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Modern Family – Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans

Why did Phil and Claire stop going to the beach? What happened when Phil bought a new sports car without consulting Claire? Does life happen to you while you’re busy making other plans?

- Season 3, Episode 21 - "Planes, Trains & Cars"

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” This week’s installment of Modern Family titled “Planes, Trains & Cars” seemed to echo that sentiment as it was all about the journey of life, with its many unexpected twists and turns along the way. Whether it was Phil ruminating about a spontaneous sports car purchase that wasn’t practical for his everyday needs of transporting his three children around to Jay reflecting on how much he had changed since his glory days to Cam and Mitch dealing with Lily losing one of her favorite stuffed animals on the metro, travel and speed bumps of various kinds were the central themes of the night.

One of my favorite moments of the episode was the scene in which Phil and Claire are sitting on the beach reflecting on when they stopped going to the beach, the implication being they had once frequented it as a young, starry-eyed couple in love. In a show that’s usually known for being funny, it was a really beautiful moment of tenderness and meaningful reflection. At some point, we’ve simply got to grow up and take on our responsibilities, and yet, we don’t want to lose that link to a simpler, carefree time in our lives such as a day of turning cartwheels on the beach.

I loved that they decided they were going to start making an impractical day at the beach part of their monthly routine, even if they had to lie to themselves and the kids that they were going to be out running errands. As a person who refuses to grow up completely, I routinely seek ways to make myself feel like a kid again. Maybe we should all rediscover ourselves and our priorities like Phil and Claire did, for life’s journey is passing us by and it’s up to all of us whether or not we want to be a passenger or in the driver’s seat for that journey.

In my opinion, the best quote this week came from Manny, as he was sending flowers to the hotel’s concierge at the end of the episode: “They say the important thing in life isn’t a destination, it’s the journey. The challenges you face along the way. The unexpected twists and turns. The disappointments you overcome. But they’re wrong. It’s all about the destination, especially when the destination is your amazing oceanfront hotel.”

This review is dedicated to all those who’ve ever been rained on with their tent flap left open on a camping trip and were forced to sleep overnight in their car while it dried out. To those left feeling alone and stranded an extra night in a strange city with only the spare change in their pockets because their flight was unexpectedly cancelled until the following day. To those who’ve ever driven hundreds of miles and when you finally decided to stop to rest in the middle of the night you discovered there was no room in any of the inns along your way. To those who’ve ever driven cross-country to discover your amusement park destination was closed before you even got there.

With the exception of that last reference to the Griswolds, those were all true vacation stories that happened to me. But even with all of those little mishaps I’ve encountered along the way as the Charlie Brown of vacationers, I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything. Those are memories, people. They are the legendary tales you pass on to your kids or regale your friends and work colleagues with at parties. My life journey may not be perfectly planned, but it is uniquely mine and that’s all that’s important.

Speaking of memorable journeys, the Dunphys are headed to Disneyland next week! Who else besides me is excited?

Memorable Quotes:
Phil: “What do I have to do to get you to ask ‘what do I have to do to get you into this car today?’”

Mitchell (about Bunny): “He who tossed it lost it.”

Phil: “Oh, I wanted a car like this since I was a kid. I used to imagine the wind blowing through my perm, blasting some Hall & Oates. Maybe horsing around with my Mr. Microphone.”

Andre (guest-star comedian Kevin Hart): “You never see a person on their death bed saying, “I wish I’d been a little more practical.’”

Andre (to a reluctant Phil about purchasing the sports car): “Maybe we should find you something with a little more lumbar support. With you not havin’ a spine and all.”

Mitchell (about Cam’s Bunny poster): “It looks like Lily’s missing and we’re offering $25 to get her back.”

Mitchell: “Missing: Stuffed bunny. Brown and white fur … sympathetic eyes. What are sympathetic eyes?”
Cam (looking at Mitchell): “Not those.”

Jay (talking about the helicopter): “It’s either this or we’re in the motel.”
Manny: “I don’t like the sound of that. A lot of amenities disappear when an h becomes an m.”
Jay: “You know, when I met you, you were eating cereal out of a bucket.”

Phil: “I was bummed not to be in my new cool car, so I wasn’t joking around with the kids like I usually do. But you know, there’s something about driving your kids around. You’re in the front, they’re in the back. They forget you’re there. You learn so much. You’re like Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist … except gorillas make less noise chewing.”

Mitch: “You know, once when I was a kid my dad left my Luke Skywalker doll on an airplane and I was so…”
Cam: “Wait, which Luke? Shorty robe or dress black?”
Mitch: “Shorty robe.”
Cam: “Oh, my.”

Phil: “Alex is teaching herself Chinese so she’ll be useful when they finish buying us.”


Photo Credit: ABC

2 Responses to “Modern Family – Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”

May 8, 2012 at 9:56 PM

I couldn’t agree with you anymore. This episode was so beautiful.. and i love Manny’s quote.. looking back my life and i started to think that life is a journey and just like he said “the important thing in life isn’t a destination, it’s the journey. The challenges you face along the way. The unexpected twists and turns. The disappointments you overcome and of course the destination too.
You did a great review!!! thanks alot

May 9, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Aww, thanks! :)

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