'Modern Family': Is Pepper Too Gay to Get His Own Show?

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Nathan Lane attends the Guild Hall: Academy Of The Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards on March 4, 2013 in NYC. (Photo …

"Modern Family" introduced a new face this week -- Gloria's much-needed male nanny (played by Adam Devine) finally made his debut -- but that didn't mean it was out with the old and in with the new. The series, which is known for its recurring cast of characters, also welcomed back guest stars Fred Willard and Nathan Lane for the episode "The Help."

It's time to plan a big fat gay wedding, and Pepper (Lane) is the idea man! When Mitchell and Cameron (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet) realized they couldn't even agree on the date for their long-awaited nuptials (Mitch worried that it might rain in April, while Cam was more worried about sweating in May), it was time to call in reinforcements. Enter event-planner extraordinaire Pepper Saltzman, who came bearing linens and place settings and invitations and stemware -- and a Spanglish-speaking assistant, Ronaldo (Christian Barillas), who he ordered to stop being "such a chatter box and go and fetch the platter box."

After showing the grooms-to-be a purple color theme complete with Willy Wonka top hats and bow ties, Pepper's storyboard presentation featured this outlandish pitch: "The idea of two men being able to marry seemed like a fantasy. So I see you riding down the purple aisle on a unicorn."

According to Ronaldo, Pepper has planned more than 50 weddings since "Proposition Ocho" overturned, and he's exhausted from searching for new ideas. "Gays are so nitpicky," the assistant explained. "In a straight wedding, you just have to please the bride. But the gays have such strong opinions. It takes a toll on a great artist like Pepper Saltzman."

Pepper's eventual emotional breakdown had him admitting, "I've done 53 gay weddings, and none of them are mine."

Since 2010, Lane's flamboyant character has turned up in four episodes of "Modern Family." And while he may be named Pepper, he's definitely salty -- and that could be why we may never see the character headline his own show. While most "Modern Family" fans have welcomed the union of Mitch and Cam with open arms, what do they make of their BFF's outlandish behavior?

Of his party-throwing character (in addition to wedding planning, Pepper has passion for extravagant themed brunches), Lane has said, "The story of Pepper, I haven't really built anything around that other than he obviously is very rich. He's got a lot of money. He lives very well. I'm sure there's a spinoff somewhere on Pepper."

In 2011, Flavorwire named Pepper on a list of Minor TV Characters Who Deserve Their Own Spin-Off ("We find Lane's character, and his bizarre fêtes, fascinating and would love to spend a whole half-hour with him every week," the pop-culture site dished), while Entertainment Weekly went so far as to give a proposed Pepper series the name "A Dash of Pepper."

Still, while Lane has been nominated for two Emmy Awards for the role of the Pepper Saltzman, last month Deadline reported that ABC is considering a spinoff for a lesser known "Modern Family" alum -- loud-mouthed realtor Gil Thorpe (played by Rob Riggle).

We're wondering if Lane simply wasn't available, or if America (and nervous network execs) aren't quite ready for a flamboyant, golf-loving lead who says things like, "I like big putts, and I cannot lie."

Watch the "Modern Family" episode "The Help":

"Modern Family" airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

More from this contributor:

'Modern Family" Spinoff: Can Gil Thorpe Carry a Series?

Did 'Modern Family's' Mitch and Cam have the Best TV Proposal Ever?

'Modern Family' 100th Episode: How TV Shows Celebrated the 100-Episode Milestone

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