Monday, January 13, 2014

Implausible "and then" storytelling that makes you think you're insane.

I don't want to sound negative or anything, but oh my, has the first week of 2014 been bad when it comes to network sitcoms. Especially when it comes to Modern Family - it's the series that has disappointed me the most.

Yes, I know, and I've written about this before: Modern Family's showrunners are still slacking, but you'd think that the rest of the staff would know how to write at least decent scripts.

Unfortunately the first fifteen minutes of 5x11 'And One to Grow On'' are simply nightmarishly bad, like incredibly awful. How can the writers write stuff like this and try to get away with it?

The problem with the whole thing is that there's no story in this episode. There's just stuff that happens on screen. There are a lot of sequences that wouldn't make any sense in real life. You just can't follow or relate to 'it'.

So, let's go through it:

First storyline: Starts with Phil fooling Luke and he takes him to a dance class. Okay... but then they do not show the actual dance thing. They just skip. My head already hurts.

Next thing in this sequence (and then). Phil gets stopped by a police officer who arrests him for having unpaid parking tickets. I was like, what the hell?

This is already implausible but it gets worse. Then it turns out it was Haley who's responsible for these tickets. How much does Phil / Haley owe the city? That's right, 18 tickets, for a total amount of 1600$.

The amount is just huge. But instead of taking a serious approach to this, all we get is another 'and then' moment. Phil isn't allowed to pay with his credit card (really?), so he calls Claire and she has to find cash from Phil's secret stashes.

As I already wrote, 1600$ is too much money to joke about, but they play the whole thing 100% as a joke. Claire has a sequence in which she tries to figure out Phil's riddles. Is the cash where the ash is? No. Haa haa, so funny. Finally she finds the money. And then..

Second storyline: Cameron and Mitchell are having a meeting with an apparent wedding planner. They are not sure if they should get a reservation to the place on a certain date, so they take a five minute break to think about it.

When they get back to the room, they're ready to make the reservation. Amazingly enough, it turns out that the place just got booked for that day - which of course could never ever happen in real life - and they're out. And then..

It gets much worse of course. Now, it turns out that the reservation was made for two fifteen year old girls, that Cam & Mitchell both for some reason know remotely. So "naturally", their next mission  - and then - is to convince the girls separately (!) to cancel their reservation.

No, I'm not kidding you here. From not being that enthusiastic about their possible wedding date & place to being absolutely convinced of doing everything in their power to secure the place on that exact date.

But that's not all. There are three other 'storylines' too in this episode. There's Haley teaching Alex how to drive because Claire  for some reason has had enough of doing that (I thought it was Phil who taught). More and thens..

Then there's a story thread about Manny being worried about finding a girl. There's also stuff with Joe's babysitter and there's also stuff about Jay being worried about his newborn not recognizing him.

Even this is not all. The final quarter of the show is about everyone coming together and - and then - talking about how they met each other and how long it took before the couples fell in love (this is the part that actually almost works).

So, the episode starts with one thing, then immediately goes to another direction. Then it once again takes a turn, has like six other story threads going on, and it's supposed to make sense? 

As a whole is 5x11 'And One to Grow On' is a complete mess. I mean, an unbeliveable mess - and I just hope that we don't get to see more episodes like we saw here. But I'm afraid.. it might happen again.. and then..

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