Well, the Dunphy kids tried their hardest, didn't they? Alex, Haley and Luke all tried to outwit their mother in the emotional manipulation department, but Claire's got too many years and too much guilting experience to lose the war with them.
That was the best part of what was one of those episodes that was good but could have been better. Usually when the family gets together like this it's comic gold, but for some reason this week didn't reach those usual heights. But it's one of those things that's hard to put a finger on; it could be that most of the plots were a series of funny events in search of an ending, but it was mostly because they simply weren't as funny as they could be.