Modern Family College Essay Episodes

"Connection Lost" is the sixteenth episode from Season 6 of Modern Family, it aired on February 25, 2015.

Plot Summary

Claire's computer becomes the hub of all the family's activities when she gets stuck at the airport and is desperate to reach Haley after a big fight. After FaceTiming with Phil and the rest of the family to help track her down, Claire quickly turns to online snooping which inevitably becomes disturbing real quick and everyone gets sucked into the online drama.

Episode Description

While waiting for her flight at O'Hare airport, returning from a presentation she had for a new client, Claire (Julie Bowen) attempts to get in touch with Haley (Sarah Hyland) after a big fight that they had. She uses FaceTime to contact Phil (Ty Burrell), who tells her that he thinks Haley slept over at a friend's house. Meanwhile, Alex (Ariel Winter) continuously sends Claire new versions of her College essay for her to proof read, but Claire ignores them.

While talking to Jay (Ed O'Neill), Claire gets a notification from Facebook that it also happens to be Mitchell's (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) birthday, so she FaceTimes him to wish him a good day. Knowing from Alex that Haley was baby sitting Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) the previous night, she asks Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell if they know where Haley is and they reveal that the last time they saw her was when she borrowed one of Mitchell's old blue suits. Lily tells her that Dylan (Reid Ewing) was there the previous night talking with Haley, something that surprises her since she was unaware that the two of them were still in touch.

Claire uses her fake Facebook profile to view Haley's Facebook page and sees that Haley has changed her relationship status to "Married". Claire starts to panic while Phil tries to calm her down, but putting the clues together (borrowed old blue suit and being with Dylan) makes her believe that Haley did get married to Dylan. She calls him but after talking to him, she knows that Dylan was to her relief, not the groom. Having no other way to find her, Claire hacks into Haley's iCloud account to track the GPS on her phone, much to Alex's dissaproval. Claire searches the address on Google Maps which shows up as a street in Las Vegas, next to a small wedding chapel. Claire panics even more and tries to think about who Haley would end up married to, but she has no details about who Haley is dating.

While talking to everyone; Mitchell, Cameron, Alex, Phil, Jay, Gloria (Sofía Vergara), Luke (Nolan Gould) and Manny (Rico Rodriguez), who reveal that Andy (Adam DeVine) has taken time off to go to Vegas for a wedding, Claire comes to the conclusion that Haley has gotten married to Andy without telling anyone. A parcel then arrives for Haley at the Dunphy household, which Phil opens. The parcel is revealed to be the book What to Expect When You're Expecting. Claire panics once again that Haley might be pregnant and after her last attempts to get in contact with her or Andy, she closes all of her FaceTime windows to open a slideshow of Haley's childhood pictures and crying while watching it.

Feeling incredibly stressed by the situation, Claire FaceTimes her Dad, seeking his wisdom and to apologize for doing the same thing as Haley when she was her age. Jay reassures her that Haley being pregnant and married might not necessarily be a bad thing since when she did it years ago lead her to have a loving family with a good husband. Jay says this without knowing Phil is also listening, who is now crying and Jay tries to take back everything he said.

Claire finally receives an incoming call from Haley, who has just woken up. It turns out that Haley was in the Dunphy's household asleep the whole time and is neither pregnant nor married; the suit was to lend to her friend who was getting married, her phone was accidentally left in Andy's car when he went on his trip to Vegas, her Facebook status was a joke about a 'Cronut' and the pregnancy book was to help her design clothes for her boss' new fashion range. The family expresses their relief over the situation as Claire pretends to lose connection and lag out of the FaceTime call, before leaving for her flight.

Main Cast

(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Joe Pritchett
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring


  • The episode "Game Changer" also contained a lot of Apple product placement.
  • Jay mentions Claire and Phil's renewal of vows from "Hawaii".
  • Haley is Facebook friends with Zack Barbie from "Flip Flop".
  • Phil mentions the time Haley was kicked out of college in "Arrested".
  • Various online ads reference previous episodes like ads
    • Croctopus IV - Phil and Claire's love of bad monster movies
    • Flipside Records - where Phil bought the record that reminded him of an old girlfriend
    • The Kilty Pleasures - dancing group that Cam was excited to see from the Vegas episode


  • This is the first episode to not feature any interview scenes.
  • Also for the first time, all the characters appear through screens rather than physically.
  • Andy's last name is revealed to be Bailey.
  • Dylan's last name is revealed to be Marshall.
  • Claire's To Do list includes "Meditate/buy wine."
  • Andy only appears in a picture and though he is mentioned and credited, he never makes physical or vocal presence in this episode.
  • This was the first episode of any television series to be shot exclusively on mobile devices.

Cultural References


v • e • dModern Family  episodes
Season 1
"Pilot" • "The Bicycle Thief" • "Come Fly with Me" • "The Incident" • "Coal Digger" • "Run for Your Wife" • "En Garde" • "Great Expectations" • "Fizbo" • "Undeck the Halls" • "Up All Night" • "Not in My House" • "Fifteen Percent" • "Moon Landing" • "My Funky Valentine" • "Fears" • "Truth Be Told" • "Starry Night" • "Game Changer" • "Benched" • "Travels with Scout" • "Airport 2010" • "Hawaii" • "Family Portrait"
Season 2
"The Old Wagon" • "The Kiss" • "Earthquake" • "Strangers on a Treadmill" • "Unplugged" • "Halloween" • "Chirp" • "Manny Get Your Gun" • "Mother Tucker" • "Dance Dance Revelation" • "Slow Down Your Neighbors" • "Our Children, Ourselves" • "Caught in the Act" • "Bixby's Back" • "Princess Party" • "Regrets Only" • "Two Monkeys and a Panda" • "Boys' Night" • "The Musical Man" • "Someone to Watch Over Lily" • "Mother's Day" • "Good Cop Bad Dog" • "See You Next Fall" • "The One That Got Away"

I was watching the most recent episode of Modern Family the other night, and thought it was funny and telling that Alex Dunphy, the token brainiac of the family, was obsessing about her college application essay.

The family was on a vacation in Australia, and Alex kept annoying everyone by trying to find life lessons and metaphors from the trip to use in her essay.

First off, what does that tell you about how these essays are becoming more and more of a national obsession? (My last post was about David Letterman’s Top 10 Ways to Make Your College App Essay Stand Out.)

To me, it says that these dreaded essays continue to rise above the other parts of the college admissions process in terms of what can either get you into a top college or keep you out.

If you are searching for the perfect essay topic, then you can learn something from Alex Dunphy: She was going about it the wrong way.

Like many students, Alex thought she needed to go on an impressive trip to a faraway country in order to have an experience she could showcase in her essay.


Most essays written about vacations or even philanthropic mission trips usually do not result in effective college app essays. The problem is that they do not reveal much about the student.

And they are dullsville to read.

By the end of the show, Alex is climbing to the top of the famous Sidney Harbour Bridge with her family—who have reunited after a lot of internal bickering—and discovering how the bridge is a metaphor for her family re-connecting.

Her epiphany was meant to be funny for a reason. While metaphors can add another dimension or insights to an essay, they often can be cliche or simplistic, or just miss the mark of the larger point.

In Alex’ case, writing an essay about her family’s trip to Australia, and how climbing a bridge together at the end symbolized the power of their closeness, could be really boring—and, well, dumb.

(If she’s not careful, I believe smartypants Alex could be the victim of The Top Student=Bad Essay Paradox, and hurt her chances to get into that Ivy she must be dreaming about.)

So how do you make sure your brainstorming efforts and ultimate topic choice are not the butt of a joke, too?

Here are three tips to make sure you land on a topic that is original, interesting and reveals who you are:

ONE: Don’t write about vacations or mission trips.

At least, don’t just relay what you did on them for your essay.

If something specific happened while you were on a vacation or mission trip, and you can write about how it affected you, how you handled it, and what you learned from it, that could make a great topic.

TWO: You don’t need to obsess about your topic, like Alex. Instead, set aside about a half hour to brainstorming ideas. Sit at your desk and jot down your ideas. Don’t rule anything out. This Jumpstart Guide is a great place to start.

THREE: Go easy on larger-than-life metaphors. For example, resist writing an entire essay on how your life is like a sailboat, or how your brain is like a video game.

It’s fine to use metaphors, similes or other comparisons to make a larger point; I would just avoid having a metaphor comprise your entire essay.

Also, if you make a comparison, make sure it’s original.

If you have heard or read it before, don’t use it. (There are other ways to give depth and meaning to your essay.)

We all relate to Alex’ stress when it comes to finding that perfect topic.

And it’s fun to laugh at her efforts.

You, too, will find a great topic as long as you spend more time brainstorming than obsessing.

And never lose your sense of humor–especially with these college application essays.




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