‘Modern Family’ – ‘Family Portrait’: The fugitive pigeon

Senior Television Writer
05.19.10 54 Comments


A review of the “Modern Family” season finale coming up just as soon as I postpone this hissy fit for a few minutes…

“I just want to freeze this moment, as it is, right now.” -Claire

From the moment ABC screened the entire “Modern Family” pilot to a rapturous response at its upfront last May, the show’s first season couldn’t have gone more perfectly. Critics loved it, audiences embraced it, veteran comedy writers blogged and tweeted that they wished they worked on it, and I would call it the odds-on favorite to win the comedy series Emmy.

So of course, Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd would want to freeze this moment, and enjoy it, and to close out this triumphant season with an episode bringing together the full cast for one last bit of silliness in their all-white mud fight.

But I don’t think “Family Portrait” was one of the show’s strongest episodes, and in a way would rather have seen the season close out with the Hawaii trip, which also brought everyone together but gave them all funnier things to do.

There were some good gags, as always, like Jay and Manny’s underwear swap, or Luke re-enacting “The Hurt Locker,” or the reference to Phil considering Peabo Bryson to be the world’s greatest singer. And I even laughed at Mitchell trying to kill the pigeon while Cam sang “Ave Maria,” even though I had been cringing seconds earlier at watching Mitchell be a stereotypical squealing queen as he ran from the bird.

But I did wince at the earlier pigeon stuff, and I still don’t think Claire works as anything but a straight woman for Phil and the kids, and even Jay’s tall tales to Luke about the barbershop felt like it could have been sharper.

But then the mud fight happened, and my earlier reservations mostly went away. That was both goofy and sweet and completely enthusiastic, and that’s a mix which has served the show well throughout this strong debut season.

So while “Hawaii” was a much better episode overall, “Family Portrait” in its closing moments did end the season on the picture-perfect note.

See ya in the fall, Cam, Manny, et al.

What did everybody else think?

Around The Web