Ahead of this season of Modern Family, the show's creators had been teasing a significant death was on the way for the Dunphy-Pritchett-Tucker clan, and that moment came to pass during Wednesday night's Halloween-themed episode of the ABC comedy.
Warning — spoilers ahead!
During the episode, Claire (Julie Bowen) got a call telling her that DeDe (Shelley Long) — her and Mitch's (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) mother and Jay's (Ed O'Neill) ex-wife — had passed away suddenly in her sleep. DeDe had served as a supporting character on the show since its first season.
Some viewers were upset about the death.
Since I had no idea anyone was slated to take a dirt nap this season-I was sufficiently shocked & saddened by DeDe’s demise. This is why they call them spoilers...they literally spoil everything 🤷🏾♀️ #ModernFamily— EbonyAngel (@ebonyangel2k) October 25, 2018
"R.I.P. #DeeDee... I’ll miss your character more than anyone else," wrote one fan.
Another noted that the show still gets them "right in the feels."
modern family still gets me right in the feels every time— Kang 🥕 (@2k18cloned) October 25, 2018
While many were pretty miffed that the death had been teased as significant, as they didn't feel DeDe was a major character.
One person noted they would have been more upset if the family's dog had passed away.
#ModernFamily really trolled everyone with that "significant death" I would've been more upset if Stella died.— Lex (@alexis_olita) October 25, 2018
Some wondered about the writers' definition of "major character."
#ModernFamily: We're gonna kill off a MAJOR character this season.— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) October 25, 2018
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
The show's co-creator Steven Levitan told The Hollywood Reporter that the writers decided to tackle the topic of death this season because it's one they hadn't extensively covered on the show before.
"We gather [with the writers] at the beginning of the season and talk about the big arcs and things that we want to have happen — the milestone moments," Levitan said. "It occurred to us that death is a giant part of the family experience and while Phil (Ty Burrell) had lost his mother in a previous episode, we've never seen the entire family have to deal with such a loss. It seemed like an interesting thing to have happen."0comments
Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo Credit: ABC