Warning: this story contains details of the plot of the Wednesday night episode Modern Family, titled "Good grief".
Wednesday episode of Modern Family, titled "Good Grief", took the almost annual Halloween episode of the family comedy ABC and put it aside (respectfully) by turning a holiday into celebrating death, a day to mourn the death of a loved one ( mostly). It turns out that the "significant character" who would know his creator was DeDe fighter (Shelley Long), Jay's ex-wife (Ed O & Neil) and Claire's mother (Julie Bowen) and Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) . (Those of you who had fearfully predicted the sadness of Prichett's French bulldog, Stella, can breathe better).
Introduced in season 1, DeDe appeared in seven episodes, most recently appearing last season. The tragic news was revealed in the first minute of the episode, which gave new meaning to the term "open cold," as Claire received a somber phone call from DeDe's husband, Jerry. As we soon learned, he had a heart problem he did not want to talk about, he survived an impossible chain of events during his trip from a group of women to Greenland (saved by wolves, swallowed by whales) only to die in peace while he slept. Grabbing 10 pages of suggestions for hotel staff. And as the viewers were reminded throughout this episode, DeDe was a difficult force to keep in mind. She told Gloria (Sofía Vergara) at her wedding that she would return to pursue her. (What Gloria thought she was doing through those mini statues of everything she had given to the family for Christmas). He threatened to murder Cam (Eric Stonestreet) if he ever hurt Mitch. Oh, and she did not want to pay for young Claire's voice lessons in case she ended up with her father's nose. However, they also praised her for being a unique and independent spirit (she would bring her own ice cubes to restaurants, she was expelled from Scientology, etc.), for gently helping Mitch accept her sexuality and for comforting her. Phil (Ty Burrell) after leaving a child at school for the first time.
While her spirit figured and somehow literally permeated the episode, DeDe did not appear in this installment, although we do hear Claire listen to DeDe's last voice mail after their final controversial conversation. (DeDe apologized earnestly … before slipping into a quick insult for Claire's hair). "Good Grief" revolved around different members of the family, still in disguise, analyzing their relationship with her. Claire, difficult to embrace with her eight spider arms, struggled with Mitch to accept the loss; She not only felt guilty for that final fight, but throughout their relationship, "I was as bad to Mom as she was to me." Both brothers finally accepted the idea that parents could be closer to certain children, but that did not mean they loved others less. (Cut to: Claire, objecting slightly to the notion regarding Jay and Mitch).
Meanwhile, Luke (Nolan Gould) turned to humor, Hayley (Sarah Hyland) turned to the food (as her mind sharpened), and Alex (Ariel Winter) found herself a little excited by the tragedy. As to whether that old stone would break, Jay spent most of the episode sublimating his pain and obsessively searching for a missing sandwich, finally revealing to his children how DeDe would look for a special crusty bread to make his sandwiches. When he passed by the bakery and discovered that he was no longer there, he was depressed for a week. "I did not realize how much it meant to me until it disappeared," he said movingly. The episode, which effectively ran the line of humor and anguish, ended with Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) confessing to the camera that she was the one who ate Jay's sandwich, and planted the dolls that were harassing Gloria, ending "Grief" on Bueno, good note.
Why was DeDe marked for death? Will it come back in flashbacks or just in the form of a doll? How did the Halloween episode become a farewell episode? Leave that edible arrangement, pick up a pint of West Hollywood ice cream and say, "A DeDe!" While we get Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan on the line to give us the goods in "Good Grief".
WEEKLY ENTERTAINMENT: How did DeDe end up to die? Were you looking to use someone who was, shall we say, difficult, what would make a more interesting and tense exploration? Like, it was not just the size of the loss, it was its complication.
STEVE LEVITAN: At this point, we're just trying to get our characters to go through something new, interesting and challenging for us, so I think you're right. That is one of the things that makes this complicated and interesting. Every time people have some kind of complicated relationship with someone, and then they die, many things arise. So, when we were talking at the beginning of the season about some different places to go, this idea came up and we liked it. There will be, in fact, another episode that will deal with the ramifications of this.
When looking for new challenges and experiences for the characters, did the idea of death occur to him and he immediately settled for DeDe? Or did you go through a couple of candidates on your results list?
This seemed the logical choice because it directly affects three of our main characters. It was also a very nice farewell to the character and to Shelley Long, so it seemed to be the right thing to do. However, the idea of putting it on Halloween came about because, well, I've always felt a love for people who go through something that is unexpectedly serious with a silly disguise. I've always loved that kind of thing. We always do Halloween shows, and they are a big part of this year's series, so we thought, "Well, let's try to do something very different this Halloween." And as it is, interestingly, a holiday that deals with So many death themes and scary things and all that, it seemed in a strangely appropriate way.
That was my next question. Did it feel like an intriguing challenge to find the emotional weight of the situation? Because there is something intrinsically absurd in people who lament in disguise
That kind of thing happens. He comes out, he's dressed like a pirate, and then something serious happens, and suddenly, he's forced to go into active mode or duel mode or whatever while he's dressed ridiculously. It's just another interesting element of this story. I enjoy the challenge of this episode because obviously it's something very serious, but it's not our way of doing a very special episode of Modern Family. We want it to be fun. We want it to be fun for the people, and also sincere for the people, so that was part of the challenge of achieving the right tone.
On the other hand, was there any concern on the network or any place where a whole death episode felt too serious for this kind of comedy?
No. I think that, in any case, they were our own concerns, but we felt that we were up to the challenge. Phil's mother died several seasons ago, and I also did that episode. The story was about something serious and what that person was going through was serious. But there are still times to laugh during this, and there are still ways in which people who are not directly involved get involved in something else. There is a way to keep the story, in general, entertaining, while it is a serious problem. Also, I lost my mother suddenly two years ago. I remember that when it happened to me, we received the call and it was very shocking, and we began to meet at my sister's house, and everyone started to appear. So I tried to help bring back a lot of what I felt was the real That night, for me, Dunphy Halloween.
NEXT PAGE: Levitate about Shelley Long's reaction, and if Stella is next to leave