When the hit series Modern Family went on air in 2009, most of the hype centred around the Gay couple, Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet), who were occasionally shown together in bed, cracked jokes at their own expense, and flaunted every possible stereotype. But they never kissed. As a result, a fan-generated backlash erupted, claiming that the absence of physicality between the pair made the show homophobic.
My thoughts on this initial furore were:
1. This is not ‘Queer As Folk’.
2. Modern Family is, in part, an attempt to ‘normalise’ homosexuality, so the rule of ‘slowly catch the monkey’ applies, because there is a lot of heterosexual ground to gain here — introducing a loving, grounded gay couple on television who adopted a baby… well, for many people that’s already a lot to swallow.
Since those early days, Mitch and Cam has become one of the best loved couples in television history. Now, less than a year after a US Supreme Court ruling effectively legalised gay marriage in California, Mitchell and Cam finally, after many speculation — will they, won’t they? — are tying the knot… So, it looks like those moaning Mollies will get their kiss after all…
Not surprisingly (with those two nothing is ever clear-cut), they will take a tortuous route — spanning two episodes — to reach wedded bliss. Commenting on the scale of this two-part season finale, co-creator Christopher Lloyd said: “The scope of this is much bigger than anything we’ve ever done. It features 22 speaking parts, 19 shooting locations and a cast of thousands.” Guest stars include Nathan Lane as Pepper and Elizabeth Banks as Sal — friends of the couple, each of whom has a role to play in the wedding — and Barry Corbin and Celia Weston as Cam’s parents, who are having their own marital issues.
Lloyd added: “I think that, as with many of the episodes we tell about Mitch and Cam, people will relate to it not because they’re gay, but because they are people facing a domestic situation that straight couples and gay couples alike face all the time. They’re anxious about their wedding day.”
And with good reason, because they have to get a wedding tuxedo from a closed dry cleaner, juggle multiple venues and escape a California tradition, wildfires… to mention but a few of the obstacles standing in the way of their happily ever after. By the time more than five dozen wedding guests crowd into the couple’s living room, wedding planner Pepper Saltzman (Nathan Lane) laments: “Why do good things happen to everyone but me?”
The story will resonate with all same-sex couples in at least one way. Mitchell and Cam, who have long lived together and are bringing up a daughter, Lily, is a reflection of many enduring Gay and Lesbian partners who only recently have had the opportunity to get married. There are a lot of LGBT people who have established families that they’ve raised together… and now that it’s legal for them to get married in countries like the UK and some states of the US, having a marriage ceremony is the last piece of the puzzle.
The first episode of this two-part wedding event aired last night (14 May) and part 2 will air next week on May 21 as the season finale… Four words: Not To Be Missed! When Micth and Cam got to the part where they exchange their vows, I guarantee there will not be a dry eye in the house… because these two people, who have shared so much of their lives with us (albeit fictional), finally gets to declare their love.