Modern Family broke the mold on Wednesday with an entire episode that took place on Claire’s (Julie Bowen) computer, offering fans an unadulterated look at the Dunphy and Pritchett clans. How did the episode come together?
“It was pretty time-consuming,” co-executive producer and episode writer Megan Ganz tells EW of creating all the extra content, including Facebook profiles laden with inside jokes. “Thankfully, I had some help from one of our writers’ assistants, Anthony Lombardo. Plus the editors and their assistants contributed a few things. After all, they’ve seen episodes of this show more times than anyone else, so they really remember their trivia.”
The first step was piecing together the main mystery of where Hayley (Sarah Hyland) had actually disappeared to. It looked as though she had gone off to Las Vegas for a quickie wedding to Andy (Adam DeVine). “Once we established the beats of that story, we just had to figure out how Claire would become convinced that Haley had actually eloped,” Ganz says. “So we thought of things like changing her Facebook status and tracking her phone to Vegas. We tried to pick things that made the most use of the internet and Claire’s desktop. Mostly, it was hard to limit ourselves in terms of how many extra jokes or websites we wanted to put in.”
Timing was everything for the episode, which also offered a first look at Alex’s college admission essay—this Dunphy clan member might actually graduate college! “I knew it had to be three paragraphs long, because Alex says at one point, ‘I made some changes to paragraph three,’ Ganz says of creating the mini-masterpiece, which you can read in full below. “Besides that, it had to be dry—really dry—so Claire would find it impossible to get through. So, naturally, I started with Nietzsche and went from there, trying to say the least information in the most words. It’s sort of my parody of college application essays. There’s a lot of fluffer.”
Here is Alex’s essay in full:
Nietzsche believed that most culture exists purely to distract us from the truth. If he is to be believed, then the context of our experience matters little when compared to the content of our experience. For this reason, I believe Yale will provide the best possible opportunities to expand as a scholar, pupil and person. No institution, however dedicated and prestigious, can instill a desire for betterment where none exists and I know you’re not reading this, mom. If allowed to join the student body, I will diligently strive to make the most of every advantage, both in school and beyond campus.
This is not to say that I lack hobbies. In addition to graduating in the top two-percent of my class, I have also participated in many extracurricular activities. I followed my love of the cello to join a quartet three years ago. My interest in renewable energy drove me to enter the Annual Pasadena Robotics Competition in 2010, build my own small robot, and compete as that year’s youngest female one-person team. In addition, I have co-captained numerous Mathlete and Mock Trial teams, and spent my free periods as a teachers’ assistant.
If admitted, I am certain my varied interests will find a prosperous foothold at Yale, whether through my fellow students or honored professors.
Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.