‘Modern Family: Planes, Trains, and Cars’ Review

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Planes, Trains, and Cars was far from the funniest episode of Modern Family, but it had a lot of the heart that made us fall in love with these characters to begin with.

Unlike most episodes this season, we got three focused stories involving the three core families, each of which delivered on some level even if the laughs were few and far between. This week saw the Dunphy’s get a new car, while Jay and Gloria had to travel to a get-together with his old high school buddies, and Cam and Mitch lose one of Lily’s toys on the train.

The Dunphy’s story was really nice as Phil bought a new car without Claire’s approval. But instead of the typical sitcom wife gets annoyed plot, we actually got a really touching story about their family as Phil discovered why driving around his kids is so nice and Claire rediscovered some sense of freedom. Watching them do cartwheels on the beach together was both cute and funny.

Cam and Mitch had a funny story this week, even if it was a little too over the top (maybe it’s just me but no one put up flyers for my lost stuffed animals). A homeless person coughing into the toy at the end was a nice touch but overall this part of the episode only worked in portions.

The worst story this week was Jay and Gloria’s. It just felt like a complete rehash of things we have seen already. There were a few decent moments though like Gloria’s screaming about the helicopter and Jay telling Manny that when he first met him he was “eating cereal out of a bucket”. But other than that this plot was pretty weak.

Planes, Trains, and Cars is hardly a bad episode of this show, just one that lacks a lot of the humor we know the writers are capable of. This kind of reflects how season three has been as a whole. But maybe that will change next week with an episode set in Disneyland! (7.5/10)

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