Now that the new season of Modern Family is well underway, it’s time we took a moment to discuss the show’s newest addition: Toddler Lily (a.k.a Aubrey Anderson-Emmons).
Show creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd have wisely refrained from shining too bright a spotlight on the newest member of the Pritchett clan — possibly because she inexplicably aged two years during the summer hiatus, but who cares when the show is this good. In last night’s episode, she showed up only briefly to ask Daddy Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) for some raisins, forcing him to confront the dirty kitchen left by Daddy Cam (Eric Stonestreet).
We got our best look at Lily 2.0 in episode 2, where her hostile attitude towards a new baby drove the Cam/Mitchell plotline. She seemed like the same old girl when she stared deadpan at the camera clutching Cam’s hand while he showered but also managed to get some good lines in. “Why are you saying ‘thing’ instead of ‘baby’?” Mitchell asks, followed by a soft voice off-camera, “Kill new baby.” Beyond that episode, we’ve mostly just seen her being held by random members of the family, kicking Alex in the leg, and heckling her for kissing a boy.
Ultimately, Toddler Lily isn’t much different from Baby Lily. She’s still Cam’s favorite accessory/scapegoat — “Lily and I woke up in a French mood so we decided to whip up some crepes” — and a living set piece to add comedic atmosphere to the adorable roller coaster that is Cam and Mitchell’s relationship. The major difference between the two Lily’s — three, technically — is that Toddler Lily actually cracks a smile. Baby Lily’s best gag was how her stoic deadpan contrasted with her dads’ antics, but let’s face it, no little girl is going to stay that way forever living with Cam as a father. During his juice-fast-induced breakdown, where Baby Lilly would have merely stared unblinkingly at the camera — and owned it — Toddler Lily reminded him that she was not getting the attention she deserved, “We hided, Daddy, but you didn’t seek.”
I loved Baby Lily but I do like Toddler Lily. With a cast that includes five children — on a show that could be around for a while — aging is something we’re all going to have to deal with, and I think the showrunners have handled the transition well. They haven’t sidelined the character or shoved her in our faces either.
What do you think PopWatchers? Is Toddler Lily slowly making her way into your hearts, or were Baby Lily’s shoes just too big to fill?