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Two Gay Men and a Baby

One of my favorite television shows aired this week, ABC’s Modern Family. The half-hour comedy series is done as a “mockumentary” that follows three families: Jay who is married to a woman much younger than himself and has a preteen son: Jay’s daughter Claire, the homemaker wife and mother of three children; and Jay’s son Mitchell, who has adopted a Vietnamese baby (Lilly) with his domestic partner Cameron.

Modern Family’s Season 2 premier set a TV record with 12.6 million viewers watching; it was the highest-rated show among adults that night, according to Nielsen ratings. The show has new and loyal followers for various reasons. For some it is the comedy writing for which the series lays claim to three Emmy Awards. Others (according to news gossipers) are tuning in to watch Colombian-born actress Sofia Vergara, who is well endowed—something the producers have no problem playing up. But for me, I first took notice of Modern Family when I knew it would have a storyline about two gay men and a baby in an average, although alternative, family lifestyle.

Usually whenever you have men raising kids it’s about the mishap adventures of their juggling bachelorhood and fatherhood after the arrival of someone’s secret love child. Remember Three Men and a Baby; it was the biggest box office hit of 1987. It was followed up in 1990 with “Three Men and a Little Lady” sequel.  Believe it or not in the works is another installment, Three Men and a Bride, as baby girl is all grown up.

Maybe we will be so lucky that Modern Family stays on the air for eight seasons, long enough for Lilly to become a tormenting teenager to her two loving dads. There has been some controversy—or more of a campaign—to get more intimacy between Mitchell (played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson who is openly gay) and Cameron (played by Eric Stonestreet who is straight and who also won an Emmy for best supporting actor).

Let Cam & Mitchell kiss on Modern Family!” Facebook page sprang up last May, drawing a lot of complaints, criticism and most of all media coverage. The issue came to a head after last year’s episode “Airport 2010,” when Claire and her husband Phil kissed passionately next to Cam and Mitchell who simply shared a hug.

Even Ryan Murphy, the openly gay creator of Fox TV’s breakout hit Glee, chimed in on the Modern Family gay kiss debacle, calling out the lack of physical affection between the couple. “Don’t they have a child?” Murphy said at the Television Critics Association Press Tour. “That’s ridiculous to me. I don’t understand it.”

What I don’t understand is how Murphy can call out another writer-producer when his gay character in Glee, Kurt, was the only kid at school not dating and the one time he did try to make out it was with a female cheerleader to try to please his dad. There is a rumor that new cute blond footballer, Sam, will lock lips with Kurt this second season. But let’s see if the duo last as loving boyfriends for more a few episodes or an entire season.

There is also some talk as to Murphy having two Glee cheerleaders (Santana and Brittany) kiss—they’re supposedly bi-sexual. But isn’t this so “girls gone wild” or didn’t we see this seven years ago when Madonna tongued Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on the MTV Video Music Awards. Will Brittany and Santana likely end up in a serious lesbian relationship. I doubt Murphy has the balls for that one.

I actually like Glee; it’s another one of my top TV picks. But it just seems to me that Murphy may have a case of “hateration” especially after Glee got beat out by Modern Family at this year’s Emmy Awards.  I give credit to Modern Family’s writers and creators Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, who happen to be married straight men, for what they have done thus far with the gay storyline.

Cam and Mitchell’s relationship takes away from the stigma and stereotype that the only reason gay men want to adopt children is because they are pedophiles. Their relationship also beats the gay men—straight women TV dynamic à la Will and Grace, the NBC hit sitcom (1998-2006).  Will and Grace interacted more like a couple and Jack and Karen’s sexual interludes, constant kissing and touching each others buttocks, dominated most episodes. Jack and Will kissed only once on the show as a stunt. But for eight seasons there was gay identity but hardly any gay intimacy on Will and Grace. I am all for gay intimacy on television. But I also want to see healthy—or pseudo healthy—gay relationships.

Cam and Mitchell come across exactly as they should—a modern day family in America. And yes, there has been a big announcement in media circles that the two men will finally kiss on the September 29th episode (tune into ABC on Wed. at 9 pm).

There are prone to be some conservative Christian groups in an uproar over two men kissing on network television. These are the same folks that don’t dare get on their moral high horse about all the premarital sexual activity occurring on daytime soap operas—prime after-school viewing.

My hope is that “the kiss” becomes a natural, ongoing part of Cam and Michell’s affectionate relationship and not a one-time media stunt to silence the FB family.    ~Carolyn M. Brown

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