Sofia Vergara and 'Modern Family' cast go to Disneyland(Read article summary)
A vacation episode like the 'Modern Family' Disney outing has a comforting familiarity.
As a kid watching reruns of THE BRADY BUNCH, the one episode I was happy to watch over and over was the one in which the whole gang went to Kings Island amusement park. Other people wanted to see the mixed family hit the beach to watch Greg hang 10, but I was all about seeing them break every rule of theme park etiquette in their mad dash to get Mikeâ€™s sketches to the managerâ€™s office before his butt could be fired.
Over the years, Iâ€™ve tuned into shows Iâ€™d never watch under other circumstances just to catch glimpses of parks Iâ€™ve been to, hope to go to or know Iâ€™ll only ever experience vicariously. For seven seasons, I checked out the opening credits of STEP BY STEP just to watch the Lambert-Foster clan (headed by Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers) frolic at Valencia, Californiaâ€™s Magic Mountain. Heck, I even suffered through a painfully unfunny episode of DINOSAURS in which the prehistoric family were forced to vacation at WeSaySoLandâ€¦ a park so lame even I wouldnâ€™t wanna go there.
Not surprisingly, ABCâ€™s shows have a long history of visiting their corporate overlord, aka Mickey Mouse, at his various vacation homes. Long before last nightâ€™s MODERN FAMILY had Gloria teetering around Disneyland in high heels, we got ROSEANNE joking that an old man sitting on a bench at Disney World was clearly a robot (told they havenâ€™t been called â€śrobotsâ€ť for years, she quipped, â€śSorry. Animatronic Americans.â€ť) and FULL HOUSEâ€™s Danny proposing to the worldâ€™s most clueless would-be fiancĂ©, Vicky via fireworks above Cinderellaâ€™s castle at the Magic Kingdom.
Even soaps have gotten in on the act, with both SANTA BARBARA and ALL MY CHILDREN among the sudsers to have storylines unfold at Walt Disney World.
Without fail, these vacation-themed jaunts wind up happening during sweeps, and to be honest, I get far more excited about them than I do about the more typical weddings, births and deaths that tend to take place in record high numbers during the months of February, May and November. And the ones which unfold at Disneyâ€™s parks are almost without fail not-so-well-disguised advertorials for the House of Mouseâ€¦ and yet, when done right, theyâ€™re a hit not only with me, but regular viewers as well.
Why? Because itâ€™s something we can all relate to. What typical family doesnâ€™t plan a vacation to Disney or some other amusement park at some point? Doing so is as normal as many of the other things we never see TV families doâ€¦ like use the bathroom orâ€¦ well, watch television. So is it any wonder that watching MODERN FAMILYâ€™s Dunphy/Pritchett clan â€” the very picture of upper-middle class America â€” taking the type of vacation we all dream of hits home? We see ourselves in them and think, hopefully, that even if we canâ€™t take that trip this year, maybe weâ€™ll do it next year.
And unlike Gloria, weâ€™ll be sure to wear sensible shoes.
Richard M. Simms blogs at The TV Addict.