I’ll admit that I haven’t been keeping up with the new episodes of Modern Family as well as I used to. I don’t know if it’s because I think that I’m too busy (I’m not), if the show isn’t as good as it once was, or if Parenthood is better, but it just hasn’t been grabbing my attention as of late. That is, until HuffPo noticed that the internet was aflutter with tweets wondering why the show decided to tear a storyline from Seinfeld and not even try to hide it. Then, of course, I was all ears.
The episode in question is last night’s episode, The Help, which was about Mitch and Cam trying to hide the fact that they went behind the back of their wedding planner and friend, Pepper, because they like the way that his assistant, Ronaldo, plans nuptials. Since they know that Pepper, who’s known for his hysterics, will overreact, they spend the episode doing everything that they can to keep him from finding out. Now, if you’ll take a time machine with me back to 1993 when Seinfeld’s The Barber episode aired, that’d be awesome. Please don’t touch anything, as you might cause a Butterfly Effect that will result in you not being born, which would be less than ideal, to say the least. Anyway, Jerry experiences that exact situation, except with his regular barber and his barber’s nephew. Same exact.
You could probably have an argument that lots of people pay homage to earlier works, which is true and could have been the case here. After all, Seinfeld is a huge part of TV history. And there’s also the possibility that it was genuinely a coincidence and that no one over at Modern Family realized the similarities. Those are both things that you could argue, but then the little devil on my other shoulder will just tell me to not listen to you because the two episodes just feel so similar. It’s just so hard for me to believe that the Mod Fam writers just happened to think up the “person feels like they’re cheating on the person they hired because they liked someone else’s work better” storyline without one person thinking, “wait, where have I seen this before?”
And, while I doubt that Jerry Seinfeld and the Seinfeld writers will take a break from rolling in their mountains of cash to care all that much, I think it ends up coming off as a little desperate on the part of Modern Family. If they’re going to boast that they’re pushing TV boundaries and being innovative all day long, then maybe put their money where their mouths are and take note of ideas that are so dangerously close to episode ideas from 20 years ago. Seriously, guys, what’s the deal with that? *Ba dum tss*
(Photo: ABC via IMDb)