Is Modern Family worn in or wearing out?

Photo: ABC Studios
Photo: ABC Studios

Now in its seventh season, Modern Family was one of the most anticipated premieres airing in September. The last episode of season six left viewers with a cliffhanger so dangly it was hard to tell who would fall off. With 9.46 million viewers in the U.S. alone, Modern Family clearly got everyone asking: “what’s going to happen next?” Viewership decreased by about one million views by the second episode and almost another million by the third. Maybe this proves that the show disappointed and that viewers did not find the thirst-quenching solution they were looking for.

In the last episode of season six, Phil attempts to inform Haley that Andy has feelings for her so that she can tell him she does too before he proposes to his girlfriend. However, because of a contraption that Phil built in order to skype with the family while he is away, he is unable to reach Haley in time and the episode ends with Andy going to find his girlfriend in order to propose. In the premiere of season 7, Haley finds out about his feelings but does not interrupt the proposal even though she has the opportunity to. Most viewers were probably expecting to see a Friends-esque dramatic reveal in which Haley and Andy kiss and all is resolved. The requisite prolongation of the Haley-Andy saga was disappointing and was worsened by the resulting reunion of Hayley and her on and off boyfriend, Dylan. In the four episodes that have aired since the premiere, we still find Dylan and Haley a never-ending item and see no clear solution in the future.

Instead of finding the juicy dramatic reunion moment with Haley and Andy, we find it instead with Alex, who, after the build-up of Alex looking at universities, is finally leaving and deciding whether or not to be long distance with her boyfriend. They end up deciding to be together, which is sweet, but both characters are so young it almost feels creepy to watch them kiss. It was not at all as rewarding as seeing two adults realize they’ve been in love with each other for months.

Cam and Mitchell remain in the state of silly arguments that are unrealistic for a couple who have been together for so long. Mitchell has time off in the first episode and takes up painting, which is funny, but is almost too obviously making fun of the hippie-type person to make you want to tell someone about it. The main problem with Cam and Mitchell’s jokes, which is a worsening issue, is that they are too neat and you can almost tell they know that when they deliver them. Usually it’s something about being gay and either living up or not living up to the accompanying stereotypes.

Another overly used aspect of the show that continues this season is the family trying to find excuses or making up lies to get out of family events. In this case it happens in episode two when the Jay clan attempts to skip Lily’s football game and Jay ends up getting shot in the foot so that they have a believable excuse. As expected, everyone finds out and gets mad just like what happens every time someone tries to ditch a family commitment. It’s not funny anymore.

Probably the funniest (that is whole point of the show, right?) part of the first episode was Gloria, Jay and Manny looking at pre-schools for Joe, which ends with Joe (a three year old) killing a chicken by accident. Gloria and Jay’s banter improves every season especially as they accept who they are and what their differences are.

The other funny aspect of the new season is the tee shirts that Dylan makes, the only good thing to come out of his return. The shirts are all V-necked and use the v to form a word on the shirt. Phil sports what is by far the best one: Oyvey.

The problem with introducing such a serious issue like the Haley and Andy thing into a show that is based around absurd comedy, not to mention that it is a mockumentary, is that things get too serious and dominate the show. The other few episodes of this season have managed to brush off the severity of the problem, but every time something goes wrong with Dylan, the viewer cannot help but think of how much better things would be with Andy on the screen. Also, because he is no longer involved, he hasn’t been on the show and that means a huge loss because Andy brings a unique kind of innocent comedy to the bunch.

In the end we will just have to see how the season plays out. The new element of Alex leaving for university adds an interesting dimension to the show, especially because her university is close enough for her family to make frequent visits. The university experience has not really been explored on the show so far because of how young the rest of the characters, besides Haley, are and so far it has had the advantage of tapping into the life of a university student, which is a hot topic in pop culture at the moment. In the third episode, Manny and Luke travel to visit Alex with the intention of hooking up with her hot dorm-mates, but the possible humour of the plot does not follow through.






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