was still lacking.
Wrapping up a long-running show into an hour-long finale isn’t always the most difficult task — but it is when you have the weight of fan expectations and other great finales from different TV shows to live up to.
“I personally like finales where there is some sense of characters experiencing what the audience is experiencing, which is having to say goodbye.” said Levitan, who wrote the finale’s first half-hour. “It’s an emotional thing for many people. They spend a lot of time with these characters …. so giving them the emotionally satisfying ending that they seek/want is, for me, the best way to go.”
Llyod wrote part two of the finale, saying the end of a family show really just needs to be a new beginning.
“It felt like a better approach to me was to set people off on new journeys and sort of turn the stewardship of these characters over to the audience at that point,” he said. “Hopefully, the audience will be happy imagining the characters off on new adventures, new challenges … The audience provides their own futures for these characters.”
“Modern Family” managed to finish filming before the COVID-19 outbreak forced several movie and TV projects to halt production. It will premiere Wednesday night, after the release of “A Modern Farewell” which documents what it was like to film the series for so many years.