Modern Family Portrait


“I’m a Mom travelling with children…this is not a holiday, this is a business trip…”

Just one of the great lines and insights from the hit show ‘Modern Family’.

And Christmas is just the crucible to bring all of the extended family together into a boiling cauldron of stress and expectations.  The other (mostly American) family tradition is taking the holiday portrait to grace the Christmas card.  With far flung friends and relatives, the Christmas card was a great way to reconnect and update in the pre-Facebook era.  Even today, there is something delightful about getting a physical, tangible ‘poke’ of a Christmas card through the letter box.

The climatic episode of last season’s dazzling debut of Modern Family finished on a tribute to embracing failure.  As they themselves prepared for their own ‘Family Portrait’.  The fussy, perfectionist wife Claire obsesses all episode about getting the ‘perfect’ photo.  Made dramatically and starkly so by having everyone dress in completely white (and even with the uniform marching orders some of the sartorial selections like Gloria’s dress were not to her liking).  As the pressure builds to the breaking point (not an uncommon occurrence for mothers at Christmas as Family Guy’s legendary ‘Paper Towel’ scene hysterically illustrated), it all breaks down…with an artistic masterpiece as the result.

The climax (and moral) comes in Jay’s speech to his daughter Claire…

“You would be a lot happier if you weren’t so obsessed with being perfect. Look at us here all in white. What are we here? A cricket team?? News flash…life is not perfect.”

A little mud on turns into a full fledged sling-fest.  What the dirt took away from the pristine fabrics, it restored ten-times over in the bright smiles ignited by relaxed, natural family fun and loving.  Happy Christmas.

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