There’s a good chance that it’s been quite a while since you last watched Family. The ABC comedy mainstay — which wrapped its 11th and final season on Wednesday — is no longer the buzzy, Emmy-rich phenomenon it was five or six years ago. It’s an inevitable part of the TV lifecycle; even the most innovative and original series — and Modern Family was both — are eventually shoved under the radar by the endless churn of the new. But Modern Family never stopped being funny, and the finale was comfortingly consistent with the series as a whole: A snappy, smart, and unabashedly sentimental celebration of the folks we love (and sometimes hate) the most.
Of course, nothing works out the way anyone hopes — Claire and Phil wind up with an empty nest they didn’t actually want, and Mitchell gives up his dream home for a life in the Midwest — but that doesn’t mean nothing works out. In the ever-optimistic world of Modern Family, things fall apart in serendipitous ways, and fans were left with the comforting sense that the 13(!) characters they’ve followed for years would all be okay in the end.
And the show was an instant hit, credited with "saving" the family comedy. Modern Family dominated at the Emmys, Frasier for five straight Best Comedy wins. At its peak in season 4, the show pulled in over 14 million viewers a week — but eventually, America turned its attention elsewhere. Still, Modern kept chugging along for seven more seasons, delivering solid — often above-average — laughs. (I've seen all 250 episodes, by the way.) Though it occasionally flirted with sitcomitis (relying a bit too often on guest stars or "the cast wants a vacation" travel episodes), it never fully succumbed. Few long-running comedies can say the same.
Series finale grade: B+
Series grade: A-