Thursday, September 22, 2011
"Modern Family": gay dads, mountain scenery, potential sibling jealousy, a little bit of everything
I took a look at ABC's “Modern Family” (started 2009, 2011 season restarted Sept. 21) last night, having vaguely heard about its sweeping at the Emmy’s the way the Nationals swept the Mets last week -- and maybe the Phillies today. I’m not much for two separate half-hour episodes; it gives the show a “Will and Grace” effect.
Of course, the obvious hype would come from the male couple Mitchell and Cam (Jessie Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet). They do not fit the stereotype of “mutual admiration of male perfection” so visible in gay discos. Perhaps that’s refereshing.
In the premier this season, the families go to a dude ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (could Dick Cheney be far away?), where the guide promises to make them work for their vacation. In high definition, the gray (not blue) Tetons rise like an outfield wall, almost with a 3-D effect. (The episode is titled simply "Dude Ranch"). You wondered if the characters would do a mountain climb and found it hard to believe it could take 12 hours or so. Even the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado doesn’t rise this suddenly from a plain. (As an aside, Keith Meinhold, a former Navy sub hunter known for his fight against the military gay ban even in the days before “don’t ask don’t tell”, once told me about climbing Mount Rainier in Washington – and they get you up at 2 AM the second day. Would that make good material for an episode here?) Mitchell was challenged enough to ride horseback; you probably wouldn’t see him at a gay rodeo in Dallas.
The episode has Mitchell reaffirming his own “masculinity”, especially by stunts like blowing up a bird house. That's vandalism.
This particular episode didn’t get that much into their role as a male couple as parents, raising an adopted Vietnamese baby, Lily (discussion here)
In another subplot, a particularly "cute" but straight ranch hand Dylan (Reid Ewing, from "Fright Night") tries to propose marriage to a guest, and the humbling proposal goes bust, very publicly. But the actor is an eye-popper. He actually fits the modern gay "stereotype" much more than the two openly gay male characters.
In fact, the second half-hour ("When Good Kids Go Bad") was more domestic and “indoors” where the possibility of an adopted sibling for Lily is explored (more discussion here) .
When I was about nine, my parents mentioned the possibility of adopting a sister for me (an only child), but that never happened. But the memory trace was stimulated.
Here is ABC’s site.
PrimeTime Emmys has a YouTube video of the “Outstanding Comedy Series” award to “Modern Family.”
Wikipedia attribution link to p.d. picture of Tetons. I visited the area in May 1981.