"Planes, Trains and Cars" didn't have the strongest plotlines, nor did it add much to any character's story arc (unless we get to know this little Olivia who's crushing on Luke), but it was overall an enjoyable episode with a great emotional core. The one issue I really take with it is that Andre (Kevin Hart, making his second Modern Family appearance) is the same character we've seen on all of the failed sitcoms of the past season -- particularly Man Up!. I love the dynamic between Phil and Claire, and adding a character who points out how whipped Phil is while living in fear of his own wife weakens the balance between the Dunphy parents, making it hokey and less realistic. I also just really hate Hart (it all started at the 2011 MTV VMAS) so I'm sure that doesn't help anything. Anyway, let's cartwheel in and take a look at the best lines of the episode.
"I used to imagine the wind blowing through my perm, blasting some Hall & Oates, maybe horsing around with my Mr. Microphone..."
The one exchange I did like between Andre and Phil was when Phil looked back on his misspent youth, and completely weirded out Andre. Maybe the "husband buys an impractical car on a whim" has been done a thousand times, but I'll forgive it, thanks to Phil unintentionally offending the car saleswoman.
"This is just like last year when you wouldn't take off those skinny jeans."
The Dunphy kids didn't get to talk much, but when they did it was pretty hilarious.
"This had happened in the air, we wouldn't be in the air. We'd be in Rock & Roll Heaven!"
I don't buy for a second that Gloria, a woman who cannot recall the word "helicopter" would be able to make such a quick-witted reference to the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. It's a shame, too, since it was a really funny line.
"You know, when I met you, you were eating cereal out of a bucket."
Manny was great in this episode -- he hit his jokes well, looked adorable in his fedora and gave the closing reflection speech well. Jay, however, out-did him in terms of hilarity ("So what do you say? Anybody up for a hobo adventure?!") and Ed O'Neill acted the hell out of his scenes. Gloria obliging to be a trophy would have probably bothered me if he hadn't sold his character so well.
"Really? You don't know Nemo? It's on an endless loop in the den."
This was just painfully accurate. I'm glad that if we had to sit through an episode of Cam and Mitchell bickering, there were at least a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. I've never heard of anyone taking the subway in Los Angeles, but if it meant that we could see Mitchell interacting with the home-challenged man, and learn Bunny has a boyfriend (Awww!), I'll go with it. And how funny was Cam sleeping with his eyes open?
"When did we stop coming to the beach?"
"I think it was when Alex started putting out water quality reports."
"She'll be China's problem soon."
I was at first annoyed that they went quite so conventionally sitcom with Claire losing her keys, though seeing here desperately digging for them and then collapsing was one of my favorite comedic moments of the season. And her and Phil holding each other on the beach totally tugged at my heartstrings. I have a feeling I won't really remember the big details about this episode in coming months, but at least it had a few nice moments like this.
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