Although “Modern Family” has been one of my favorite shows since it began back in 2009, and continues to be so, I cannot deny the lulls it has been hitting in its current season. The writers have attempted to reignite the show by producing episodes such as “The Day We Almost Died” (this episode shot an accident scene almost six times, with different point-of-views from each of the characters). Considering the show is a mockumentary and is shot with a single camera, the episode must be commended for its attempt to portray the happenings in the lives of the “modern family” in an innovative manner. However, this episode did not strike me as one of their best pursuits to increase views and bring back potentially lost viewers over the course of the season.
The most current episode, which aired Wednesday, on the other hand, brought forth one of the most intricately thought-out episodes, which focused on one major storyline, keeping it simple and easy to follow. While one can perceive the episode as a 20-minute advertisement for all Apple products, I consider it to be a successful pursuit to bringing back the old “Modern Family” we know so well.
Titled, “Connection Lost,” the entirety of the episode is carried out on Claire Dunphy’s MacBook (Air or Pro, we’ll never know). We figure out her location in a creative manner — she looks for Wi-Fi and we find out she’s at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Although we aren’t watching the characters in the conventional way, we still get to see them through FaceTime, a feature of the MacBook the writers took some liberty with (characters could conference call another — a component that isn’t available on Face Time) but made full use of.
I enjoyed the episode thoroughly because it was so, so relatable. In an era that is run by technology, “Connection Lost” ran through its plot in a truly “modern” sense. It was keeping with the times, whether it was with Claire’s instant Yahoo Answers search for help on filing a missing person report (upon not being able to figure out her daughter’s “geographical” location), or whether with showcasing Lily’s limited iPad time. When Haley fails to respond to all of Claire’s iMessages, Claire resorts to stalking her daughter’s Facebook and iCloud for details. This is telling of the lack of privacy that exists in this increasingly high-tech world. I particularly loved how Claire has to be reminded of her own brother’s birthday through Facebook, and she instantly rushes onto the Ralph Lauren website to look for a gift. Although stereotypical, Jay (the grandfather) has trouble understanding the workings of FaceTime and holds the phone to his ear when face-timing Claire. This resonates with most viewers. I’m almost certain everyone has come across a certain family member who has mirrored the same action (hint hint Hey Dad!)
After exhausting pretty much all of Apple’s features, the episode ends with the family realizing that Haley was in the house all along, and not in Las Vegas as the Find My iPhone app seemed to suggest. Much ado about nothing is right. Jay was correct when he said something along the lines of, “the minute they got rid of rotary phones, everything went to hell!”
Overall, the episode was almost a User’s Manual to operating a MacBook, but certain elements of “Connection Lost” kept it extremely true to life and were in keeping with the disposition of all the characters. The fact that the entire episode took place in Claire’s laptop was a deeply personal insight into how she functioned, and it wasn’t surprising considering everything we’ve learned about Claire over the past six seasons. Of course, she questions Phil on vacuuming the dryer vent upon reading an article on a dryer vent fire. I must say, last week’s installment of Modern Family was a Hail Mary pass to bring up viewings, and it definitely worked. Here’s to hoping for similar episodes in the future!