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"Princess Party" is the fifteenth episode from Season 2 of Modern Family, it aired on February 16, 2011.

Plot Summary

It's Lily's birthday and Mitchell decides to invite his mother, much to Claire's dismay, and dis-invite Fizbo, much to Cameron's dismay. Things get even more out of hand when DeDe shows up with Claire's old high school boyfriend, and Jay and Gloria each turn to their own unique methods of dealing with this gathering of misfits.

Episode Description

Claire is at a full boil already, and Phil is going to stop it before it starts. Her mother, DeDe, is coming to town, and Phil wants the kids on their best behavior. Alex will just play the cello in her room, and Luke has pages of cutesy material to roll out to help Claire. But Alex playing the theme to Jaws was so apropos, as DeDe comes in...with Claire's high school boyfriend, Robbie Sullivan. Turns out DeDe invited Robbie to dinner at Claire's, and to Lily's Princess Birthday Party, and didn't tell Robbie that Claire was married. He actually has to meet Phil for the evidence.

To back up a bit, Mitchell and Cameron are throwing Lily a Princess-themed birthday party, and somehow Cameron thinks Fizbo would be perfect for it. Naturally Mitchell disagree. Understandable, because one of their friends was going to be in Chicago, and Cameron thought that meant the musical.

Fizbo still wasn't invited, though. Jay and Gloria bought a children's book for Lily (turning down Manny's suggestion of cashmere) where they could record their voices. After much effort, and Manny's assistance with playing the baby bear, they got it. Although Manny thought he would have done a better job had he known the baby bear was a girl. (JAY: I think you nailed it.) But Gloria was hesitant about going to the party since DeDe was going to be there, and their last 2 meetings (including the wedding) were disasters. Gloria hoped Jay wasn't too upset.

JAY: (in interview) GREATEST! NEWS! EVER!!!

In fact, he even thought the same technique would work to get him out of the communion of their friend's daughter. Until Gloria decided she wasn't going to let DeDe dictate when and where she could visit her family, because she wanted to see the kids' birthdays and graduations (and all of Haley's weddings).

Mitchell shoots down the "court jester" angle Cameron thought up for Fizbo. Then he hits Cam/Fizbo with the fact he hired a princess for the party. Cameron is going ballistic, but Mitch tells him to act like a parent for once.

As DeDe regales Claire's kids with stories of Claire sneaking in at 3 in the morning with Robbie, which Haley loved, Claire relied on Phil's technique of squeezing his hand under the table rather than getting ticked off at her mother. He might have broken a few fingers on this one. Ordinarily, Claire liked roller coasters, but not this one. Phil thought the night was about DeDe wishing Claire married Robbie instead of him. However, they catch DeDe making out with her limo driver, Robbie. At least Phil's off the hook.

The party was a disaster. And within the first five seconds. Cameron eyed the princess like a stalker, DeDe was AWOL but left notes about her good time with Robbie, and Gloria decided to take in the party with some Xanax...washed down with a shot of tequila. DeDe showed up with Robbie and Cameron berated the princess for breaking character after he hounded her for methods of payment. Mitchell thinks it's about him for DeDe not staying over, Claire thought it was about her and her ex-boyfriend, and Jay thought it was about him and having a younger wife now. And the well-medicated Gloria wondered why everybody was having a bad time at a party. Well, since DeDe criticized Lily's wardrobe and Robbie put Mitchell in a headlock and gave him head noogies like he did when they were kids and Gloria was practically making out with DeDe, there might have been an issue or two.

Claire confronts Robbie, who confesses he always had a crush on DeDe (while he was dating Claire) and was fulfilling his fantasy. And Robbie misinterprets that as Claire still wanting him, which he tells DeDe...and she's ticked!

This results in Claire screaming at DeDe saying "I'm screaming at a princess party Mom, I'm screaming at a prince--"

Phil stops Claire and tells Robbie to leave, but Robbie refuses because he thinks the princess likes him. Then Jay intimidates him into going, and he does. And Gloria playfully hits Jay with a balloon. On the good side, Mitchell gives Cam the green light to break out Fizbo.

MITCHELL: I guess every kid needs a little clown for a dad.

CAMERON: Oh, you just made a little girl so happy!

MITCHELL: Yes, I can see that.

DeDe was almost crying in the corner because she gave in to the attentions of a younger man. Jay waves it off, but it went deeper than that. DeDe left to find something better and still hasn't done it. But Jay said he didn't have the guts to end the marriage when it needed to be.

DEDE: I just don't want to be thought of as 'crazy Nana.' I think my real problem...IS HER!!!! (attacks Gloria)

So it was about Jay. And once again, Phil's got Gloria. But Lily did like the book. The recording in the book, where Jay drinks and says Cam's going to return it anyway, not so much. (Cue gasp).

Main Cast

(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker

Guest Starring


  • DeDe reappears from "The Incident".
  • Cameron reappears in the persona of Fizbo the Clown from "Fizbo".


  • DeDe starts wearing glasses.
  • Since Alex was absent in "The Incident", which was DeDe's first appearance, this is the first time that they share scenes together.
  • The third episode in which a character celebrates his or her birthday, and the first for Lily.

Cultural References

  • Alex plays the Jaws theme on her cello, coinciding with the suspense when DeDe surprises Claire from behind.