Modern Family Disneyland Episode Review

Modern Family Disneyland Filming

Modern Family Filming at Disneyland 3/1/2012

I hope you all had a chance to watch Modern Family’s Disneyland episode last night. While Sarah and I watched all three days of filming in February and March, we couldn’t find ourselves in the background of any scenes. I guess there goes our chance at becoming overnight celebrity sensations! (And I’ll never get those hours of my life back!)

Our Grade:

I give the episode an A+ from the perspective of a Disney fan who loves Modern Family (one of my top 5 shows on TV). If I weren’t a Disneyland fan, I would have thought it was a good episode of Modern Family, but not an elite episode. The plot wasn’t quite as strong as some of my favorite episodes, but there were a lot of good jokes. I want spoil anything by going into specifics, but we especially liked the Gloria shoes plotline and the child leash storyline. And, of course, the Modern Family trademark tie it all together” ending was excellent and oddly heart-warming.

That said, as a Disneyland fan, I thought it was an excellent episode of Modern Family. It was my favorite episode to date because it did a great job taking a show I love and giving it a setting at my favorite theme park. It clearly wasn’t white-washed by Disney PR (the digs at people on scooters, the long wait time, “Robot Lincoln” instead of AA, Little John talking, etc.) nor was the show a blatant vehicle for advertising the parks, which was great. As much as I loved shows like Boy Meets World, Full House, etc. that went to Disney theme parks, Modern Family is a higher caliber of TV, and having Modern Family be a blatant plug for the parks would have been disappointing.

It was nice to see jabs at Disneyland, but the best part about the episode was the attention Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln received. Although very popular with hardcore Disneyland fans, this is an unheralded attraction with the general public. It certainly isn’t as recognizable as a lot of the big name attractions, and it was nice to see this great attraction receiving its due. It caught us off-guard, but was great to see.

There were some “inaccuracies” that are easy to notice as a hardcore Disney fan, but I think it’s important for everyone to remember that the target audience for this show is not hardcore Disneyland fans. The average person isn’t going to notice a different look to the wait time board, that people entered the exit of the queue, or that there was no character handler. Some things need to be modified to make the production of the show easier/better, and exactly that was done. No TV show is completely faithful to real life, and with that in mind, I think the qualms here are VERY minor. I watch Law & Order all the time and enjoy it a lot, but I can tell you that it’s nothing like “real life.” I’m frequently told that most medical shows (besides, oddly enough, Scrubs) are similarly inaccurate. Viewers familiar with Disneyland shouldn’t fixate on these inaccuracies, since they’re present in all TV shows.

Our Reaction to Others’ Reactions:

Some people are complaining that the references to Disneyland were too forced and frequent, and some people are complaining that the park was merely a backdrop and wasn’t given enough exposure. These ‘contradictory’ complaints just go to show that you can’t please everyone.

Another vocal minority is complaining that a character, Little John, spoke in the episode, which ruined character integrity. Sarah and I watched the filming of this scene for about 2 hours in Fantasyland, and I can tell you that no one in the park heard the character talking. The only people who heard it are those who tuned in at 9 pm to watch a television show aimed at adult audiences. I do feel sorry for parents, unfamiliar with the show, who let their kids watch it and had the “magic” ruined, but Modern Family has dealt with far more controversial topics and often has edgy humor. Character integrity is definitely important in the parks, but not so much on show with an intended adult-audience (an intended audience that, presumably, all realizes characters have “friends”). So I think these complaints are viewing what happened on the show entirely out of context. But that’s just me.

What did you think of the Modern Family Disneyland episode on ABC? Do you agree or disagree with us about the “character integrity ” controversy?

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