Modern Family: Kiss? What Kiss?

You know a cause is important when there’s a Facebook group dedicated to it. Okay, maybe not. But last night's kiss between Modern Family’s Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) was long overdue. The smooch between the show’s resident gay couple was supposed to be the centerpiece of the much-hyped episode. So what did I think about the kiss?

What kiss? No, really. I didn’t even notice the Mitch-Cam smooch the first time around—I had to rewind to find it. (Thanks, DVR.) For all the controversy surrounding the lack of first-season gay kissing, and all the self-congratulatory back-patting for finally doing it, the kiss was a half-second peck. In the background. With everyone else kissing at the same time. Am I the only one who missed it?

Now, I like Modern Family. It’s a warm, funny show, and I commend it for including a gay couple—with a child, no less. But everything about the Mitch-Cam kiss (and the lead-up) irked me. Is it nice that they finally followed through? I guess. But having Mitch be PDA-phobic was an all-too-convenient excuse for Season 1’s chastity. Not to mention the fact that many of the scenes the couple share occur behind closed doors. Why wouldn’t Mitch want to kiss his husband in the comfort of their home? The episode even included a few almost-kisses as a tease: “OMG, are they really going to do it?” Seriously? Is that where we are as a culture?

There’s no doubt we have a long way to go. But other series have been there, done that long before Modern Family: Dawson’s Creek. Degrassi: The Next Generation. Every show on HBO, ever. Just this summer, Pretty Little Liars (an ABC Family production!) showed two girls making out—and not, as is so often the case with media portrayal, to get attention from boys. I guess because it’s a mainstream, critically adored network hit, Modern Family has more to lose. But the series has featured a gay couple from day one: Was having them kiss really such a big deal?

"But this is a family comedy," you say. I agree—we don’t need to see any of the characters, gay or straight, giving each other tongue. But Mitch and Cam’s relationship isn’t just lacking kisses: Most of the time, there’s no flirtation, affection, or intimacy. For all their arguments, we see the passion between Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen). And age difference or not, it’s pretty clear that Jay (Ed O’Neill) is way into Gloria (Sofia Vergara). Do we ever get a sense that Mitch and Cam are actually attracted to each other? You can show that and still keep things PG. So step it up, Modern Family.

At least last night’s episode did include one such moment, with Mitch and Cam cuddling together on the couch. In my mind, that’s more progressive than a half-assed kiss. It shows how they feel about each other. It paints them as spouses instead of just BFFs. So before we call it a day, let’s see more of that. It’s easy to find comic-relief gay characters on TV. It’s a lot harder to find gay romance.


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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Oct 04, 2010
@stoney73 - you win the comment of the week award!
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Oct 01, 2010
I didn't actually ever see the kiss when I watched the episode either. Oh well, the cuddling was at least a big step for them.
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Oct 01, 2010
If this idiot who named himself King of the Gays (when there hasn't been exactly any action on Glee either btw) had kept his mouth shut it wouldn't have been such a big deal! The important thing is that they are credible as a couple and they act just like the other couples on the show, which they do.

Even last season I never doubted they loved each other, the rest if just the media trying to find something to say and lending microphones to morons who have an agenda and are trying to win an Emmy race by focussing on unimportant stuff.
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Oct 01, 2010
who cares?
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Oct 01, 2010
Cam's PDA was pretty in-character for him though.
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Oct 01, 2010
What did you expect? Straight couples are allowed to have lewd, graphic, semi-nude sex scenes, but when did you ever see more than just a kiss with a gay couple, even an attractive one. At least this show has a very unnactractive gay couple, which is being a bit more honest than the usual gay porn models pretending they are 'straight' in real life.
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Oct 01, 2010
I actually thought the kiss was very sweet, and very well done. I love the way Modern Family takes an issue like this (Mitch not wanting to kiss Cam in public) and turns it around (The REAL problem being with Jay and Mitch, not Mitch and Cam). To be honest I didn't even notice Mitch and Cam hadn't kissed in the first season. It only became a big deal when a facebook group started. I loved it being such a small kiss because what the writers where basically trying to say to the audience at that point was 'two guys kissing isn't a big deal', and it's not, And do you know what? It was a hilarious episode, one of the best I've seen of the show, but all it's gonna be remembered for now, by people looking for flaws, is that the kiss wasn't very long. Articles like this are only solidifying that.
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Oct 01, 2010
Really? This is such a good show, why is this such a big deal? I haven't seen any blacks, are we going to start up a facebook page for that too? I hate that our society can't enjoy anything given to them, without having to complain about it first. If you love it great, if you hate it fine, but leave it alone. The kiss didn't add or subtact anything fro the show, why get caught up in this nonsense. I'm for gay rights, but it's the complaining of little things like these that hurt the cause. Overall it was one of the greater episodes.
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Oct 01, 2010
It was the centerpiece because the PTB SAID they were holding off to make the kiss a centerpiece of an episode. It was not a media conspiracy.

GoKu and makj - people care if a show is deliberately writing their characters in a way that doesn't reflect real life. People care because discrimination occurs when people look upon each other as something less than human beings and ends when people see folks as real human beings no different than anyone else. At a time when battles for marriage equality are raging across the country, you ask "who cares?" Folks are taking to the street and the airwaves charging that homosexual marriages aren't "real" marriages. Showing a relationship on tv that looks more like roommates reinforces that notion. That's why people care, and why it's important.
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Oct 01, 2010
You said, The smooch between the show’s resident gay couple was supposed to be the centerpiece of the much-hyped episode. Only because the media made it the centerpiece. The show has always been about the relationships among the whole family, including this episode. There wouldn't have been any controversy at all it the media hadn't run with it.
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Oct 01, 2010
c'mon why do we have to turn everything into some sort of polemic issue , it's not a drama ,it's a comedy , just watch it cause its funny and not because of it's political statements or whatever
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Oct 01, 2010
who cares??? @stoney73 I agree with you xD and @makj1229 also with you! Just watch it cause its a funny show. That's it.
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Oct 01, 2010
Completely agree with this article, couldn't have said it better myself. There's no need for more obvious kissing or making out, i just want them to have more affection for each other, like a real gay couple basically.
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Oct 01, 2010
I would rather Claire and Gloria made out
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Oct 01, 2010
Who care's. Why is this an issue. The show is funny. Watch it for that reason. I don't really remember anyone kissing last season other than Gloria kissing Phil at the basketball game anyway. As sad as it may be, there are plenty of relationships out there where most of the time, there is no flirtation, affection, or intimacy. Modern Family needs to do NOTHING with their format. As for "stepping it up," if it ain't broken, don't try to fix it.
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