Modern Family is going to get even more modern.
Like many upcoming filmmakers (and Beyoncé) before it, an upcoming episode of the Emmy-winning sitcom was filmed almost exclusively with Apple’s iPhone 6, iPads, and for a couple scenes, MacBook Pros. It’s set to air Wednesday, Feb. 25, on ABC, and the episode takes place entirely on a laptop screen.
In “Connection Lost,” Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) enlists the help of her family to locate her daughter Haley (Sarah Hyland) after an argument while she’s stuck at the airport through email and apps like iMessage and FaceTime, often times multiple of them popping up at once.
Apple provided Modern Family with the technology to shoot the episode, along with a Mac Pro for the postproduction work. This isn’t the first time Modern Family devoted an episode to an Apple product; a season 1 episode focused on one character’s mission to buy an iPad as a birthday present.
For Modern Family co-creator and executive producer Steve Levitan, the inspiration for the episode came from real life.
“I have two daughters at college, and we do a lot of FaceTiming,” he said last week during a Q&A session. “One day I was on my computer, and I had some emails open, and some websites, and then my daughter showed up. But I couldn’t only see her, but I could see me.”
Along with showing multiple conversations happening at once, the use of the computer screen allowed the writers to insert some inside jokes, gags, and Easter eggs. The episode can show an aspect of the characters’ lives that’s unavailable when it’s just the actors on-screen. Gloria (Sofia Vergara), for example, loses interest in a conversation and goes on Pinterest.
“That’s a type of a joke that you just couldn’t tell within a normal show that we get to tell here,” Megan Ganz, who cowrote the episode, said about the gag.