March 24th, 2011
03:59 PM ET
I was pretty let down by Nathan Lane's appearance back in October as Mitchell and Cam's friend, Pepper. However, Wednesday's episode was a totally different matter.
Lane stole every scene he was in, especially while having drinks with his friends and surprise guest Jay, who was skipping out on going to a Vivaldi concert with Gloria and Manny. In the midst of this, Jay became more accepting of Mitchell (despite his boyhood dancing to Madonna's "Lucky Star").
Little did the hammered Jay realize that he agreed to a trip to Palm Springs, including shopping with Pepper (whose car was a character in itself). An angry Gloria refused to get him out of it.
Meanwhile, back at Mitchell and Cam's house, Haley (she of the oncologist/optometrist confusion) volunteered to babysit Lily, and - surprise! - she wasn't that great at it. For one thing, Cam's spy-cam caught Dylan there, and the guy left his shoes at their house.
It was terrific to see character actor Philip Baker Hall pop up as the scary old guy down the street. He was befriended by Luke, who told him, "Sorry I aggravated you, and just so you know, a lot of people think I'm adorable."
Luke ends up befriending him based on their love of Westerns... a passion shared by Phil: "That's my favorite type of movie – that and anything set against the backdrop of competitive cheerleading."
As one might expect, Phil and Claire made a mess of things when they snuck over to his house, but it turned out that the scary neighbor really wasn't so scary.
Once again, the show had characters getting out of their comfort zone, which is "Modern Family" at its best. It's too bad that they took pains to point this out in a voiceover, one "Modern Family" tradition I can do without.
As for the MVP of the week, I have to give it to Ed O'Neill, but, as a guest star, Lane certainly deserves an honorary MVP.
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