Wednesday’s episode of Modern Family (October 24) finally revealed the ‘significant’ death writers have been talking up since last month.
In the first few minutes of the Halloween-themed episode, Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) received a call from her stepfather to inform her that her mother, DeDe Pritchett (Shelley Long), had passed away.
Back in September, series co-creator Christopher Lloyd told Entertainment Weekly that a major character would die on the show, with the promise that the hit ABC series would deal with ‘some bigger life events’ in season 10.
“We do deal with a death, which is certainly a topic that families have to deal with, and on television, it’s not easy to do because that’s a heavy subject,” he said at the time. “But at the same time, it would seem unusual for a family not to go through it.
“[The death] will be a moving event — and an event that has repercussions across several episodes,” he added.
Lloyd said that it would be a “significant character on the series” who would be killed off, but given that DeDe has only appeared in seven episodes in ten seasons, some fans are claiming that they were misled, and assumed it was going to be a regular character on the show who died.
Calling the modern family death a “major character” was false advertising.
Jay or bust
— Jilaria (@jilaria2) October 25, 2018
#ModernFamily: We're gonna kill off a MAJOR character this season.
Me: Goes to look up who died after all the hype.
Modern Family: We killed off a character that's been on 7 episodes of a 10 season show.
Me: Let me define major character for you. pic.twitter.com/Q8yHQeaS2p
— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) October 25, 2018
bruh i was stressing about who was gonna get killed off on Modern Family and it was someone who isnt even a regular 🙃
— karen (@Karen_Maslow22) October 25, 2018
— Daniela Cruz (@danicruz2) October 25, 2018
Despite some viewers being pleased that death didn’t come calling for a main character, they still expressed their disappointment at the false reveal, with one viewer tweeting: “Modern Family has never disappointed…until tonight. The death reveal was underwhelming. It also took away from the usual shenanigans that would make the Halloween episode entertaining.”
Another wrote: “So sad about Claire’s mom, but I’m also a little pleased that it’s not a main person.”
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the show’s other co-creator Steve Levitan explained that they killed off DeDe because they wanted to “put our characters through something new and interesting and challenging” and because the death “directly affects three of our characters”.