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“Modern Family” vacations not all that modern, typical

Hannah Widener

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There are two vacations in my household that will go down in infamy ‘til the end of time.

One summer, my dad was allowed to pick where we went on vacation, and the following summer my mom decided. My dad picked a cruise to the Bahamas, and my mom picked a trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Needless to say, Dad’s vacation ended up being the more exciting one, but not without its pitfalls. That was the year I learned the meaning of “trashed” from my sister. When we went to dinner, the two older ladies we normally sat with had spent all day on the boat drinking. For a fourth grader with Bahama-mama braids and blocked tear ducts from all the sunscreen I had slathered on my ginger body, this was a lot to take in.

Prince Edward Island ended up being the perfect place to take your kids, if they loved “Anne of Green Gables.” The only redeeming quality about it was that there was an indoor pool with a water slide. All week I had begged my sister to go with me, but she was 15 years old and way too cool to be seen with me. When she finally did go, after 20 minutes, she told me she was leaving. That’s when catastrophe struck.

Grabbing onto her, I meant to just pull her back, but I was much shorter, and what I had grabbed on to was her bathing suit bottoms. I had pantsed my sister, and I had pantsed her good. The gray chest-haired men sitting in the hot tub behind us all got a show. The next thing I knew I was looking up at my sister underwater as she was trying to drown me.

My parents had banned me from the pool, and as fate would have it, it rained for the rest of the week. Over the years our vacations have become fewer and fewer, but it wasn’t until I saw that “Modern Family” was shooting in Australia that I realized their family really isn’t that modern after all.

What family do you know that can afford vacations to both Hawaii and Australia? I could understand if maybe it was a small family, but this is a family of 11 people. Last time I checked, unless Phil Dunphy is selling Justin Beiber’s house, then they shouldn’t be able to afford a week-long trip to Australia.

Granted, this is a TV family, and it’s not as though the “Partridge Family” was all that realistic either. A family band? Really Partridges? Really?

“Modern Family,” however, is supposed to be the closest thing to today’s family. During their first season ABC even promoted them as “One big (straight, gay, multicultural, traditional) happy family.”

While I may have a problem with how the show depicts the average family the one thing “Modern Family” does get right are the ridiculous things that happen on vacation. Losing Lily in an elevator in Hawaii, or Claire and Phil treating their vacation as the honeymoon they never had. These are things all families can relate to and laugh about because nothing ever goes perfectly on a family vacation.

My pantsing days may be over, but I’m sure if I ever have kids or if my family goes on vacation together in the future, some things will be bound to go wrong. That’s what makes us a real modern family. We’re not afraid to laugh when we’re caught with our pants down.


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“Modern Family” vacations not all that modern, typical