‘Modern Family’ Season Finale: The ‘Roseanne’ Rip-off

‘Modern Family’ Season Finale: The ‘Roseanne’ Rip-off

I love Modern Family as much as the next TV type. Well, maybe not quite as much … I actually think The Middle is a better show, but, memo to self, that’s a whole ‘nother missive for a different, post-24 and Lost series finales day.

Still, I do love Modern Family, and I enjoyed last night’s season finale (most of it anyway — the Mitchell/bird thing, not so much). But that final scene, which critic after critic has praised, the one where the family, decked out all in white, gets into a mud fight, relieving a tension-filled situation and turning it into sweet, silly bonding moment? I liked it, too. I loved it, in fact, when I saw it the first time … on Roseanne, season four finale, episode called “Aliens.”

Roseanne and her family were having a particularly tough time: Dan (the great John Goodman) was forced to give up on his dream when he had to sell his motorcycle shop; Roseanne was about to lose her job, as the Rodbell’s restaurant was closing down; and Becky (original Becky, Lecy Goranson) was ticked at her ‘rents because they hadn’t been able to save any money for her college education.

And that sets up this, the final scene, when the only thing the Conners have to celebrate is the fact that dorky son D.J. (Michael Fishman)  has won his school spelling bee. The fam is gathered around the table, toasting D.J. with bowls of ice cream, when Roseanne decides to lighten the mood by saluting her son, in true D.J. style: A food fight.

If you don’t want to watch the whole clip below, skip to around the 5:30 mark, to watch a scene that’s every bit as sweet and silly and smart and heartfelt as last night’s Modern Family season finale scene. Except, it came first.

    • Rick said at May 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm
    • Reply

    Yeah… not the same. At all.

    If Roseanne is the only other time you saw people make each other a mess to relieve tension, watch more tv. This is a trope that’s been on television sine The Honeymooners, and has been a performance gimmick since Ancient Greece, at least.

    • Kim said at May 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm
    • Reply

    I think you’re oversimplifying it, Rick. It’s not about the mess. It’s about the way they used it … a character deliberately making a mess to relieve family tension in a way that ended up bonding the family and lightening the mood.

    And of course, even that has been done before, though I’d argue not better than in that Roseanne example, which is exactly how Modern Family played the scenario.

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