Modern Family has been picked up for its second season in the 2010 Fall TV lineup. In honor of the occasion, the popular “mockumentary” will be celebrating with a kiss. Modern Family producers have confirmed that long-time gay partners Cam and Mitchell (played by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson) will publicly display their affection in an early second season episode entitled “The Kiss”.
Over the past several months, fans have accused the show of anti-gay discrimination and anti-PDA (public or private displays of affection) behaviors. They reject the idea that Cam and Mitchell can be in a loving, committed relationship without so much as a peck on the cheek. Opponents argue that other characters do not outwardly display their affection and that sexuality is not really part of the comedy’s appeal.
Over 13,000 people have become fans of the Facebook page, “Let Cam & Mitchell kiss on Modern Family!” Over 8,000 of those people have “liked” the campaign within the last four months. The catalyst for the controversy stems from a season one episode “Airport 2010”, which ends in straight couple Phil and Claire (played by Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen) sharing a tender kiss while Cam and Mitchell reunite with an awkward hug. Better than a slug on the arm, I guess.
The air date for “The Kiss” has not yet been released, but Modern Family producers reject the notion that the integration of a gay kissing scene on Fall TV was a cave-in to public pressure. The show’s writers and cast claim that this episode has been planned since last season, that the Modern Family story has been progressing to a natural way of addressing Mitchell’s fear of PDA, and that their actions have nothing to do with fan complaints.
In response to the criticisms, Emmy winner and straight actor Eric Stonestreet (who plays Cam) stated, “It’s a storyline. I’m glad the fans are so excited about the characters and want to see them happy. At the same time it’s an amazing gay couple on television; we need to count our blessings. Small steps.”
Gay actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (who plays Mitchell) has supported the pro-gay kiss Facebook page and promoted it on Twitter.
The second season of Modern Family premieres September 22, 2010 at 9:00/8:00 Central on ABC.
Ted Casablanca and Taryn Ryder, “Modern Family Kiss Happening for the Right Reasons.” E! Online.
Abbie Kopf, “Facebook Fans Want a Gay Modern Family Kiss.” Change.org.
Matt Webb Mitovich, “Kiss and Tell: ‘Modern Family’ Gets Set for Same-Sex Smooch.” Fancast.