Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The importance of having coherent storylines.

Last week's episode of Modern Family's S7e11, 'Spread your Wings' had received pretty solid reviews, so I felt pretty optimistic about seeing it. There was a good chance that I would manage to enjoy the episode quite a bit.

According to the reviews, this was supposed to be a funny episode that also managed to make you feel.  Especially the storyline that had to do with Phil and his daughter Alex was supposed to be really heartfelt and genuine.

Yet, after I managed to watch it, I wasn't really happy with how things went. Even though I couldn't immediately tell where the problems were, I felt pretty strongly that this episode had pretty big flaws that one shouldn't overlook.

So after I gave the episode another look yesterday, I noticed that just about all the storylines - taken individually - had major thematical problems. There was very little continuity within the storylines when you paid attention to them.

For example, the first storyline was about Phil being very serious and worried about Alex. Phil was thinking that not only is Alex not doing that well, their relationship as a father and a daugther wouldn't be the same again.

This was all good in my opinion, but in the very next scene in this storyline, when Phil went to visit Alex in the university there was absolutely nothing in the scene that indicated that he was worried at all about her.

I suppose one might have been able to take that as an isolated incident and think that this was just a semi-innocent faux pas. After all, we all have a tendency to make mistakes that we can't notice that easily.

However, once the episode moved to its second storyline that involved Manny, Cameron and Gloria making their chili sauce, the very same thing happened again. There was very little continuity within the storyline.

When Manny started talking about stealing those precious chilis that they needed (Mission Impossible-style & voice-over), all I could think was that this was something that you weren't able to derive from the scene that had happened before.

Even the storyline that involved Claire wanting to get rid of Phil's family ducks felt awkwardly incoherent when it came to its implementation. In this case too it felt as if the whole story progression came out of nowhere.

As unfortunate as it is, there was no connecting scene that would have enabled them to release those ducks. The whole thing was briefly mentioned during the first minute of the episode and then eleven minutes later the ducks were gone.

Mistakes like these really bothered me about Modern Family's S7e11, 'Spread Your Wings'. Clearly the writers of the episode should have paid more attention to their storylines and what the storylines were supposed to be about.

Unfortunately, that's not what the writers did and that's why it's so difficult to recommend this episode. Even though it did have some good and honest elements, as a whole the episode just didn't work well. 

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