My name’s Vlada Gelman and I’m the intern here at Entertainment Weekly‘s LA bureau. Since Michael was too lazy to fly out and there’s something called snow in New York — don’t worry, he’s got plenty of TV and Snapple to keep him company — I’ll be bringing you highlights from some of the panels at this year’s Paley Festival. First up is America’s favorite new sitcom, Modern Family.
Tune In Alert: The audience was treated to a screening of next week’s episode, which revolves around the theme of fears. Phil and Luke go on a treasure hunt underneath the house, but get more than they bargained for. It’s not pretty down there. Haley attempts to get her driver’s license for the third time, while Claire hilariously struggles to teach Alex how to dance in the parking lot. Meanwhile, Mitchell and Cameron invite their daughter’s pediatrician over for brunch, which devolves into “every gay father’s nightmare.”
Most Popular: Funny guy Ty Burrell earned the biggest applause from the audience. Sofia Vergara also got a cheer for not playing the typical golddigger and proved to be very popular among her coworkers. In addition to getting praised for her comedic skills, Burrell joked that “we Google her everyday.” “I’m Googling her right now,” Eric Stonestreet added. She also got some gentle ribbing from costar Julie Bowen when she said the key to being a successful comedic actress was not being afraid to look like a fool. “When do you look like a fool?” Bowen asked. “Does fool in English mean the same that it means in your language? Fool means beautiful lady?”
More spoilers: Bowen recently filmed a scene at the Grove shopping plaza in Los Angeles, in which she gets into a brawl with a security guard. Fred Willard will return as Phil’s father, but he’s not the only one lining up to guest star. Co-creator Steven Levitan said some ridiculously famous people expressed interest in appearing on the show at the Golden Globes, but they don’t want to overdo it and would like to focus largely on the talented cast.
Funniest Moment: Stonestreet demonstrating the transition from Eric – guy-like scratching – to Cameron’s signature walk. Where does he get his inspiration for the excitable Cameron? His mother!
Cry Baby: Little Lily, who is played by twins, has come to love her TV dads Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson so much, she wouldn’t cry in a recent scene. The solution? Find a scary looking guy who works at 20th Century Fox. Stonestreet and Ferguson have come to love her too and now vie to hold her.
Dance Partners: Both Phil’s pilot dance and Claire’s dance from the upcoming episode are just the tip of the iceberg. Burrell filmed a crunking scene in case the show couldn’t get the rights to High School Musical, while Bowen had a longer, choreographed number involving something called a “muffin jump.” DVD extras, please?
Action: Will Mitchell and Cameron ever show some physical affection for each other? Stonestreet said they’re too busy raising a child, but if the show goes on for many more seasons, it’ll happen “in due time.”
On the Set: The Modern Family kids are no slackers between scenes. They write a newsletter on set for school. Burrell called Nolan Gould’s movie reviews Faulkner-esque, while Bowen described Rico Rodriguez (Manny) as pretty blunt.
Most Wanted: Director and co-executive producer Jason Winer was told by a friend that every pilot breakdown this season is looking for a Julie Bowen-type who’s beautiful, hilarious and all-American.