Modern Family: Season 3, Episode 18 “Send Out the Clowns” (B+)
This show has done a great job so far of featuring big-name guest stars and not having them detract from the plotline, instead enhancing it. Cameron’s clowning past is an occasionally-referenced immensely humorous plotline, and I enjoyed seeing his former partner Lewis, played by Bobby Cannavale, who won the Emmy for playing Will’s cop boyfriend Vince on “Will & Grace,” appear following Professor Ringmaster’s funeral. It’s hard to decide whether their synchronized performances or their physical fighting was more entertaining. The line of the night came from Cam: “We finished each others…balloon animals!” As always, Mitchell’s sarcastic reactions to everything were amusing as well. Phil’s rivalry with Ellen Barkin’s cutthroat broker Mitzy was funniest because of how Phil tried to counter her, getting his spy pen snatched before hatching the perfect plan to have Luke spin a sad story to melt her heart. Claire’s obsessive need for her daughters to be her friend on Facebook predictably backfired as, once again, they were exposed to some of her less commendable adolescent behavior. The montage of Manny’s door opening greetings was the highlight of that plotline, though I like how Jay initially though that cool kid Griffin Cooper only wanted to be friends with Manny because of him, and it turned out to be Gloria and her body that enticed him. Gloria’s test was brilliant, and I liked Manny’s unexpectedly positive reaction, as he revealed that he too was only using his new friend to get to the relative he had a crush on.