Alex in "Phil On a Wire"

Alex in "Phil On a Wire"
Alex in "Phil On a Wire"

Monday, September 29, 2014

“Upside/Down(side)” - “Do Not Push”

Even though this is the second (consecutive!) episode with a somewhat Alex-centric story, it's basically the first time we get to see how her senior year unfolds, as she attends her first college tour at Cal Tech (along with the rest of the family). So what am I hoping for/hoping not to see this week?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

“Cruel Summer” (“The Long Honeymoon” Recap)

Well, that was a mixed bag.

“Upside Down(side)” - “The Long Honeymoon”

Basically what these “Upside/Down(side)” posts will be are what I think will be the best case and worst case scenarios of how certain episodes play out. Usually, we can expect what actually happens to fall somewhere in the middle.

I will not be doing this every episode for a simple reason – most of the episodes will not have press releases/spoilers that give any indication what role (if any) Alex has in them, and the upside/downside scenarios are obvious:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

“You've Got To Keep Your Mind Wide Open” (First Impressions: “Do Not Push” - Season 6, Episode 2)

Well ABC finally released details about the second episode, and I tried to post a link to the SpoilerTV article that contains it (it's part of a lenghty daily news report) but I can't seem to get the "a href" tag to work today*.

Anyway, it looks like the dance of where Alex ends up starts next week:

”And, the Dunphys head to Caltech for Alex's college tour and while Claire is busy convincing her to choose this school and stay close to home, Phil, Luke and Haley branch off to participate in a psyche experiment.”

So Caltech is in play, for now, but given she wants to go east, would Alex try to do something crazy to get herself removed from consideration before she even applies? Of course, with the rest of the Dunphys off probably doing something wacky on campus, she might not need to...

Normally, I'd really be excited about this episode's potential, but I have a sneaking suspicion the other half of the Dunphy story might overwhelm Alex and Claire's half. We'll find out in 8 days.

*EDIT: OK, let's try this.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"There's not much going on today..."

I'm really surprised we've not had any details about "Do Not Push", the second episode of the season (no press releases that I know of, and while the episode shows up in my DirecTV box guide there's still no plot descriptions listed).  Not that I have a high expectation for it (other than the fact it should be the back to school episode so Alex should have something to do) since there's already an Alex story for "The Long Honeymoon" and I doubt they'll give Alex big stories in back-to-back episodes (for now, anyway).

The only thing I can take from the promo commercial for the premiere is that the story probably won't have a particularly serious tone (OK, there's only one scene shown and it involves a typical "Clumsy Phil" moment so there is still margin for error in that prediction).

Oh, and I'm developing a bad case of writer's block trying to come up with that "Under Pressure" post I keep saying I'm getting to.

On the bright side, this mini-update does give me a chance to quote a line from an Avril Lavigne song ("He Wasn't") in the title (and it won't be the last time...).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

42

OK, so this post won't be about the question of Life, The Universe, And Everything (and those mice would surely have been better off picking Alex's brain instead of Arthur Dent's), but I will make some guesses as to answers to some of the questions about Alex's upcoming year. So let's do this:

1. Will Alex graduate from high school?

OK, on the surface, this is very much a question with a “Duh!” answer – she's in at least the top two in her class – how does she not graduate? Well, of course I think she will, so my answer is Yes. On the other hand...

If this were real life, I'd have about 99.999% confidence in my “Yes” answer. However, since this is fiction, I have to downgrade my confidence to a mere 99%. There is always the chance of something happening for the sake of suspense (especially in the next-to-last or last episode of the season), such as a surprise failure in a critical final exam (like what nearly happened to Richie, Ralph and Potsie on Happy Days), or maybe Alex gets implicated in a cheating scandal.

I think one of these scenarios could crop up near the end, but I think it will all get straightened out (Alex gets to take a “last-chance” make-up exam and/or gets to clear her name of any accusations).

2. Will Alex be valedictorian?

This one's more of a toss-up. Right now, just as in junior high, it's basically a two horse race between Alex and Sanjay Patel, her constant rival. Alex won out four years ago, thanks to an ill-timed robot incident that befell Sanjay. I'm pretty sure she can't count on that happening again.

Still, I think the answer to this one will probably be Yes as well, since I think we're going to see some sort of closure to what happened in “See You Next Fall”, where Alex was talked out of giving a scathing valedictorian speech by Haley. Since she's going to be separated from most of her classmates after senior year, this time she may feel even stronger about taking some parting shots, since there's less chance of ending up a “social piranha” (Haley's words, not mine :) ). I think someone will talk her out of it (Mitch, being the smartest of the rest of the family, reminding her about potential networking issues down the line is my best guess), leading to what I hope would be a more serious but still positive speech than the last time.

One alternative scenario could crop up where she is not valedictorian but still gives a speech: She runs for and gets elected Senior President. Of course, given her lack of popularity with her classmates this would be difficult if she attempted it.

3. Where does Alex end up going to college?

Obviously, this is the biggest question of the season, and the one with the most implication for what the show does with Alex next year and beyond (barring of course the 1% possibility of question 1 being “no” kicking this can down the road to Season 7).

As I pointed out a week or so ago, Alex is considering going to an eastern school, and her parents are not going to be happy about her going far away from home. If Phil and Claire can talk her into staying close to home, there are schools in Southern California (e.g. Cal Tech) that have the academic prestige that Alex wants. A compromise option would probably be Stanford up north – I once calculated it would be about a 5 ½ hour drive from there to the Dunphy house (at normal freeway speeds – given it's Alex doing the driving it would probably take longer). Alex would probably not want to do that on a weekly basis but monthly might make this palatable to both her and her parents.

Right now, my guess is that Alex goes to a local college, since that keeps her on the show on a weekly basis. If she goes east, she''ll probably be written out of the show, except for an occasional holiday appearance. If she goes north to Stanford, we probably see her at home about once a month or so, with the potential for the remaining episodes for them to go a similar Skype-like route that they used during Haley's brief stint in college in Season 4. That scenario would also keep open the possibility of an episode or two with an on-campus story for Alex (well, I suppose they could do both of these as well if she goes east, but I think that unlikely – they could also conceivably use her campus life as a spin-off show, but while I'd love to see such a show that's even less likely).

4. Will Alex get a steady boyfriend this year?

Sadly, I think No. There's already going to be Haley and Andy's on again/off again relationship, and Manny's going to be getting a steady girlfriend this year (and may just drag Luke into getting one as well). It would probably be overkill for Alex to join this party this year, but hopefully she'll at least get a date or two (including hopefully one to senior prom, and hopefully this time they make more of a story out of it than they did with “Baby On Board” - but that's a rant for another day).

5. But what about just getting a friend or two (either gender) – will that happen?

Unless she befriends Sanjay, probably not. I just don't see this happening either.

That's all for now – if a press release comes out for the second episode (“Do Not Push”) today I'll probably comment later.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Are You Happy Now?" (First Impressions: "The Long Honeymoon" - Season 6, Episode 1)

ABC sent out their press release with the synopsis for Modern Family's season opener (generally, they release it about 2 weeks prior to airing, and a website called "Spoiler TV" usually posts it right away - this episode's is located here).

Wow! It looks like things are getting real for Alex right away:

"This summer has been exceptionally blissful in the Dunphy house, Alex is away on a humanitarian trip and the rest of the family is getting along swimmingly, but when Alex comes home, there is an immediate shift in mood."

While this story may or may not have long-term implications with regards to how Alex's studies go this year, it has the potential to be a big start to her season. At the very least, my anticipation level for the opener just went up about ten-fold.

Obviously I'll have more to say as we get closer to the opener in just over two weeks.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Life Imitating Art?

Ariel tweeted this photo today which looks more like something out of Alex's notebook - YIKES!

(Actually she sent a second tweet in which she said she was in pre-calc/trig class so Alex already went through that, probably 2-3 years ago, but still...)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

“'Cause I'm The King Of Wishful Thinking...”

So we know that this sixth season of Modern Family has the potential to be huge for Alex, between her senior year of high school and just where she will end up going to college (not to mention her continuing struggles to get a boyfriend, or any friend for that matter...). But just how deep of a storyline will her senior year be?

Right now I know of one spoiler: In a TV Guide article at http://www.tvguide.com/special/fall-preview/PhotoGallery/2014-Returning-Fall-Shows-1084772/1084803 , it is revealed that Alex is hoping to go east (presumably Ivy League) for college, and Phil and Claire won't be happy about it. Neither is a surprise - we know from “Australia” that Alex was already working on her application to Harvard, and in both “See You Next Fall” and “Schooled” we've seen Phil and Claire be clingy when it comes to their kids leaving home when they grow up. What we don't know is will this be just a single episode story (as most of Alex's stories end up being), or will this play out for a longer term? Hopefully it's the latter.

I really, really, REALLY hope that Alex's senior year becomes a focal story of the season. I'm not particularly optimistic of this, given that the series has never really given Alex an ongoing (multiple-episode) story (admittedly, the same could be said of the other kids on the show). On the other hand, this means she's overdue for one...

So what else do I want to see this season? First of all, while obviously Modern Family will continue to mainly be a sitcom, I want Alex's senior year stories to take a more serious tone like was done with her in “Under Pressure”. That's not to say I don't want to see Alex rifle off her usual repertoire of snarky and sarcastic comments when she's in someone else's story – I just want them to keep it real when she is the focus. And I want tears in my eyes/a lump in my throat at least once or twice.

The closest they have come to a continuing Alex story is her dynamic with her academic rival, Sanjay, but we've never seen him on-screen. I'd like to see a more extended story about this rivalry. Who knows – maybe Sanjay could be that elusive steady boyfriend that Alex has hardly ever had? Or, more likely, we might see one throw the other under the bus in their battle for valedictorian.

I'll probably think of more things later in the week – I really shouldn't do this while watching Sunday Ticket.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"I guess there's your answer..."

OK, so for about 99.9999% of us, I'd say the answer to the blog title is no.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about what's going on here.

As you've probably guessed, this blog is going to be about the wise (and wise-cracking) young kid of Modern Family, Alex Dunphy. Most of the posts will be thoughts on the upcoming episodes (before and after airing) as they pertain to Alex, although there will be posts looking back to previous episodes (e.g. at some point I am so going to make a ton of comments about “Under Pressure”, the best single episode of a television series I've seen in at least 20 years, if not longer), and I'll have some other deep (and not-so-deep) thoughts about Alex sprinkled in from time to time (these may not all be pretty – there are times when Alex gets the short end of the stick both within the family and the show itself, and there will be some ranting about them).

Generally I'll keep comments about Ariel Winter, the highly talented actress who plays Alex, limited to how she portrays Alex (impeccably 99.9% of the time) – this will not be a blog discussing what Ariel does outside Modern Family unless there is a highly compelling reason to do so.

So, 3 weeks to go until Opening Night – over the weekend I'll post some of my thoughts as to what I hope Alex will be up to in Season 6.