Improv Corner – Improv In The Media – Modern Family (A Final Return)

There is one thing that fascinates me about improv and that is how it is portrayed in Television and Film. This is becoming more and more apparent in recent years because the comedy art form is sort of in fashion. There are some interesting topics that we can gain from these ways they are displayed so every so often we are going to look at different scenes from different shows and films.

We are returning to the world of Modern Family again for another example of how improv is used in a narrative in a silly sort of way to connote a point. We have discussed this show a few times when it has come to improvisation because the comedy form is used in a way to connote an annoying character or to create embarrassment. Well, today we finish this narrative and look at the finale in the improv saga in Modern Family, with yet again improv being used in a cringey way.

*A few spoilers beyond this point*

The episode we are going to discuss is A Year Of Birthdays (Season 10, Episode 22) where they take a look back at the past year. I will not explain it too much because it may ruin the episode but here is a summary of the Manny section that we are discussing today:

Then, we talk about Manny’s birthday. He actually organized a talent show but he planned a real event disguised in the talent show: proposing to Sherry, his girlfriend. Unfortunately, Sherry rejects the proposal, spoiling the party and making Manny very sad.

Modern Family Fandom Wikipedia

In the episode, Manny enters the talent show with hid girlfriend Sherry and they visit something that she loves doing – improv. It is a very quick scene but at the end of it, he uses the improv scene that they are doing to go down on one knee and propose to her.

In a television show where they have already set up the weirdness they have with improv means that it is a quick and effective way to discuss a narrative in a sort of highlight show – it brings back a running joke and sort of spins it slightly on its head. Metaphorically, they have used improv to set up an ‘annoying’ character and that person has got their comeuppance by using the world of improv to decline something by the family that set up her comedy style as irritating.

As I stated before, I feel that in Modern Family it is obviously used in a very negative way..People who perform improv are always seen as quirky or bizarre in modern day comedies that are starting to become a cliche and a bit annoying. I have stated before that improv is always used as an excuse for a negative thing and I think it is getting a bit boring and also it is not fair for it to be a common stereotype. I suppose Sherry refusing the proposal means that improv has the stronger hand in this episode.

I think that will be the end of my adventures with Modern Family and improv but it is interesting to see how they portray it. Don’t get me wrong, I really like this show just found it fascinating how they portrayed improv.

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