'Modern Family' Recap: Alex's Secret Sadness Makes for Unexpected Tears

guest starsIf the previous week's episode had me rolling my eyes for its entire duration, tonight's proved that Modern Family can be genuine and affecting when it wants to be. It can also then undermine that earnestness by tossing more guest stars in the same episode than is normal or necessary.

Not that it isn't always nice to see Jane Krakowski and Jesse Eisenberg (though, debatable). But their star clout should have been saved for a day when there was less interesting stuff happening in the other story-lines. I wanted to make the journey and cackle at the Type-A mom (as played by JKrak) trying to upstage Gloria. And nothing is more enjoyable on the show than Mitchell being put in his place -- but with everything going on with little Alex, how could I even begin to appreciate them? 

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Alex is going through a seriously tough time. It's something anyone who's been through high school can identify with. She's a junior, prepping for the SATs, feeling stressed, and completely misunderstood by her family. The fact that Alex is an (at times annoying) genius is a frequent gag on the show, but tonight a freak-out involving cake (who hasn't been there) showed just how isolating it is to be Alex.

She sends herself to therapy before her parents can even check in with her! Once there she battled her therapist before eventually admitting that it isn't easy being her -- and that she feels alone and isolated. It was heavy fare for a sitcom, and I wanted more! The episode's button -- Claire, coming from Parents' Day shocked at the volume of work her daughter has to do, expresses this to Alex, who loses it in her mom's arms. I must admit I got teary -- LOOK AWAY! NOTHING TO SEE HERE! 

This story-line was so stellar that it made the secondary, essentially "gag" and "set" lines frustrating. I was impatient to get back to Alex. I didn't want to see Manny and Luke hit on twins, I didn't care about Phil and Jay bonding -- how many stories about Phil seeking Jay's approval do we need? Where is it going? Give me more of Claire and Alex. It was also funny ("she's like a self-cleaning oven") and totally identifiable. 

Would you like to see more moments like this one on the show?


Image via ABC 

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nonmember avatar Phyllis

Did anyone else notice how when Phil set up the TV the football footage was Canadian football from the CFL? As a Canadian that was a good feeling, I think the NFL would have sued them so they went a different route.

With regards to the Alex script, I agree with your comments, it should've been expanded and involved more of the family. As someone who was in her boat and still kind of is it is hard to know if anyone really knows what it's like and to tell yourself you need a break when it seems like you never work hard enough...

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

I think this part of Alex should have been explored long ago. I couldnt stand the Gloria and "Dr Doo-doo-Dah-Dah" spin either... This was an oddly balanced episode.

Jenn Terry Humphries

Poor Alex, I felt her pain.  I think we all have felt like her in way or or another.  You're not the only one who got something in her eye when Alex cried at the end.

Railr... RailroadGirl

That was a great episode. I cried also

nonmember avatar neb8fan

I really hope they keep up the Alex storyline. It was nice to see a show display how much pressure 'smart' kids feel to perform well. This same pressure makes it hard for those kids to seek help, and I think it's gotten even worse since I graduated high school.

Christine Assad

I loved this latest episode of Modern Family. Alex's meltdown and later counseling was realistically touching bringing me to tears. In my opinion, the best episode to date.

nonmember avatar S

I agree, it was a good ep, nice change, and so great to see more of Alex's 'world' exposed and understood. As a recent graduate, and someone in a very similar position to Alex I also teared up when I saw the conclusion. I had never really had that kind of connection/understanding so I could imagine how good it must have felt to be understood like that, and it's something I now see could have been very helpful.

And to another commenter- I think you may be right that in many ways successful kids now have it very tough, often harder than in the past. partly due to competing nationally, or at least regionally in many exams and contests, not to mention more stressful things like the sat and other entrance exams- a number of schools almost only accept those who score above ~95% on these tests-something many teachers couldn't even do.

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