The archeologists of the future will be greatly assisted in their work by the regularity with which the modern world records its every move. And Modern Family, universally acknowledged as the bellwether for society’s understanding of itself, is doing more than any other program to capture the social norms of our era. It is therefore wholly unsurprising that the ABC sitcom would film an episode that takes place entirely within the confines of a computer screen—and that the whole episode is filmed with and proudly displaying Apple products, because that is the dystopian monoculture nightmare in which we live.
The episode, called “Connection Lost” and airing February 25, all occurs within the confines of the MacBook Pro owned by Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen), who is trying to contact her daughter while away from home. Using FaceTime, iMessage, Safari, and the unseen blood of sweatshop laborers, the characters interact via prominent placement of Apple—and only Apple—products on the screen. Despite what seems like an obvious half-hour commercial for the technology giant, series co-creator Steve Levitan insists that no financial incentive was involved. “There’s no product placement or anything,” he said, referring to a 30-minute episode of television that features nothing but the placement of a certain company’s products. “This just came from life, and it made sense.” Life, of course, being the outdated, last-century term for what happens while we’re using Mac products. Levitan also insists that, much like a season one storyline about Phil’s quest for a new iPad, the concept was birthed solely from his self-confessed “super geeky” Apple fanaticism. That makes sense, because nothing says “niche” and “geeky” like using your network TV show to endorse one of the most widely available products from one of the largest companies on the planet.
Levitan does acknowledge that the episode was shot using iPhones, iPads, and a MacPro that Apple had gifted the producers with after learning about the use of its products in the show. Which, to reiterate, is not at all any sort of product placement. It’s just a case of friends bein’ friends, according to the guy turning his show into a half-hour ad for his multinational friend. “All shows have an ongoing releationship with major computer companies,” Levitan says. “We have an ongoing cooperation with Apple.” Indeed, we all have an ongoing cooperation with Apple. And if we learn from Levitan’s fine example, Apple will bestow us with gifts, too—gifts like letting us survive the great Apple homo sapien enslavement campaign of 2027 (motto: “iServe”), overseen by the 400 foot-high adamantium octopus that was once the Internet.