Modern Family’s eleventh and final season premiered on ABC on September 25, 2019, and ended on April 8, 2020. The two-part “Modern Family” finale was jam-packed with the landmark, life-changing moments in the lives of virtually every major character, just like so many other series finales. It was a fittingly fitting exercise enclosure — for the three families and for those of us who welcomed them into our living rooms for over a decade and saw so much of ourselves in them.
We won’t go into any more plot details, except to say that the extended family, which has spent nearly every holiday, graduation, and birthday together for more than ten years, is suddenly facing a tomorrow in which they will be hundreds, if not thousands, of miles apart.
A sprinkling of silly comedic detours lightens the poignant drama, which is amusing enough but also serves as a reminder that the show has reached its logical. One of my favorite aspects of “Modern Family” was how each episode ended with a character giving a brief summary of the events and life lessons learned.
(There was often a sudden twist, and the narration wasn’t always what we expected.) The series finale also plays with the conceit before finishing on a beautiful visual note. “It’s difficult [to say goodbye] because not everyone has what we have,” Jay says, and few shows have ever had the spirit, love, grace, and laughter that “Modern Family” has.
What the season finale of “Modern Family” proves is something we’ve all known for years: Years earlier, when it was best suited to bind all of these subplots, personalities, and themes together, the show should have ended. Now we’re left with a conclusion that doesn’t want to be a conclusion. Perhaps that is appropriate for a casual family audience, but I believe modern audiences expect more.
Overall, it was a step forward from previous seasons, but it was still mostly good and healthy, never being fantastic or especially funny. Mitch and Cam are the show’s highlights, but the finale brought it all together nicely. Despite the fact that the show’s later years were a disappointment, I’m glad we got a good final season.