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Why Last Night’s <I>Modern Family</i> Was Season 3′s Best Episode Yet

There was buzz throughout the blogosphere yesterday that Lily would drop an F-bomb in "Little Bo Bleep," and the rumors were true... for all intents and purposes, anyways. While her foul little mouth seemed to make the Dunphy-Pritchetts crack up, I thought it was actually the weakest plotline in a very strong episode of Modern Family -- even if you include all of the times Cam had to immediately leave the room to giggle. I've been working off the theory that a great episode of this show will have lots of Claire moments and a Cam-Mitchell storyline that doesn't involve them bickering, and this venture definitely supports it. Here are the best components in what just may be the best episode of the season so far:

Stella's Suicidal Tendencies
Modern Family already sweeps pretty much every award shows, but if there was a "Best Use of a Canine" category, it would absolutely take that prize, too. Stella jumping in that pool, reaching her paw out and swimming with a doggie vest was adorable and hilarious. Maybe dog suicide isn't as sexy as feline AIDS, but it certainly makes for better TV -- as does watching people jump into the pool fully-clothed to rescue the little pup. I also loved this storyline because it didn't revolve around Jay simply caring about Stella more than Gloria, revealed Manny's love of couponing and brought out the sarcastic sides of the pool-jumpers. (Answers to why they went in fully-clothed: "Because I'm self-conscious about my body!"; "I wanted to take a little swim before going to the wedding!") Most importantly, I'm just glad Stella's alive and well, as she still has so much left to smell.

Dunphy Family Fun
Gathering the Dunphys around to point out every bad mannerism of Claire's? Simply genius. The highlights for me were definitely Phil's interruptions and the debate that broke out about which side is Claire's less flattering angle. While I didn't love the actual wedding at the end of the episode, it did spawn a great line about Phil walking Haley down the aisle -- "If [he's] not in perv jail" -- that definitely added to the pure family moments.

Bailey below the Belt
Bailey (David Cross's character) may not have a whole lot more to him than being a likable public figure who is obsessed with dogs, but it worked fine in "Little Bo Bleep," and not just because it revealed that the only real thing he's done during his time in office is allowing private parties to have more than eight pups (though that little fact did allow for Luke to say, "Talking dogs? I'm skeptical.") What I really loved about Bailey is that he brought up Phil's unfortunate Valentine's Day exposure from Season 2's "Bixby's Back," which grounded the show in a certain reality that it sometimes lacks. In case you're wondering: Yes, "Public Access Pervert" is now a real YouTube video. I don't blame Cam for it being his "new favorite show."

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