Thursday Open Thread: Falling from Grace

About a year ago, Modern Family was near the top of my “favorite shows” list. It was something I actively wanted to watch, something I looked forward to every week. I started watching it sometime very early in the second season, after hearing a lot of positive buzz about it. I caught up with the first season on DVD sometime around Christmas, and became even more of a fan. After season two ended, I was glad to see the show clean up at the Emmy’s, and eagerly awaited season three.

By the fourth episode of season three, I found myself suddenly unable to care about the show. In fact, I was actively trying to find reasons not to watch. Was the entire writing staff of this show replaced by alien pod people during the summer? What the hell happened? Suddenly, Claire is a constant, shrill neurotic freak; Cam has become a complete drama queen, taking offense at the most minor and unintentional of insults; Phil has somehow become dumber and less funny; Jay has become more cantankerous; every joke about Gloria focuses on her accent; and it seems like every episode relies on the old, annoying sitcom trope of the misheard, misunderstood bit of information that gets everyone into an embarrassing situation. Oh, and don’t get me started on new Lilly; all I’ll say is that she still seems out of place.

This show had some of these problems before, but it seemed like in older seasons they didn’t pop up as often as they do now. It was much more often hilarious, clever, and heartwarming than it was contrived or annoying. I’ll occasionally check in on the show from time to time (like last night) but the episodes I’ve seen lately are either so bad that I change the channel, or just boring enough for me to leave them on in the background and not pay attention to them.

I can’t remember a show shooting to the top of my list, and then falling off of it completely in such a short period of time. Yes, The Office is terrible now and I can barely watch it, but its demise was a slow motion trainwreck that you could sort of see coming. Modern Family seems to me like it was shot straight up in the air with an Acme style slingshot; a brief apex, followed by a swift tumble downwards.

Does anyone else agree with me? Can anyone else think of a show that they loved, and then completely lost faith in within the span of a season?


One thought on “Thursday Open Thread: Falling from Grace

  1. I love this open thread topic, and I completely agree about Modern Family. It’s just not funny anymore, and it relies on way too much of what you’ve already pointed out: the old, annoying sitcom trope of the misheard, misunderstood bit of information that gets everyone into an embarrassing situation. It’s really disappointing.

    I’ll try to think of some other shows that completely lost me. Something that comes to mind is Big Bang Theory, mainly because it became so focused on getting these nerds laid than anything else. But I can’t pinpoint if that was one season in particular.

    Perhaps Ally McBeal. Ally McBeal was one of my favorites back in the day, and then somewhere around season three, all it was about was sex. The only redeeming part of season three (if I recall) was Billy’s death, but that was after he got a brain tumor that made him become a sex fiend that slept around with his assistant. It completely turned me off. Now, I will say, that show seemed to bounce back to some degree. I remember stand-out episodes from season five, when I finally got back to watching it on syndication. But the damage was done at the time. Even in the complete series that I own, I can guarantee you that the other four seasons’ disks get more play than any of the characters did in season three.

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