It looks like the "Modern Family" cast will be taking a flight to Florida, but it won't be for fun in the sun. According to TV Guide, Phil Dunphy (played by Ty Burrell) will be grieving the death of his mother in an upcoming episode of the ABC sitcom.
While fans of the comedy hit have already met Phil's dad -- Fred Willard has made several cameos as Frank Dunphy -- Phil's mom was never seen on camera. Back in 2010, Willard joked with AOL TV as to who should play his TV wife on the sitcom.
" I thought maybe Jennifer Coolidge would be great. Catherine O'Hara," he said. "And something I also thought would be a great plot point if I separated from my wife, maybe I'd get together with Shelley Long, who made a great appearance on the show. I know Shelley. We've been friends for a long time, and I think she's just great, and it'd be great if we met and sparked a little romance. I'd take her away in my camper." (Frank Dunphy clearly likes blondes!)
The late Mrs. Dunphy was mentioned in several episodes of the series, including the 2009 holiday-themed episode "Undeck the Halls," when the fam Skyped her while wearing the ugly, itchy Christmas sweaters she sent them. Unfortunately, she never made it to the phone. When Phil asked his dad where his mom was, Frank Dunphy replied, "Mom is sinking fast … She's in the bathtub!" You can see the clip here.
While viewers' first glimpse of Mama Dunphy will be at her Florida funeral -- and that's only if it's an open casket -- the show has been good about introducing fans to all of the other characters' moms before they die.
The mother of Claire and Mitchell (Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson) has turned up on several episodes of the show, with DeDe Pritchett (played by Shelley Long) even bringing Claire's high school boyfriend along for the ride for an ill-advised (read: icky) hookup.
In 2010, Cameron's mom Barb Tucker (played by Celia Watson) paid a visit to the Tucker-Pritchett home and really made her mark -- on her son's man! Barb's inappropriate touching of Mitchell had Cam confronting his touchy-feely mom in the humorously titled episode "Mother Tucker."
And earlier this year, Gloria's mom Pilar (played by Elizabeth Pena) flew in from Colombia and descended upon the Pritchett estate after the birth of new grandbaby Joe (she calls him Fulgencio), before letting it slip that she never liked her daughter's American husband, Jay (Ed O'Neill). Mama also insisted on giving the new baby a "family name" -- as in Fulgencio Umberto.
"The initials are F.U. Pritchett, which is exactly the way it feels right now," Jay said. (They compromised with Fulgencio Joseph.)
While none of the "Modern Family" moms sounds like they'll win Mother of the Year any time soon, at least these characters have one. As for Phil Dunphy, prepare to be sorry for his loss.
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