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Featured TV on DVD Review: Modern Family: Season Seven

September 19th, 2016

Modern Family: Season Seven - Buy from Amazon: DVD
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Modern Family: Season 7

The seventh season of Modern Family had the lowest ratings since the first season. It was also the worst season in terms of major awards. Has the show jumped the shark? Or is it still a great sitcom, even if it is no longer the best sitcom on TV?

The Show

Season seven begins where Season Six ended, i.e. with Haley learning that Andy has feelings for her and having to decide if she should admit to him she has feelings for him. She has to really think about it, because if she’s not sure about her feelings, she will be breaking up Andy’s engagement for nothing. Because there’s no real closure for this storyline by the end of the episode, or much progress for that matter, the B-plot is more engaging. The B-plot has Mitchell having a mid-life crisis after not being able to find a new job and it has more emotional weight and continues a few more episodes. The payoff with Alex in the end is also great.

The Day Alex Left for College is about Alex leaving for college. ... I’m not sure I needed to explain that. Turns out her new roommate is difficult and she wants to change; however, as Haley points out, Alex wasn’t a dream to room with either. This turns into a multi-episode arc where Alex has trouble adjusting to college life. Meanwhile, Phil finds a nest of duck eggs in a house he’s trying to sell. This also turns into a multi-episode arc. Noticing a pattern here? We are only two episodes in and we already have four multi-episode arcs going on. It makes it harder to talk about the next two episodes, The Closet Case and She Crazy, as they deal with these arcs. I will say The Closet Case is the better of those two episodes.

Speaking of arcs, The Verdict sets up another one. Gloria has jury duty, so Jay has to go to preschool with Joe, so Claire is in charge at work. (It’s also Bring Your Daughter to Work day, so Alex and Haley are there.) This leads to something that is a spoiler that continues throughout the rest of the season.

Phil's Sexy, Sexy House is one of the best episodes of the season. Phil is trying to sell this really fancy house and everyone sneaks into the house to use it for their own purposes. This episode also finally gets us some real payoff for the season opener.

Clean Out Your Junk Drawer and White Christmas both feature SCTV alums in guest roles: Catherine O’Hara and Andrea Martin respectively. Modern Family tends to do holiday episodes really well and White Christmas is no exception.

Playdates has a few really good guest stars, some of which are spoilers, so moving on...

Spread Your Wings is another highlight episode. Phil visits Alex at college. He’s worried that Alex is growing up and growing away from the family. Meanwhile, Claire, Haley, and Luke decide to get rid of the ducks.

Both Clean for a Day and Thunk in the Trunk deal with Claire taking over Jay’s company, as the latter has retired. Neither deal with the new situation too well. Also, the latter episode has June Squibb in a guest spot as a rival for Gloria’s hot sauce.

The Storm has one of the most cringe-worthy moments in the entire series, and that’s saying a lot. It is also one of the best episodes in the season. A storm takes out the power, so most of the family has to stay with Jay and Gloria, because Jay has a backup generator.

All three major storylines in I Don't Know How She Does It connect. Firstly, Claire wants to be an ace boss, but still be a super mom, so she gets her assistant to take care of a lot of her housework in secret, but Phil doesn’t know, so he gets depressed that she can do it all. Meanwhile, Jay, Gloria, Manny, and Luke all have major secrets they are trying to keep from each other.

In The Cover-Up Phil meets an African-American woman, Angie, who is looking for a new house. Phil’s worried that Claire will think he was flirting with her, so he lies about who she is. This lie comes back to bite him. However, Claire had someone flirting with her.

In Express Yourself, Cam’s sister comes to stay after breaking up with her boyfriend, but that causes conflict in Cam and Mitchell’s relationship. Also, Andy is worried he’s too boring for Haley so tries to act wild.

The Party has Manny and Luke throwing a party and trying to not get busted. Unfortunately, Claire is on the case. Fortunately, Claire gets Phil and Mitchell to help and the pair got stoned while at the movies, so they are more concerned about covering up that fact than busting a party.

In Crazy Train, the whole family travels by train to Dede’s wedding. Jay really wants this wedding to happen, because it will be the end of the alimony. However, he learns something about the groom that has him worried.

The season ends with Double Click. In the episode, Cam goes home for the summer, because he got a part-time job and he and Mitchell have to figure out who will take care of Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons). (On a side note, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons has become a lot better actor since she started the show. This makes sense, as she was only 4 when she joined the show.) Meanwhile, everyone in the Claire and Phil household have a terrible day.

The Extras

There are no extras on the first disc, but disc two has a five-minute making of episode called Storming the Set. The third disc has six minutes of deleted / extended scenes, plus seven minutes of outtakes. Finally, there are two featurettes, the first is a five-minute featurette focused on Ariel Winter, Rico Rodriguez, and Nolan Gould, who grew up on the show. There is also a three-minute look at a charity the show supports, Kids in the Spotlight.

The Verdict

It is very rare for a show to last seven seasons on network TV, but Modern Family’s quality has barely dropped. While season seven isn’t the show’s best, it is still the best sitcom on Network TV. Unfortunately, the extras on the DVD are weak and that prevents it from being the definite Pick of the Week. It could still be a contender, depending on the competition.

Filed under: Video Review, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Sarah Hyland, Shelley Long, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Ed O'Neill, June Squibb, Sofia Vergara, Ariel Winter, Eric Stonestreet, Nolan Gould, Mekia Cox, Rico Rodriguez, Adam DeVine, Jesse Tyler Ferguson