Karen Neal/ABC

An old car, a 'princess castle,' and Angela Lansbury inspired some of last night's funniest zingers

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September 23, 2010 at 04:30 AM EDT

Oh, how I’ve missed my favorite TV family. And what a perfect welcome home episode we received to kick off the second season: Mitchell got trapped in a princess castle, Luke threw up, Phil jumped on the hood of a moving vehicle, and Gloria almost drop-kicked Manny’s love interest.

In addition to all this action, we learned a lot about the family tonight. First, we discovered that Phil is a surprisingly good salesman, as he managed to find a buyer for the Dunphy garage ornament/ancient station wagon, a Griswold-esque number that brought out the softer side of Claire (never underestimate sentimental value). I said “buyer,” by the way, but that doesn’t actually mean a sale went down.

Second, we learned (not surprisingly) that Mitchell isn’t terribly handy when it comes to building, well, anything. As Cameron put it: “Every home-improvement project we’ve undertaken has been a near-death experience.” In this case, he was trying to execute “every father’s dream” by building a princess castle for Lily. In the process, he almost shot Cameron and Jay with a nail gun, violently pruned the roses, and best of all, turned said castle into a prison for himself (on more than one occasion). And don’t even get me started on the bird… Combine tonight’s proceedings with last season’s pigeon fiasco, and it’s pretty clear Mitchell has himself a case of ornithophobia. Here’s hoping Jay doesn’t fire up The Birds on some future movie night.

Lastly, and possible best of all, we saw that Gloria has a little problem with letting go of her Manny. When the smooth grade-schooler’s love interest of the moment, Kelly, tried to stake her claim — refusing empanadas! challenging Gloria’s chocolate milk-making skills! — we saw the jealous fire in his mother’s eyes, and heard her Columbian accent grow thicker with rage. How amazing was the binder exchange?

Manny: “Kelly’s moving her stuff into my notebook.”

Kelly: “It just felt right.”

It’s these subtly clever moments that won Modern Family its Emmy as Best Comedy Series. Ditto for Cameron reading trashy tabloid magazines to Lily. “If I have to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar one more time, I will snap!” he hissed. Did anyone catch the Lindsay Lohan reference?

Now onto what you’ve all been waiting for, the best lines of the evening:

NEXT: The leading cause of death among Colombian women — now in punch line form!

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Parents just don’t understand… and neither do kids or spouses in this hit ensemble comedy
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