Emmy episode analysis: Julie Bowen plays both wife and mistress in ‘Modern Family’

julie bowen modern family emmys

With eight nominees for Best Comedy Supporting Actress this year, two-time winner Julie Bowen has her work cut out for her this year. The “Modern Family” matriarch has received nominations for each of the show’s six seasons. She’s being considered this year for the episode “Valentine’s Day 4: Twisted Sister,” and she’s currently ranked third in our predictions with odds of 20/1, right behind last year’s victor Allison Janney for “Mom” (1/2 odds) and three-time nominee Anna Chlumsky for “Veep” (4/1 odds). Will Bowen nab her third trophy as Claire Dunphy, or will someone else beat her to the podium?


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SYNOPSIS: It’s Valentine’s Day and everyone is celebrating in their own way. All Claire wants is a quiet night at home with Phil (Ty Burrell), but not before having a drink at their favorite hotel bar. While waiting, Phil is greeted by his wife’s sexy alter-ego Julianna, and after three unsuccessful attempts at role play the two finally have a night to remember. But Phil might be more interested in this feisty persona than Claire is comfortable with.

Will Bowen’s performance win her a third Emmy? Let’s consider the pros and cons:


The episode provides Bowen with a wide-range of comedic moments: as Claire and her Valentine’s Day alter-ego Julianna, the actress has to be sexy, neurotic, and vulnerable in equal measure.

Bowen’s previous wins could also help: in a field of eight contenders, the vote is sure to split in various ways, and a little name recognition could go a long way.

Also, this could serve as an overall award for a show voters have never let leave empty-handed.


The show had its weakest showing ever with Emmy voters this year, with six total nominations and snubs in both the writing and directing categories. After five consecutive wins for Best Comedy Series, have voters finally grown weary of “Modern Family”?

Plus, after back-to-back victories in this category in 2011 and 2012, perhaps voters would like to keep spreading the wealth?

Emmys 2015: Complete List of Episode Submissions

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Photo: Julie Bowen in “Modern Family.” Credit: ABC/Peter “Hopper” Stone

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