Sometimes my Quartz stories migrate over its sister site, The Atlantic. That happened again today with yesterday’s Quartz piece about Modern Family’s brilliant Apple product integration, which was picked up today by The Atlantic.
The story got an excellent response yesterday (and this morning) from Quartz readers, so I’m thrilled that it will get new life today. And if you haven’t be sure to watch the “Connection Lost” episode if you haven’t already!
Product integration has become unavoidable in TV and film as advertisers desperately try to reach those viewers who routinely skip past commercials. And while viewers endure most of it as a necessary evil, every once in a great while, there’s a truly brilliant combination of product and program. And that what’s happened in tonight’s Modern Family, which features possibly the best product integration of all time: the entire episode is told through Claire Dunphy’s MacBook Pro, and the apps she uses to communicate with her family. As I wrote at Quartz,
In the context of the plot, Apple’s apps, and their familiar sound effects, are as much a part of the action as Claire and the rest of her boisterous family are. FaceTime, Messaging, Safari, iTunes, Reminders, iPhoto and even the iCloud all make appearances at one time or another, but non-Apple apps like Facebook, Instagram and Google also get some screen time. The result is an episode that’s incredibly effective and very funny, without ever actually seeming like an ad. In part, that’s because—surprise!—Apple didn’t pay a cent to be involved. Instead, the idea came from Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan, who co-wrote and directed the episode. Levitan was inspired in part by a FaceTime chat with one of his college-age daughters. “This came from life and it made sense,” Levitan told the Associated Press.
Best of all, because there’s no quid pro quo, the episode is devoid of the usual nonsense that accompanies almost all product placement. You can read much more about the episode, and how it validates a vow that Levitan made to me last summer, here.
While speaking with Jeff Eastin for an upcoming story about his show Graceland, I also slipped in a few questions about the upcoming final season of his other show, White Collar, which I was able to turn into this item for EW.com (my first time writing for a Time Inc. publication other than People):
“The really nice thing about six episodes is that it almost feels like a limited series,” says Eastin, whose other USA drama, Graceland, returns for its second season on June 11. “We’ve got just enough room for one really beautiful plot: What is the last adventure these guys go on?”
While Eastin has no hesitation about calling this last season of White Collar, USA hasn’t made an official announcement yet, nor has the network announced when the show’s sixth season will air.
My favorite USA show, White Collar, returns tonight for Season 5. I asked Matt Bomer, who plays con man Neal Caffrey to Tim DeKay’s FBI Agent Peter Burke, to share his 10 favorite odd couple duos from television. In this Daily Beast story, Bomer comes up with some great pairings, including a few unexepected ones like SpongeBob Squarepants duo SpongeBob Squarepants and Patrick Star:
Every parent knows SpongeBob and Patrick. I just love that it’s two fools who operate and succeed in the world through pure enthusiasm, joy, and best intentions. Regardless of how terrifying and real the world around them becomes, they tend to win out with sheer enthusiasm. And I don’t think that’s the worst message for kids to have. The writing is brilliant. I watch a lot of shows with my kids and there aren’t many that I actually enjoy sitting down to watch, but I can sit and take in an episode of SpongeBob with them.