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Worldly Distractions: Modern Family 6.16 - Connection Lost




This episode has a groovy concept - but can it get past the gimmick? Well, we'll see.

We discover, via Claire's MacBook screen, that she is in O'Hare airport and has had a fight with Haley (who is at home). She FaceTimes her husband, who is playing video games with Luke, or at least would be if he knew where Luke was. He also doesn't know where Haley is. Claire asks him to do some simple chores, which will not get done.

Alex comes online, not having seen anyone else in her family for hours, despite being at home. Claire begs Phil to keep track of the children, and asks Alex to help track her sister down. Alex, in turn, asks her mother to read through her latest college essay draft. Wait, doesn't the essay come before the interviews? I'm confused.

(By the way, this show has a lot of Easter eggs. I would watch it more than once even if it's total crap. Too soon to tell.)

Rather than reading the essay, Claire focuses on her fight with Haley. Conveniently, she recorded the argument, because she has no respect for anyone's privacy. And also gimmick. The argument had something to do with cleaning the kitchen.

For some reason, we still have opening credits.

Claire calls her dad while Facebooking various people (and you have to wonder what sort of deal with the Devil was struck to get all these products so prominently displayed, like wowza). Joe is apparently teething, isn't he like two now? Do kids teethe when they're two? This is why I probably shouldn't have kids. Luke is located at Jay and Gloria's, where he's getting a haircut. Manny makes his token appearance just so they can justify paying a main cast member.

We also find out it's Mitchell's birthday, which Claire forgot - but Jay remembered, and crows about it. Claire sneaks in a belated FaceTime with the birthday boy. She also orders him a present online while they're talking, which he immediately sees through. Cam and Lily make an appearance, the former only to show off his ridiculous birthday gift - a huge black hat. He's also annoyed that Claire forgot to get him his favourite Chicago snacks. Claire goes off in search of a kiosk. We also learn that Haley borrowed Mitchell's powder blue tux (and yeah, she would totally rock it, but it's actually for a friend at a wedding) and hooked up with Dylan again (yay!). Lily, of all people, takes Claire to task for being a mean mommy.

Claire calls Alex, who is still revising her essay and encourages Claire to cyber-stalk Haley with her fake profile (a teenaged boy, because that's not creepy at all). She finds Haley's Timeline, which has a notice saying she...got married? Claire is understandably shocked and yells for Phil. He tells her to stay calm, it might be a prank or glitch. Claire is not the type to ever stay calm.

Just then, Dylan calls for no reason. He apparently has a career now as a sign-holder for one of those cash advance places. They managed to figure out that Haley isn't married (to Dylan, anyway) and continue their search. Continuing her quest as World's Most High-Maintenance Mother, Claire hacks into her daughter's iCloud by guessing her password ("Snoopy", Haley's favourite literary character). That's right, she straight up Snowdened her kid. Through these devious methods, they track her to a Vegas wedding chapel. Alex advises her to call Mitchell, as he apparently knows all about Haley's love life for some reason. After some whining from Lily about iPad time and more threats from Cam related to candy, Claire finds out that Haley is in love with a mystery boy. The call is interrupted by Jay, who is old and can't use smartphones ha ha so funny. Claire decides to get Cam is damn candy and leaves an old lady to babysit her computer (and eavesdrop on Jay complimenting Mitch's new hat). Sorry, popcorn.

Somehow, the entire family finds out about Haley's possible marriage. And Luke has a frightening new haircut. Phil permitted it, which enrages Claire. She calls to yell at him, but he's too busy researching annulments. The rest of the family giggles at their fight. Jay helpfully mentions that Andy is in Vegas too, having gone to a wedding. Everyone puts two and two together, inevitably getting five when they conclude that Haley and Andy are married. To top it off, a package arrives for Haley at that moment - "What to Expect When You're Expecting". Jay can only protest, "I told you he was a stand-up guy."

They can't find Haley or Andy anywhere. Claire tearfully lists all the reasons why her theory is right, though Phil thinks they shouldn't jump to conclusions. Claire googles "moms who raise their daughter's baby" while Phil rants about how he'll kill Andy for being an adult and having sex with another adult, which is kind of hilarious because that's exactly what Phil and Claire did twenty-odd years ago. In fact, Phil kind of adores Andy, which makes it hard to be angry. We find out Andy's surname is Bailey. They assume she's changed her name to Haley Bailey, which I admit is a terrifying prospect. Claire rapidly googles her potential son-in-law's criminal record. Phil assures her that the arsonist on the website couldn't possibly be Andy, since Gloria would vet her child's nanny thoroughly. That's not quite the case. Meanwhile, Alex remarks that she's the first woman in her family not to get pregnant and drop out of college.

Luke shows off his mohawk. When Claire tries to blame Jay for hiring Andy in the first place, he finally points out her hypocrisy about the whole situation, as she once got pregnant and ran away to marry the rather goofy father. This shuts her up for like half a second. She plays sappy music and looks at Haley's old baby pictures. Mitchell interrupts with a call. Claire, already almost at the bottom of Cameron's tin of popcorn, does not pay attention. In a fit of rage, she in fact spills the popcorn on the floor, provoking her brother-in-law's eternal hatred. How the hell has this flight not boarded yet, by the way?

Mitchell attempts to comfort his sister, but it all goes back to his hat. Meanwhile, Andy posts a picture of himself and Haley being goofy on Facebook. Phil calls lamenting about how he was supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle. Claire calls Jay and tearfully apologizes for eloping and depriving him of being at her wedding. He points out that he did see her renew her vows in Hawaii, and tells her to look on the bright side - one day she'll decide that "the best thing that happened in my life was that dipstick knocking up my daughter". Phil, on another call, overhears this and is delighted. This puts Jay into a state of what I fear is perpetual grumbling. Gloria tries to fix Luke's hair, but it just gets worse.

And then Haley calls. Claire tells her that though she isn't happy about the situation, she still loves her and will help her through it. Haley is confused as to what this situation might be. Just then, she appears behind Phil in his screen. That's right - she's been home, all day, asleep upstairs. Haley's status is a joke related to her love of cronuts. She left her phone in Andy's car, which is in Vegas while he attends the wedding. The book is for her boss, who designs maternity clothes. Also, she wants to know how her parents found out all this information. Claire tries to fake signal interference to get out of it. Finally, she logs off.

As a tag scene, we get Alex's incredibly pretentious (and kind of poorly written, surprisingly enough) essay. I don't think Yale is that interested in your thoughts on Nietzsche, kid.

Just to reiterate for those of you who didn't see the episode, this action-packed story took place entirely on Claire's computer screen. And it worked splendidly! It had the classic components that we love about the show (wackiness, bringing the family together, Phil being an idiot) presented in a dynamic new manner. The one-liners and gags flew all over the place. Most of them worked. Hell, this is the first episode I might rewatch in years. I've been begging this show to try new things for several seasons now. They did, and it really paid off! As for me, I have a strange compulsion to go to the Apple Store. Good night!

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