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3. Be Funny, Biting, Sweet, Ironic, and Just This Short of Sappy


3e. But stop one beat before treacle

The episode ties up the plots, as Modern Family often does, with a voice-over. In this case, it’s Luke’s successful presentation about Van Gogh’s Starry Night—a project he did, in the end, come up with himself, using the Mr. Potato Head ears in his collage. As Luke practices his speech, he muses poetically about the idea of something up above, watching over all of them— and then springs into a comic kicker.

Luke: Aliens! Who could be here in a second to liquefy us and use us as fuel!

JW: It was a great way to undercut the treacle of it all so it didn’t get too sweet.

CL: There are people who go crazy if the ending is too sentimental. And other people look forward to it. How do you please all of those people?

SL: I love the sentimental endings, personally. If you were writing it for me, we’d do them every week.

CL: This episode might be the closest to giving everyone what they want. When Luke is talking about the stars, there are cynics going, What is this treacly thing? And then there’s the aliens joke—and the people who like the sentiment, well, you can’t take that away once it’s happened.

Before my father died, he saw the first several episodes—but he was fading in and out. I don’t think he was identifying anything in it that was about our family, but you know, he liked good sitcoms. We hope this is in the vein of the best shows he worked on, in that it’s about flawed, funny people, but it has room for heart.


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