‘Modern Family’ Season Finale Strikes a Quiet Blow for Marriage Equality

Modern Family Season Finale Gay Marriage
Courtesy of ABC

The “Modern Family” season finale was customarily madcap — perhaps a little too much so — for most of the episode. And then, as the show so often does, it managed to put a lump in your throat, to abruptly shift gears and find a strain of emotion that was moving without being sappy. It was also, in its own way, another blow for the marriage-equality movement, and a timely one at that, coming on the heels of several court victories and the same day as a new Gallup poll that found support for same-sex marriage at an all-time high, with disproportionate acceptance among younger adults.

The show encapsulated the reason for that in its closing moments (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched), when Ed O’Neill’s crusty father, Jay, not only rescued the thrice-postponed marriage of his son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) to longtime partner Cam (Eric Stonestreet) by securing space at his country club, but extended an arm and walked Mitchell down the aisle. For all the snide remarks and botched attempts to insist the plagues preventing Mitchell’s nuptials weren’t the wrath of God, Jay thus became the surrogate for many a parent of his generation whose prejudices eroded upon discovering a kid of his or hers is gay.

Moreover, as USA Today’s Robert Bianco noted, the series managed to convey all of that without feeling like one of those dreaded “very special episodes” — without abandoning its other characters or hammering home a message. Mitch and Cam have been a couple from the beginning, with a child who (thank you, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) increasingly steals scenes and gets some of the best lines; this was simply the logical next step.

In a broader sense, while many shows have tried to replicate the program’s mixture — zany comedy, garnished with heart — few of the many imitators launched since “Modern Family” became an almost-instant success have mastered the deceptively difficult formula.

For all that, the ABC series itself wasn’t as consistently at the top of its game in its fifth season. At its worst, it’s still funnier than most half-hours on TV — and its Vegas episode was surely a highlight of just how deliciously intricate the show can still be — but after being anointed best comedy for four consecutive years, nobody should shed any tears if someone else finally catches the bouquet this season.

On Wednesday, though, “Modern Family” offered a reminder of why it has earned all those accolades. And that — along with the happy couple — is surely an accomplishment worth toasting.




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  1. Rebecca says:

    Not sure the use of the word “blow” is right here. Usually if it something strikes a blow, it hurts the cause. This would would be a win for marriage equality, if you will, so it’s giving it a lift.

  2. Ken says:

    Yes, and that “bouquet” should finally be tossed to THE BIG BANG THEORY, which has consistently been the best ensemble sitcom on the air…and just completed its 7th season on a high note.

  3. Jim Huppenthal says:

    Kudos to Modern Family! After 24 years together, my partner and I were finally able to legally marry 3 weeks ago. And I must say, much like the show, we experienced the most incredible outpouring of love and support from everyone we know. I think we earned this right – 24 years together proves a lot – that you’ve got the commitment to stick together through the good times and the tough times – that’s what enduring love is all about – that’s what “marriage” is suppose to be about. We raised 2 kids, have the most fantastic relationship with my spouse’s former wife and her husband, and our kids are much better because 4 loving parents worked together as a “family”. I’d like to say we ARE that Modern Family – living, loving and striving to make a difference. Thank you ABC.

  4. sameer1138 says:

    What, no mention of the amazing Edward Sharpe cover played during the wedding? It was a great cover and 100% appropriate, since the unsung lyrics are “Home is wherever I’m with you”.

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