Three supersized sitcoms return Wednesday and Thursday, but only one has Ron Swanson

SHARE Three supersized sitcoms return Wednesday and Thursday, but only one has Ron Swanson

More new TV shows are debuting this week than at any other time during the year. But it’s worth noting that a trio of old favorites are also back Wednesday and Thursday with supersized installments.

Fresh off its fourth consecutive Emmy win, “Modern Family” kicks off its fifth season with two back-to-back episodes starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday on WLS-Channel 7.

The first half, “Suddenly, Last Summer,” has Jay and Gloria prepping Manny for his first solo trip back to Colombia, while Phil and Claire try to orchestrate a kid-free week by coordinating Luke’s camp with Haley’s beach trip and Alex’s volunteer project. The second half, titled “First Days,” means the first day of high school for Luke and Manny — a milestone that’s much harder for Phil and Gloria than for the boys. Claire makes a bit of a rusty return to the workforce and Cam starts a new substituting gig at the high school, leaving Mitch trying to juggle Lily’s first day of pre-school and an important work meeting.

”Modern Family”

A pair of new episodes also ushers in season seven of television’s most-watched comedy, “The Big Bang Theory.” Sheldon and Penny share intimate secrets while Leonard is off at sea. Raj gets consoled about his ex-girlfriend and Wolowitz’s relationship with his mother threatens his masculinity. The ratings juggernaut airs at 7 p.m. Thursday on WBBM-Channel 2.

“The Big Bang Theory”

NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” doesn’t have the Emmy awards or the ratings of the previous two shows, but it does have one helluva a hysterical hour-long special opening season six. Seriously: This is the funniest “Parks and Rec” ever, featuring some great moments from Ron Swanson, played by University of Illinois grad and Minooka native Nick Offerman. Much of the episode unfolds in England, where an indignant Swanson declares the Tower of London has nothing on Chicago’s Sears. Leslie is in London to accept a government award alongside the likes of Heidi Klum. Another great guest star: Henry Winkler, playing Jean-Ralphio’s dad. The jolly good fun starts at 7 p.m. Thursday on WMAQ-Channel 5.

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