On Wednesday night, Modern Family finally revealed which character would be killed off: Mitchell(Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Claire’s(Julie Bowen) mom, Dede Pritchett, played by Shelley Long. There was a lot of hype leading into the season after co-creator Christopher Lloyd, said it would be a “significant character.” After revealing at the very beginning that the significant character was Dede, fans had mixed reactions.
Though Long didn’t appear in the episode, a doll with Dede’s likeness was there to haunt Gloria(Sofia Vergara) in some of the funniest scenes in the show. There was also a voicemail from Dede that Claire played at the end in which Dede struck a rare conciliatory tone.
“Hey, honey. It’s mom,” Dede said. “I just want to apologize. I should not have lost my temper. Shaman Phoenix Feather's family-planning advice may not be for everyone, and you just want to keep your daughters safe. I get it. I have a daughter of my own, and I know how much she means to me.”
But the show wasn’t going to say goodbye to Dede with a sappy voicemail. They let Dede go out staying true to her character. Before Claire begins to end the voicemail, Dede says, “Also, I saw your new photo on social media. Are you part of some protest where you’re not allowed to wash your hair? Or are you just trying to be…”