Quick spoilers for tonight's "Modern Family" coming up just as soon as I explain that this conversation never happened...
Having proved last week that the show could come up with different configurations of its large cast and still be funny, "Modern Family" jumped another important hurdle tonight, by showing that a prominent guest star could come in without overwhelming what's already working.
Shelley Long makes sense both from a genetic standpoint (I buy her as the mother of Julie Bowen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, even more than I buy Ed O'Neill as their father) and from a professional comedy standpoint. She fit in well with the cast, doing what so much of "Modern Family" does, in taking a relatively familiar sitcom character or plot (in this case, pieces of both the smug New Age type and the controlling mother type) and making it feel fresh and funny. And her presence showed us new sides of both Claire and Mitchell, and gave Bowen something to play besides scolding Phil.
Mostly, though, I just love the little throwaway moments, like Manny stroking his fake goatee, or Phil making sure to be on top of Gloria whenever the opportunity arose during the fight, or the montage at the end of all the characters being unable to get Dylan's inappropriate but catchy song out of their heads.
Good show. Very, very good show.
What did everybody else think?