Victory laps. The party after the awards show. The moment the fancy dress becomes a party dress and the nerves become smiles. You hang up the running shoes, or slough off the tanning oil and unclench your pecs and bite into a baked potato. Time for carbs, time for rest, time to savor the sense of accomplishment. ABC's Wednesday comedy block is trickling into full-on reruns, so let us put our judging caps aside and simply revel in how amazing our comedies were last night. Let athlete and referee, ballet teacher and fatty, chess master and pop star join hands and love each other with all that we are. And then we’ll see how all our blocks averaged in our first season of FOR THE WEDNESDAY!
Norm MacDonald is Mike's brother! Who doesn’t absolutely love Norm, he’s made me giggle since my girlhood days of watching his SNL David Letterman impression (nevermind that I had seen a collective 20 minutes of Letterman, MacDonald was hilarious in and of himself). And he brought his delightful, forthright awkwardness to bear with restraint and charm during the Heck family’s lovable season finale. While the odds of someone inviting everyone to your house for a wedding and not telling you are pretty slim, I absolutely loved Frankie freaking out about the messy house. We’ve all been at that dirt-shame breaking-point, or at least I’m at that point every three months or so. The Middle is so unabashedly poor and it keeps things so sweetly real and raw, yet before this week their ramshackle house was embedded in throwaway or visual jokes (beach chairs at the dinner table), so for Frankie to kind of freak out about that and articulate the cruddy realities that make cleaning up so horrific was touching and hilarious. (Also, she screamed at Mike about how their life was a claustrophobic, crumbling nightmare with the door to the bedroom wide open so the kids could chalk up another point on their "Incidence of Marital Strife" chalkboard.) Sue trying so hard to help and negotiating a hideous wedding cake that was relatively a victory and then finally being pushed past her limits was a good illustration of what wedding planning can do even to the best of us. Plus Eden Sher's breakdown-and-gush beforehand was such a beautiful encapsulation of everything I love about the character of Sue. Mike gave a speech that let us know his thoughts have lingered a little too long over the sweet peace of the grave, and Axl and his pals got a chance to do some physical humor. All in all, a touching au revoir for a sweet little show that keeps it real (below P-Heats’ neck, at least).
“Finale” Words: Frankie, you love these kids and hate to clean? Me too!
What's better than a gay prom date? Sure, you can go to the dance with someone you like and either a) get your heart broken or b) get pregnant, or you can have a fun, stress-free night out with a table full of friends. I've done both versions of prom and let me tell you, they were both hell, but I liked the platonic one more. More worrisome: moving in with a guy the year after high school? Designing T-shirts is the “starting a band” of this generation.
The telenovela situation unfolding, as narrated by Gloria, was a bit of absurdist flair for Modern Family. Not all chicana conversations devolve into telenovela slapfights, but it also served as a funny yet profound way to underline how hard it must be for adoptive couples to have to run the gauntlet of other people's drama to get the chance to parent a child. I don't think I say this enough, but adoptive parents are awesome, and sometimes they go through a lot of heartache to make the world a better place. Mitch and Cam are just so good. They are such good dramatic partners, it makes their timing even better. Jay next to Lily almost made me tear up. AMAZING! He is always such a fantastic, gentle father figure in this series and it makes me even more excited about the big reveal that ended the show: OMG Gloria is pregnant! They are going to hide Sofia Vergara in a pregnancy suit (or is she pregnant in real life?)! Shame about that but I can’t wait to see Jay's reaction. Or Mitch’s. Or Claire’s.
“Finale” Words: For a widely recognized comedy, these writers sure know how to make compelling drama and they are lucky to have actors who so deftly play both.
OF COURSE Chloe has a “No Panties” comic book in Japan. Of course this series would include, within its first season, hilarious ambitious animation, like a comedy Kill Bill + Homestarrunner. I kind of want to read it AND “Strong Bowling Girl Talks a Lot.” Whoever did those comic covers was LEGIT, btw. And I love how the writers keep bringing back the pastor, she gives her crazy lines the best, most restrained delivery. Also it IS a thing to call your girlfriends “slut,” “ho,” and “bitch” in a good way. And I do love it, bitches! It makes me feel like a racy, catty minx instead of a sentient pair of sweatpants.
And I'm sorry, but the girls' pervy neighbor is kind of a hottie, right? Text me Mookie. Also, DEAN CAIN!! This series is a treasure trove of '90s hotties. Do you think Cain, Kevin Sorbo, and James Van Der Beek used to be in a support/cruising group? Also, Chloe accepting June’s comic book and enjoying it was kind of heartwarming, I love how they’re becoming real friends. So sweet but they keep it from getting toooo sweet with moments like Chloe pulling off her underpants and screaming “I CAN SEE!!” Love these bitches.
Finale Words: Have you ever seen a first season of a network comedy series so specific, so brave, and so polished? This show has made me a fan for life.
OVERALL AVERAGE FOR THE SEASON!: 6.3 (with Happy Endings winning the most weeks)
When you consider that a rating of 1 is “Work It” and 10 is "literally having your sides split open with laughter," a 6.3 is pretty darn impressive. But what are your finale thoughts? Which of ABC's Wednesday-night comedies surprised you most with its improvement or decline? Which shows return are you most looking forward to? What are your predictions for next season on the block? Let me know below!
1. The Hecks' house: relatable or repulsive or kind of impressive?
2. What is next for Tessa on Suburgatory?
3. Will Sofia Vergara be in a fat suit all next season!?
4. That Big Old Bitch: New favorite show?
5. Happy Endings! Where is Season 3 headed in the old romance department? Love Triangle Junction?!