Modern Family takes everyone to a few big events this week and the results are more successful than not.

First we have the Dunphy’s who are trying to curb Claire’s rough edges in time for her first city council debate. After an article in the local paper claims the local citizens think Claire is mean and angry, which is confirmed by everyone in her home, they decide to put on a mock debate to prepare her for the real thing that afternoon. The scene of the family grilling Claire at home didn’t really work for me, but when they got the group to the actual event things started to work for the better.

It’s probably no small coincidence that David Cross’ reappearance elevated the scene and the show, but the writers were able to get some humor elsewhere as well. Phil is “forced” into defending Claire and only ends up embarrassing both of them; even more so than Claire’s finger was able to. I am glad they were able to turn the Dunphy’s storyline around after not getting many laughs out of me in the early going this week. Not the group’s highest note, but a step up from last week. I did appreciate the show addressing the Claire problem they have been having this season with her very inconsistent likability. I think Julie Bowen’s performance here is the mix they need to be trying to hit with her from week to week as it keeps Claire likable, but still a little crazy too.

Jay, Gloria and Manny were regulated to mostly background here with a weak storyline revolving around the dog Stella jumping into the pool, possibly committing puppycide. Jay thinks Stella has been driven to her current state of mind by the lack of love Gloria is giving her and this leads to a few jokes of Jay giving the dog more attention than his wife.

Beyond this the trio doesn’t have much to do. It is getting tougher to watch them waste Manny with the same joke over and over again though and one wonders why they don’t want to evolve the character in any way shape or form. Does anyone really find the emasculating/older than his age jokes funny anymore? This issue is one of the most glaring ones on the show and the character is a lazy dead end of humor. Of course we find out in the end that Stella simply wanted a toy trapped in the pool filter, and Gloria had to save her in the process, all too predictable and a waste of Jay and Gloria this week.

The highlight of the episode is Lily this week and her use of the word, “f*ck.” But I am getting ahead of myself. Lily has been drafted by somebody (whose wedding was this?) to be a flower girl and things don’t get off on the right foot when her dress happens to light up. Not only is the dress a travesty to her gay Dads, but to make matters worse Lily drops the F-bomb. Hoping Lily doesn’t drop an F-bomb walking down the aisle, she is put on silent lock down and her face slayed me, she was so grumpy. To make matters worse, Cam is being a poor role model by laughing at her with each successive curse and the writers do a good job of not blowing this into a classic Cam/Mitchell fight.

Sure the little kid cursing is a cheap laugh, and they did overkill the joke in the end, but it got me laughing the first few times. Up All Night currently uses the *bleep* to the best affect on TV right now, though neither show comes close to Arrested Development brilliance with the *bleep*, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Modern Family implement a bleep or two here or there in the future. It makes the show seem a bit more real. They brought the Cam laughing at Lily bit back around with a nice laugh at the end when Lily tries to make Cam laugh when he starts crying at the wedding and I think this episode shows that the creative team really need to think about implementing Lily more into the Cam/Mitchell dynamic; they need a fresh boost and she is it.

Modern Family regains its footing after a rough outing last week and it does so by pulling out a weapon I have been wishing they used more of all year, Lily. Her cuteness is endearing and she mixes up one of the more stale elements of the show it’s just a shame that the episode put everyone else I find funny mostly on the sidelines. Modern Family has only pieced together all the pieces in a few episodes this year and they didn’t do it this week; though they are heading in the right direction again and that is worth something.

Bullets:

-I agree with the voters on Claire.

-Very spooky indeed, Phil.

-"I was a three time ring bearer."

-Ugh, I am sick of the same old Manny joke.

-"Playful eye rolling?"

-Oh, a Who Wants to be a Millionaire reference...

-"Sweet heart, why do you think I choose my side of the bed?"

-"Oh, f---." Lily!

-Loving that Cam is laughing at Lily.

-David Cross!

-"Not as sexy as feline A.I.D.S."

-The cursing joke is cheap, but I like it.

-"I know, they're too close together..."

-Luke's face to the posing nude revelation.

-What is she doing with that finger?

-"I, like most men in this town, enjoy making love to my wife."

-Who's wedding is this?

-Lily's dress, yikes, and she isn’t alone.

-"I think I'm having a seizure."

-What's with all these lights?

-"If you're not in perv jail."

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