My TV season wrap-up – Part 2 (Modern Family, Cougar Town)

23 May

May is here and that means the most recent television season has come to an end.  Season finales are usually filled with just enough drama to keep the viewer invested so that they return three months later.  This year’s group of shows really upped their games and were probably some of the best finales in quite a few seasons.

I wish I had enough time to watch every show that I love during the TV season, but that just isn’t possible.  I’ve picked some of the shows I love and have been devoted to all year to breakdown how they ended their seasons.  There will be some spoilers, so be warned.  The shows I will focus on are House, One Tree Hill, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Bones, Fringe, Grey’s Anatomy, Life Unexpected and LOST.  Part 2 of my series will focus on Modern Family and Cougar Town.

Modern Family:

One of the breakout hits of this television season, Modern Family reinvigorated what a sitcom was and could be going into the future.  By pairing veteran and rookie talent, the show was able to capitalize on brilliant writing and ridiculous cast chemistry.  Not only was this show a family comedy, but it showcased the benefits of an ensemble cast.  Ed O’Neil and Julie Bowen were the most recognizable faces, but it was the off-beat humor of Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Rico Rodriguez that stood out from the pack.

Many times comedies don’t have a specific cliffhanger for the year.  The ending episode for season one of this show was an example of that.  It wasn’t necessary for the show to create something to entice viewers into tuning back in – it would happen even if they didn’t air a final episode.  The show has brought new life to the comedy genre and shown that with creative people at the helm of a project, anything can be successful.  The show ended the season by making chaos and lack of communication funny. 

For the most part, the show used guest star roles in a positive way.  Shelley Long as the ex-wife of O’Neil’s character was genius; I would love to see her make a few more appearances.  Elizabeth Banks as the crazy, drunk friend of Ferguson’s and Eric Stonestreet’s characters was pretty great as well.  My only criticism would be to watch the number of guest stars, because at some point it falls into stunt casting.  Glee is another show that is guilty of that as well. 

Cougar Town:

Created by Bill Lawrence of Scrubs fame, Cougar Town is a great example of a show that had one concept going in and changed it up as the show found its legs.  Lawrence has even talked about changing the name of the show for the second season in an attempt to have the name focus more on what the show has become and so that the name doesn’t alienate viewers who might think the show is only about the title.

The show began with Courteney Cox’s character on the hunt for a younger man, but the chemistry of the cast and the relationships that formed changed the direction the show was taking.  Christa Miller and Busy Phillips are great examples of how friendships among characters should work on sitcoms.  Their characters are very different, but each serve a specific purpose for the main character.  Dan Byrd who plays Cox’s son is such a refreshing young comedic talent.  His abilities have barely even been tapped into in my opinion.  Ian Gomez is just so darn likable and funny that I’d watch him on anything.

The show still needs some fine tuning and to find a solid direction to move in.  The romantic pairing of Cox’s and Josh Hopkins’ characters in season one is fun, but kind of mind-boggling.  Why go that route before the first season is even over?  Lawrence and the writers will need to be creative in finding ways to either sustain the relationship or change it as time goes on.  Another ensemble comedy, like Modern Family, lets viewers find the character they most relate to or like and follow their journeys throughout the run of the series.

*Part 3 of the series will focus on Bones and Fringe.

Click here for Part 1.

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