The Family gathers to celebrate Lily's birthday, so send in the clowns...and Shelley Long and Matt Dillon

By Lesley Savage
Updated February 17, 2011 at 06:15 AM EST
Peter "Hopper" Stone/ABC

Tonight’s episode welcomed back two favorite characters from last season: Shelley Long’s DeDe Pritchett, mom to Claire and Mitchell and ex-wife to Jay, and Cam’s beloved alter ego, Fizbo the Clown. Shelley Long plays the former Pritchett matriarch pretty perfectly – with a smidge of crazy, a dash of passive-aggressiveness, and a whole lot of acid-tongued wit. Her banter with Claire felt like real mother-daughter bickering, minus the unrelenting sexual undertones, of course. DeDe did not arrive empty-handed, however. She came toting a shaggy-haired, slightly rough-around-the-edges Matt Dillon as Claire’s not-so-bright, limo-driving ex-boyfriend, Robbie. While Dillon didn’t have a whole lot to do tonight, it was fun to see him pop up in this random role, and to see him make out with Shelley Long! The big question of the night was, who was DeDe there to screw (metaphorically for her family, literally for Robbie, I guess): Claire, Mitchell, or Jay? They were all convinced she was after them – “It’s not you, it’s me,” they all said. Turns out it wasn’t about any of them; she was after Gloria! Poor, drugged-up Gloria. Who saw that tackle coming? Not me. But luckily, Phil was there to save the day, yelping, “I got Gloria, I got Gloria,” as he rolled to her rescue. I always forget about Phil’s crush on Gloria, but I love when it rears its awkward head.

Unfortunately, we had only brief encounters with Fizbo – a shoe tease here, some leftover makeup there – but we did get to see Fizbo in his British incarnation as a court jester to go with the princess theme of Lily’s party (“Methinks a court jester is right as rain”). Here’s hoping we see Fizbo another day.

This episode was packed with so many smaller clever moments, here are some honorable mentions:

–Luke trying to be “adorable” by talking in baby talk

–Alex’s aptly timed cello notes as DeDe enters the house

–Manny sipping his espresso and pushing to buy Lily a cashmere throw

–Gloria’s problem with the answering-machine beep

–Matt Dillon’s earring!

–Gloria’s bear voice while recording the story for Lily

–Mitchell to Cam: “Cue the gasp!”

NEXT: The night’s best lines

Now, on to the oh-so-many hilarious lines of the evening:

“Dad, gross, your hand smells like cheese.” –Haley to her dad after he puts his hand over her mouth

“I didn’t want to dirty a knife.” –Phil’s response

“Gun to my head, I’d say pull the trigger.” –Mitchell, after Cam asks which clown shoes to wear

“It’s 10 feet long with boxer shorts on the end; it works on so many levels.” –Cam, referring to his trick where he pulls a handkerchief out of his mouth

“Well, if the shoe fits…” –Mitchell to Cam

“They don’t; they’re comically large.” –Cam’s response

“Yeah, I read it because I wanted to see if you were on drugs. It’s called parenting, Claire.” –DeDe, explaining why she read Claire’s diary

“Well, maybe a fuzzy-navel wine cooler will open you up – sure used to.” –Claire’s ex-boyfriend Robbie to Claire

“The truth is, Luke, I am rich. But not with money – I’ve got my abs, I’ve got my hair, and I’ve got a supersweet job driving that limo outside.” –Robbie, who then has Luke measure who’s taller: him or Phil

“Do you want me to hold it and stand in the driveway?” –Gloria, when Jay can’t see the book because he needs glasses

“What kind of voice is that? A bear, I was going to get a crucifix.” –Jay on Gloria’s scary bear voice

“Every time he opens his mouth, I can feel my daughters losing respect for me.” –Claire on ex-boyfriend Robbie

“We’re all adults here…pretty much.” –DeDe, justifying her over-the-top sexual remarks in front of the kids

“Well, no more polite LOLs for you, DeDe.” –Phil, when he thinks that Claire’s mom no longer likes him

“Nomygod!” –Mitchell, in response to finding out that his mom was making out with Claire’s ex-boyfriend. And BTW, I am totally stealing that one.

“Dad, seriously, can you deal with Cheech & Chong?” –Claire, referring to a Xanax- and tequila-plied Gloria

“Oh, that’s Lily. I guess you tried to keep the outfit I sent her clean.” –DeDe, mastering the art of maternal guilt, to Mitchell

“Hey, I’ve got a code – what happens in the limo stays in the limo.” –Robbie

“You win, you win, I’m screaming at a princess party, Mommm!” –Claire to her mom

“I was wrong – every kid wants a clown for a dad.” –Mitchell to Cam

What did you guys think of tonight’s episode? Would you like to see Shelley Long as a regular? Where the heck has Matt Dillon been? Were you satisfied with the Fizbo tease, or did tonight leave you wanting more? Which lines did I miss?

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