Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Character reactions in Modern Family's S8E17.

One of the most important things about being a writer is that you have the ability to write stuff that makes sense. As a writer, it's crucial that you know how to write characters and storylines that are plausible and feel real.

The reason for this is that the more your characters and your situations make sense, the easier it is for us to relate to what's going on. Making these storylines plausible makes us care and in most cases, makes us come back for more.

I was thinking about this thing especially when I watched Modern Family's episode S8E17. This episode, 'Pig Moon Rising' had a lot of problems with it when it came to the characters reacting in their storylines. 

The first big problem I had with the episode had to do with the storyline that involved Mitchell and Cam. This storyline felt genuinely contrived and the character reactions to the so called 'problem' was completely over the top.

In essence, this story was about how Mitchell was exercising in their garage where he accidentally manages to drop an old vase. This old vase happened to cointain someone's ashes, which in turn created our problem.

This could have been plausible and relatable storyline, had the ashes in the vase actually belonged to another human being. In that case things could have felt real and you could have felt why Mitchell got so upset about it.

In reality though, the vase didn't contain the ashes of a relative, but the ashes of Cam's favorite pig instead. This made the whole story pointless, especially knowing that Mitchell was fully aware of what was in the vase.

This overreaction wouldn't perhaps been that bad, had there not been a huge underreaction in the second storyline. This one had to do with Phil, Claire and Luke, and was something where things made even less sense than in the first one.

In this story Phil tried to Help Luke, who had been rejected from every college that he had applied to. Since None of the universities that he tried to get in had accepted him, Phil wanted to use his connections to get Luke in to his alma mater.

When it came to this story in the episode, I was pretty much okay with it up until when it came to Phil and Claire and going to the university. This is when things started to get really weird and you just had to shake your head.

So what happened was that the person who was in charge of letting Luke in that college was willing to make an exception. He was willing to make an exception - as long as his old buddy Phil was willing to return the favor too.

What really bothered me was not that the person was asking Phil for a favor, but how Phil actually reacted to it. He didn't want to return the favor - that only involved revealing the secret to his decades old magic trick.

I mean, we were talking about the future of Phil's son versus some stupid trick that he had performed twenty five years ago. He should have said yes without any hesitation and should have been the happiest person on the planet.

It made absolutely no sense that he would actually consider not returning the favor. It was completely unbelievable how he reacted - just like it was totally implausible how wildly Mitchell reacted to his own 'problem' that involved those ashes.

In the end, when it comes to learning from this episode, it's pretty clear that there was a huge mismatch between the reactions of the characters and how they should have reacted. Especially when it came to the latter storyline, things made no sense at all.

At least in my opinion, the writers should have made sure that there was a balance between the situations and how the characters reacted. There should have been a certain amount of harmony so that the storylines could have worked.

Had they managed to balance the characters and the situations, there would have been a good chance that the script would have worked. In that case, the episode would have been plausible, relatable and entertaining to watch.

Unfortunately, since none of the characters in these situations made sense, and since there was no harmony in these storylines, 'Pig Moon Rising' as an episode turned out to be implausible, unrelatable and at least in my opinion, pretty painful to watch too.

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