Just like another family comedy “The Cosby Show” did almost 30 years ago.
“Modern Family”, the ABC series, will air one final episode of an hour – after a retrospective of the program’s 11-year, 250-episode run – with viewers staying indoors because of the new coronavirus.
“Cosby” – one of the highest-rated shows of all time – aired its finale in the middle of a more localized event, the outbreak of riots in Los Angeles in the wake of police release accused of beating motorist Rodney King. For Los Angelenos, the scenario of temporarily escaping bad news by looking at a long-running comedy has clear parallels.
On April 30, 1
Cosby actually taped two messages, one that would be broadcast if the episode was not broadcast, in the midst of the violence that occurred over the city and a locally enforced curfew.
Long-time KNBC news anchor Jess Marlow introduced the show, noting that the then L.A. mayor, Tom Bradley, had urged people to “stay on the streets and watch” The Cosby Show. “We think we need this time (as) a cooling off period … to remember what our Thursday nights were like before all this madness began.” Marlow closed by saying, “We hope you use this hour to say goodbye and thanks to a good friend. “
“I have always loved ‘The Cosby Show’,” he wrote. “But it doesn’t detract from my attention that a show that gave the impression that black people had vanquished went on the air just as black Los Angeles made a strong case that we hadn’t done.”
Still, both programs brought families, with casts of children growing up before the eyes of the audience. Where “Cosby” was seen as a unifying force by showing that a show featuring an African-American actor could appeal to such a broad audience, “Modern Family” broke the ground with its portrayal of a loving gay couple, whose marriage in one episode of 2014 brought a years before the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.
During the retrospective, the stars of “Modern Family” discuss what the show has meant to them. Because Burell says the series “has in a way ruined me in the best way,” and Julie Bowen, who plays her wife, adds, “If this is my best job, I’ll take it.”
As a commercial hit that shares the record with “Frasier” (five) for most Emmy winners as outstanding comedy – and the last broadcast series to claim that award – “Modern Family” has no mountains left to climb.
But when it comes to removing people’s minds from their daily worries, much in the way that “Cosby’s” finale completed that role, the show has a job left to do.
“Modern Family” will broadcast its series finale April 8 at. 9pm on ABC, after an hour of retrospective.