It's the same-sex sitcom wedding of the century, so it's no surprise that everything is going wrong: A wedding tuxedo is locked in a closed dry cleaners, a California wildfire is headed straight for the wedding site, and a groom's mom has been detained in a rainforest with a broken hip.
Wait, say what?
Welcome to "The Wedding, Part 1," the first part of Modern Family's two-episode Season 5 finale. Wednesday's star-studded extravaganza celebrated the wedding of longtime lovebirds Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), and signaled the return of recurring guest stars Nathan Lane (as flamboyant wedding planner extraordinaire Pepper Saltzman), Elizabeth Banks (as Mitch and Cam's wild wedding officiant, Sal), and Barry Corbin and Celia Weston (as Cam's parents, Merle and Barb Tucker).
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But there was one glaring omission. Where was Shelley Long, who plays Mitchell's passive-aggressive mom, DeDe Pritchett?
Fans tweeted their disappointment with a missing DeDe:
No Shelley Long on the Modern Family wedding? NOT. HAPPY.— Joel Street (@joelmstreet) May 15, 2014
No Shelley Long but at least they have Celia Weston. #ModernFamilyWedding— Benjamin (@benbobsen) May 15, 2014
I hope Shelley Long comes. She is Mitch's mom and all.— maharani (@xlovelucy) May 15, 2014
Early in the episode, it was explained that DeDe got hurt during a hippie retreat in a rainforest: "She was at a yoga retreat and fell out of a Warrior pose and broke her hip," Mitchell explained before adding, "I am actually relieved she's not coming. She's given me the gift of a crazy-free wedding."
Sure, Mitch got a gift, but fans of the show missed out on Shelley Long's crazy comic genius as Jay Pritchett's ex-wife, DeDe, a character who's known to make a splash at weddings. This is, after all, the woman who toasted her ex-husband's nuptials to new wife Gloria (Sofía Vergara) with "I knew they were perfect for each other when I saw his wallet and her boobs."
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Long has appeared in three previous Modern Family episodes, and her character is frequently mentioned on the series. In fact, an entire episode was based around DeDe (2009's "The Incident"), and her hometown visit with boy toy Robbie Sullivan (Matt Dillon) in the 2011 episode "Princess Party" was one of the show's funniest episodes ever.
Watch a Modern Family clip featuing Long and Dillon:
DeDe likes weddings so much she even finagled an invite to her ex-husband's wedding, so for the character to be written out of her son's extraspecial ceremony makes one wonder: Did Long tell producers she doesn't want to appear on Modern Family anymore?
As for the possibility that the character could pop in as a surprise next week, it's doubtful that proud mama DeDe will show up as a last-minute wedding guest; ABC's official press release for "The Wedding, Part 2" has no mention of Long as a guest star.
Here's ABC's official description of the episode:
The wedding day chaos continues as the entire party shifts from one contingency plan to another. Guests start to get testy, Mitchell and Cameron are feeling discouraged and poor Claire shows physical wear and tear, but an unexpected turn of events leads to the ceremony we’ve all been waiting for.
Guest cast includes Adam DeVine as Andy, Nathan Lane as Pepper Saltzman, Elizabeth Banks as Sal, Christian Barillas as Ronaldo, Barry Corbin as Merle Tucker, Celia Weston as Barb Tucker, Kevin Daniels as Longinus, Michael Rupnow as Eddie, Rodriguez Rojas as Stefan, Colin Hanlon as Steven, Jeremiah Birkett as Fire Marshall, Dana Powell as Pameron, Tim True as Mr. Lucas, Matt Riedy as Howard and Deepak Ramapriyan as Cellist.
The cast hasn't commented on the glaring omission of DeDe from the wedding-themed story arc, but Ferguson recently dished on one of the other guest stars. In an interview with Parade, the actor talked about his real-life wedding to Justin Mikita and said, "Elizabeth Banks is a good friend of mine and was unable to come to my wedding to Justin and she was part of the episode as well, and she was like, 'well, at least I got to make it to one of your weddings!' It was a lot of fun to shoot."
Liz Banks is a dear friend of mine and I was thrilled to have her in this episode! #ModernWedding— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) May 15, 2014
Of course, "The Wedding, Part 1's" lack of polarizing DeDe commentary left more time for silly side story lines like Phil's (Ty Burrell) faux blindness after an eye doctor appointment — seriously, who gets their eyes dilated on the morning of a major family wedding? — and Lily's impromptu merry-go-round ride on a dry-cleaning conveyor. (Actually, watching child actress Aubrey Anderson-Emmons do physical comedy à la Lucille Ball was pretty darn funny.)
We could have done without Claire and Luke's (Julie Bowen, Nolan Gould) mother-son rowboat bonding, but then again, that scene served a purpose: Claire got to say she doesn't want Luke to grow up to be the guy who's glad his mom doesn't come to his wedding. You know, like Mitchell said about DeDe.
The Modern Family finale, "The Wedding, Part 2," airs Wednesday, May 21 at 9 p.m. on ABC.