I would like to preface this by saying I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Unless you’re a Nickelback or Two and a Half Men fan, I believe that your taste is completely valid and most forms of art are subjective and that it’s difficult to say something is “better” than something else. I’d also say that I am a Modern Family fan and I do think it’s a funny, great show. But I really, truly, at the bottom of my cold black heart don’t understand how the past season of this show against past season of Parks can even be compared.
Modern Family is really only held up by its cast at this point. The actors are all wonderful (and I think Ty Burrell was totally deserving) but I think the material they have been given this season was subpar. Every episode was essentially the same plot, only with small details switched around:
- Claire is neurotic and Phil tries to calm her down the rest of the episode
- Mitchell does something mean that makes Cameron upset and tries to make up for it the rest of the episode
- Gloria does something dumb and Jay complains about it the rest of the episode
- Haley is slutty and clueless
- Alex is bitchy and smart
- Luke is dumb
- Manny is precocious
While a lot of this can lead to funny moments, it began to feel repetitive and stale. I think the writers need to create more of an arc for some of characters, because right now it seems they’re all stuck in the mud, with no plot or character development to help propel them forward. While episodic plots are fine, it can lead to the same thing just happening every episode, with similar lessons being learned each time and that just makes the audience bored. This, I believe, was the major failing of the season and why I felt unimpressed by it. Obviously there is nothing wrong with having a TV show that doesn’t have overarching plot lines or themes, but I feel as if this did no favors to Modern Family and ultimately was why I was let down.
On the other hand, Parks and Recreation had an incredible season. The word “flawless” is thrown out a lot on Tumblr but I think it is incredibly apt in describing it. Even when people discuss really great seasons of television, (season 1 of Lost comes to mind, but I may be biased) there are usually a few not-so-great episode they ignore or some weird plot arcs that they dismiss. Parks had none of these. Each of those 16 episodes were either great or fantastic. I can’t think of even one that was just “okay.” The writers truly crafted a season in which the characters grew and changed and developed. It was not just them reacting to the plot, but the plot pushing them forward and changing them. Leslie Knope went from deputy Parks director to potential mayoral candidate. Ben Wyatt went from “Mean Ben” to “Numbers Robot” to being “worth the risk.” Tom Haverford went from someone who only cared about when there was a boy’s sale and Dillards to starting his own company. I could go on. This show is not about what is happening but who it is happening too, and that’s why I love it. You care about ALL of these characters so much, and only want the best for them. The writers treat their characters as real human beings, not just objects with which to create funny moments, and that to me is what makes a show great. To have them all have these personal narratives throughout one season is outstanding, in my opinion, and the writers did an incredible job.
I understand there is a lot more politicking to the Emmy’s that we don’t see, but I truly think it was wrong that Modern Family won over Parks and Recreation. I know I’m biased and feel free to comment on it, but I just had to get this off my chest.