Modern Family’s ‘Connection Lost’ Episode as Allegory

The episode is an allegory (or parable, if you prefer). The truth it reveals is a good old fashion cautionary moral: Don’t let facts get in the way of truth.

No doubt, there are hundreds of posts this morning in which bloggers are trying to explain the top 10 this or that’s about the episode of Modern Family that aired last night (“Connection Lost,” Season 6, Episode 16).

For that reason, I haven’t read any blog posts regarding the show. If this sounds like I’m borrowing the observation of others, I’m actually not (this time, at least).

I did read one review and it was insightful (unlike this post, perhaps). It’s written by Gwen Ihnat at AV Club. She calls the episode, “A gimmicky but successful storytelling experiment.”

What you’re about to read is my observation of the show as an allegory (or parable, if you prefer).

SPOILER ALERT: I include some spoilers in this post, but I could tell you everything that happens and it wouldn’t matter.

Here are several things I won’t be writing about in this post

1. How in real life, Apple technology never works as seamlessly as portrayed on the episode. Duh, that’s why it’s called Hollywood. Also, remember ABC is owned by Disney and the show is filled with queens and princesses who all have magical powers. Claire’s power is getting Apple products to work seamlessly. There will be a ride at Disney World next year. And yes,  my use of the word queen was a shout out to Cam.

2. How it turned out to be, as the show-runner promised, NOT a “product placement” show. However, it was an entirely new paradigm: It wasn’t products placed in a TV show, it was a TV show placed inside of products.

3. How the show should be required watching for so-called usability experts who sit people in front of screens and monitor their interactions with a software interface or application or website. The show is a spot-on reflection of how no one interacts with only one application or website at a time. Layered distractions make it impossible to measure how one person interacts with one application, website, et al.

4. How actress Julie Bowen (Claire Dunphy) is brilliant. (Became a fan when she was on Boston Legal.)

5. How any mention of the show’s use of “social media” is a total miss of the point. Facebook gets a few seconds as an extra in the show. It’s about family media, not social media.

The parable of the lost connection

No, here is the observation I want to share: The episode is an allegory (or parable, if you prefer).

The truth it reveals is a good old fashion cautionary moral: Don’t let facts get in the way of truth.

Claire (representing, say, an NSA analyst, reporter, police detective or you and me) is able to piece together a trail of irrefutable facts from the types of digital flotsam and jetsam we all throw off the boat wherever we sail around online. We voluntarily allow digital devices to track our movements and private companies, the ability to monitor everything we buy and every website we visit. Not enough for the trackers? Let’s post photos and reviews and updates.  (Like on those mayhem ads.)

Yet Cliare’s (did I mention she represents a CIA analyst or you and me?) pieces these facts together and comes up with a conclusion that is impossible-to-be-anything-but-the-TRUTH…but (spoiler) it’s not.

Here is the moral of the episode: Don’t believe that facts equal truth. And come up with better passwords.w