Modern Family Preview: Clive Bixby Is Back - And 'It Really Is Not Pretty'

In what is shaping up to be an annual tradition, ABC’s Modern Family this Wednesday welcomes back “Clive Bixby,” role-playing Phil’s debonair alter ego. But does the speaker salesman extraordinaire still got game?

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“The writers were feeling like this is something we could easily bring back, and it’s something we love doing,” Ty Burrell tells TVLine. “Luckily we have Valentine’s Day as a built-in reason.”

Last year at this time, Clive met “Julianna,” Claire’s own role-playing persona, at a hotel bar. In short order, the “strangers” hurried upstairs for an impromptu assignation… only to be waylaid by an escalator snafu. We won’t spoil what transpires this second go-round, but suffice it to say, “Things go kind of smoother, and then… no,” Burrell reports.

Watch a video clip from this Wednesday’s episode, then read on!

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Are Clive and Julianna as naughty as always? (We – and the Dunphy kids – ultimately learned that their first encounter involved, ahem, baby oil.) “They certainly try to be,” Julie Bowen tells us. “They certainly try to be. But if they got away with it, it wouldn’t be a comedy. It’d be an NC-17 movie.”

Still, you can expect to see Clive at one point “wearing nothing but a pair of socks and a champagne bottle over his genitalia. And apparently he’s gotten harrier,” Burrell reports, somewhat chagrined. “It really is not pretty…. It’s a lot of hair.”

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Bowen says that role-playing around again was “stressful,” though for only the best reasons. “It was such an iconic episode for me last year, and I loved it so much,” she effuses. “We’ll have to see the final cut to see if we topped ourselves, but I think that ‘Clive’ certainly did.”

And the good news for Modern fans? Says Burrell, “We’ve already talked about doing it again next year!”

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Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9/8c, now leading into the ABC comedy Mr. Sunshine, starring Friends‘ Matthew Perry.