The iconic comedy “Modern Family” released its series finale April 8, completing the 11th season of the show since its initial premiere in September 2009. As reported by Variety, the series finale received 7.4 million total viewers — its largest audience since January 2017. As ABC’s longest-running comedy series, the show has won 22 Emmy awards from 82 nominations, including the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in each of its first five years.
In the final episode, each character’s ambitions — whether family-related or professionally-oriented — progress, and the family finds themselves splitting apart, potentially to only reunite during a holiday or family event. Even though the kids previously moved away to college, Mitch and Cam’s move to the South gives this episode a sense of finality that was not present during previous life changes in the series.
About to be split for a more permanent duration, the Dunphy children — Haley, Alex and Luke — share an emotional moment when recreating an old family video. Although this goodbye is definitely a hard pill to swallow, their sadness is overpowered by an excitement for each other as each sibling begins a new, highly anticipated adventure that advances their personal growth.
Claire and Phil conversely face a sense of uncertainty as all three of their children move out simultaneously. Phil comforts Claire by giving the pair a new adventure to focus on — planning a road trip across the country. Similarly, as Manny prepares to embark on his year-long trip around the world, Gloria grows anxious about the next chapter of her life as she becomes more serious about her career and wonders if Jay is up to the task of being her support system at home. In revealing that he has been learning Spanish to accompany Gloria on her trip to Colombia, Jay soothes this concern by showcasing his excitement to see Gloria shine — as a thank you for her own support over the years.
As the family goes their separate ways, viewers were surprised the finale did not include a flash-forward to highlight each person’s future path. When asked by Deadline about the choice to forgo the flash forward, co-creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd highlighted how they valued the more emotional, private moments between family members that gives viewers an opportunity to imagine the future for themselves.
“I think what we tried to do was let the audience know that there were good things in store for these characters and let their imaginations fill in the rest,” Levitan said.
Levitan’s words ring true as each family member heads in a direction uniquely suited for them. Loyal viewers can imagine Haley and Dylan struggling to raise their twins just as easily as they can picture Cam being reunited with his Southern roots. As these scenarios provoke a comforting familiarity that reminds viewers of the relationship they have built with these characters over the years, the finality of the episode sets in as viewers realize they will not get to experience their favorite characters in the next phase of their lives.
Timely to its premiere date, the show’s farewell recognizes the difficulty of saying goodbye by allowing space for viewers to reminisce and say goodbye themselves — while simultaneously giving hope for a spinoff.