Sorry you feel that way Tuc. I know lots of guys who are just like Cam and lots of guys who are just like Mitch. We can’t be expected to represent every gay person. We can only represent these two people. Also, Mitch is basically a version of me…so I never know how to take it when people say that he is stereotypical. And in defense of Cam, I still can’t figure out how a clown & football coach who also happens to be gay is a stereotype. When all is said and done, it’s a family sitcom. I feel our writers do a fantastic job of servicing 11 characters each week in just 22 minutes. I am incredibly proud to play Mitch and I have a lot of pride in our show. As a closeted kid of the ’80s I would have loved to have had a show like Modern Family to watch with my parents. It would have meant a lot to me to see who I secretly was reflected on television. TV has come a long way and it continues to forge new ground. I am thrilled with the work that you did on Desperate Housewives. It opened the door for shows like ours and hopefully we can hold that door open for many more shows to follow us. At the end of the day we can’t please everyone..and we shouldn’t try to. Kinda just like life, right? Take care. Jesse Tyler Ferguson.”
— Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson responding to out actor Tuc Watkins‘ Facebook post in which he wrote about the series and said “I have a hard time laughing at the gay guys. In fact, I kinda cringe. It feels a little bit like the gay equivalent of ‘blackface.’”
H/t Greg In Hollywood
Tuc Watkins seems to have a serious case of externalized internalized homophobia.
When I found out Cam or Eric Stonestreet was in fact straight, I couldn’t believe it. I was so sure he was gay. He’s an incredible actor if he managed to go under my Gaydar. That being said, these two characters do well to represent the community, they love each other and have an amazing family, and I’m honored to be represented by these two incredible actors. Modern Family has opened the door for many young people like myself to come out of the closet and have people accept us. My mom watched the show a few times and it allowed her to open herself up to the idea of having a gay son. I’m ever so thankful for the creation of this show, and I hope it goes on for at least a few more seasons!
A side note, Jesse Tyler Ferguson was chosen to star in the comedy Buyer and Cellar but his TV gig conflicted so the role went to Michael Urie. The rest was history. The show was a smash hit and Michael Urie was brilliant.
Looking back at Ugly Betty, sure one could say Michale Urie also portrayed a stereotypical gay role, but dammit he was good in that role. He didn’t write any of that material, but he really took it somewhere. http://youtu.be/qNlyeqXXNc0?t=1m20s
So dumb. People need to learn to laugh at their own stereotypes.
I know Modern Family is the show that made my family surprisingly accent me. When I came out to my mother she mentioned how we can be like “modern family”
Uhm, honestly, I sort of agree with Watkins. In part because I feel as though 99% of the jokes about those characters stem from the fact that they are gay. You’re not laughing at how funny they are, you’re supposed to be laughing at how “gay” they are.
Maybe it’s less Blackface and more Uncle Tom. The message is “Look, guys! Gay guys can be innoffensive, unagressive, meek, and average-looking!”
The more daring thing to do would be to have a character who’s gay and just witty or just ridiculous for other reasons, not because they want to dress their daughter up as every gay icon in Hollywood (which actually happened in the show).
The reality is that portrayals of gay men in overdramatic, highly-strung roles seem to bring the most laughs in sitcoms. Look at Sean Hayes’ character on Will and Grace vs. Eric McCormack’s character and who got the most attention and the most laughs. Look at Tuc’s own character in Desperate Housewives vs his more high-strung husband on the show and Tuc’s character was lost in the background. That’s television. That’s ratings. Tuc should realize that.
Tuc’s comparison to blackface is completely erroneous, though, and he certainly doesn’t come off as intelligent in saying it.
@Tookietookie123: So Eric Stonestreet is a good actor. What really pisses me off is that he never misses an opportunity to remind everyone that he’s straight. I’ve seen him interviewed on TV several times and he always makes a point of telling the world that he’s straight. I think that’s the definition of homophobia. “Yes, I play a gay on TV, but I’m not one in real life.”
I get Jay and Gloria as a couple, I get Claire and Phil- I don’t get Cam and Mitchell- they seem to have NOTHING in common, constantly exasperate each other and snipe all the time- love the show, but it doesn’t seem like gay guys are writing their parts- it can be a little stereotypical.
@jwtraveler: What definition of homophobia is that, under the “grasping at straws” version?
@VampDC: “accent” you??? You should stop relying on predictive text so much.
Why is it that gay men aren’t allowed to be offended by anything without being called self-loathing? yet transgendered people can whine if anything isn’t 100% ideal into fitting into what they want? Gay men who think Mitch or Kurt Hummell are stereotypical are called self-hating, but its okay for transgendered people to send Kate Pierson death threats for daring write a “trans anthem” because she doesn’t know the trans experience not walking in those shoes (even though gay men love it when Cher, Gaga, Madonna, etc… pander to us). It’s bs… trans, blacks, women, etc… can all stand up and cry foul if they dislike a form of representation, but gay men are supposed to take everything in and suck it up.
@nf0603: I tend to agree it’s like we have to accept, like/love , and support something/one just because it’s gay. I think Cam is one of the worst gay characters ever he’s like 90% of every horrible stereotype rolled into 1 character that we apparently have to support or something is wrong with us.
@TriForceKid1013: Best example IMO would be Kurt from Glee. He is textbook gay blackface, gays are supposed to love him or else they’re self-loathing, but yet black people have gone to bat over negative stereotypical representation… I know, there are some people out there who are like Kurt, there are also black people out there who eat watermelon, but yet THAT is a negative representation and the African American community worked overtime to suppress that sort of stereotype (even though some of the hip hop stereotypes are just as bad, but that is another thing), but god forbid a gay people find a gay representation on television to be offensive.
sanfranca1, regarding VampDC..you need It to stop bitching about non-important issues. It is obvious he meant Accept. When one act like a snob,the only people you impress are those not worth imprsesing.
I don’t like Modern Family. It comes across as anti-gay. The stereotypical scream queens played by Jesse and that other guy are just ridiculous. I also don’t like the Hispanic stereotype.
The other clue regarding the homophobia of the show is the almost total lack of physical affection shown by the guys.
@nf0603: “there are also black people out there who eat watermelon, but yet THAT is a negative representation and the African American community worked overtime to suppress that sort of stereotype…”
Whites made eating watermelon into some kind of negative connotation/stereotype! Watermelon is an exceptional fruit of NATURE that Whites enjoy just as much.
Stop being lazy and ignorant and try to use educated comparisons other than Blacks for a change!
Any gay idiot that calls Mitch and Cam “gay blackface” has probably never seen (or read) “the Celluloid Closet”
And why is that the Chelsea/WeHo types like Tuc that get so friggin bent out of shape over gay men that aren’t cardboard cut out step ford homes.
Oh yeah, “masc” power bottoms usually can’t deal with queens.
Well, blackface comparisions are unfair, but Mitch and Cam are typical stereotypes for sure.
I know people praise Eric a lot but i knew he was straight the moment i watched the show, because he plays Cam the exact way most straight people think gays are. He is good enough to make the character likeable, and both actors benefit of a well written show, in other case it would be a disaster.
Anyway, i think it’s not that problematic now as it was in the past. As Jesse say there are a lot of people who fit the stereotype and fortunately there are a lot more gay characters on tv (some of them portraying different stereotypes, some of them far from what people think a gay man is).
In my opinion most minorities suffer from the same problem. People generally think of blacks, but the truth is blacks are well represented at least in the music business, so you can find a lot of different people. Latinos and asians on the other hand are underrepresented and sometimes their character are nothing more than the stereotype. The stereotype itself is not bad if the actor and the writing are good enough to give the character more layers
My issue with their characters is that they simply aren’t written well. I don’t mind that Cam is more effeminate than Mitch, in fact I think that it’s great that they represent a part of that spectrum of diversity in the gay community. But then the writers will throw this storyline at them where they’ll glue a wig onto a baby’s head because they’re trying to make them look like a 60s starlet. There’s no problem with them portraying these gay guys as having an odd obsession with 60s starlets. Hell, a lot of gay guys do. But most of them wouldn’t do something as incredibly stupid and bumbling as those characters on the show do. I hate how Mitch and Cam are always portrayed as bimbos. And it’s not just bad for gay people, it’s bad for guys who are more effeminate, because it backs up the old mentality that if you are a guy who is into girly things, that makes you the butt of the joke. I wish they could be portrayed as serious characters, like every other family on the show.
@nf0603: “Why is it that gay men […] who think Mitch or Kurt Hummell are stereotypical are called self-hating, but its okay for transgendered people to send Kate Pierson death threats.”
Ugh, no, it is not okay for trans people to send Kate Pierson death threats.
And as for your comparison with black people, get over yourself. There are harmful stereotypes and harmless ones, and as a presumably intelligent person you should be able to make that distinction. If you disagree, can you please tell us exactly what is harmful about the Mitch and Kurt characters?
If there is anything harmful about the show and others like it (like Blackish), it is their insouciant portrayal of a rich bourgeois family as normal, as if most of the country weren’t struggling economically.
@Pistolo: “I feel as though 99% of the jokes about those characters stem from the fact that they are gay.” How is that different than any of the other characters on the show?
99% of the jokes about about Jay stem from the fact that he’s a sugardaddy.
99% of the jokes about Gloria stem from the fact that she’s a young sexy Latina with bad English.
99% of the jokes about Lily stem from the fact she’s an Asian sociopath.
99% of the jokes about Haley and Luke stem from the fact that they’re dumb.
And so on.
ALL of the characters are big stereotypical caricatures. And that’s what makes them hilarious!
@1898: Exactly. Couldn’t have said it better.
I have news for Tuc and his apologists: We, which is to say gay guys, can be real characters! Stop being so humorless and learn to laugh at yourselves on occasion.
The thing is that Watkins is right. Of course Ferguson isn’t going to bash his own show, so take his retort with a grain of salt. Both characters are token gays and are completely written as such, right down to the lack of any physical affection. While I find Mitch to be tolerable the character of Cam is the exact interpretation of a straight man playing a screaming queen, to the point where he is nothing more than a caricature 80% of the time.
It’s pretty much the reason I stopped watching the show. I got sick and tired of seeing them slowly devolve into token stereotypes and the butt of the jokes instead of evolve into real-life portrayals of real gay men. It’s even worse when you look at their circle of friends, who are even worse stereotypes and caricatures than they are.
Nice justification. Now explain why Eric Stonestreet, the hetero actor, is masculine-acting while Cam, the gay character, is a mincing little queen.
omg you guys it’s a COMEDY. It’s meant to be funny and ridiculous and unrealistic. Look at all the outrageous characters and situations and stereotypes that took place on “Seinfeld.” It was all a bunch of crazy foolishness meant to make people laugh, and nothing more. This show is no different.
I do agree that it would be nice to see Cam and Mitch in bed together or walking around the condo wearing only towels or something else that conveys the idea of them being intimate — as is done with the other couples on the show — but that is my only complaint. The characters of Cam and Mitch make me laugh my ass off and I wouldn’t want that to change. Laughing is the whole point!
@1898: There is a difference between laughing AT them and laughing WITH them. I have found as the series has progressed it’s become more of the former and less of the latter, which I, like Mr. Watkins, find to be highly distasteful.
And the lack of intimacy is a HUGE issue, not a minor one.
@vive: I haven’t watched enough Modern Family to judge Mitch, but I did watch enough Glee to know that Kurt is the embodiment of every homophobic stereotype about a gay person. It’s like they polled a bunch of homophobic jocks and asked them why they hate gay people. Kurt is no different than a black person who is illiterate and eats watermelon and fried chicken. Kurt was depicted as a predator who hooked his dad and Finn’s mom up just so he could be closer to his crush, ya know… the fear straight men have that gay men really want in their pants. He is always depicted as “one of the girls” because you know, gay men really are just women with penises (and in that case, trans people should complain about that too since they will find anything else to whine about). Plus find any stereotype about gay men and they’ve applied it to Kurt by this point, I’m really surprised he hasn’t had the storyline where he considered a sex change… they’ve dressed him up with every other stereotype towards gay men.
But oh, we’re supposed to accept Kurt because “representation is representation” even though he epitomizes every reason people in 2014 still hate gay people. If transgendered people can get upset over the tiniest thing, why can’t get gay people complain about some of our biggest television characters? Kurt is no different than Amos N’ Andy, a show about black characters played by black actors that the NAACP successfully removed from reruns.
Modern Family is a silly comedy which pokes fun at gay men while pretending to be pro-gay.
People are never happy. Either the character is too gay or not gay enough. Which gay stereotype would please everyone? If they show the bearded over the top macho gay, it is still a stereotype. Sitcom characters are caricatures. They always have been.
I was going to ask where is our own very gay equivalent of wearing black face? -I’d have thought he’d be all over this.
Then I saw Jason Smeds had already posted.
@nf0603: “But we’re supposed to accept Kurt because “representation is representation” even though he epitomizes every reason people in 2014 still hate gay people.”
Really? Religious fundamentalists, conservative authoritarians and puritans of all kinds hate Kurt because he’s swish?
And they can be won over – how? By making him a rugged good ol boy who, you know, just happens to like it up the shitter?
You didn’t think that through did you.
@nf0603: “I’m really surprised he hasn’t had the storyline where he considered a sex change… they’ve dressed him up with every other stereotype towards gay men.”
Over the top to make your point? Kurt isn’t the ONLY gay character on the show and never was there are several representing the diversity of the LGBTQI communities especially as teenagers.
Kurt has EVOLVED as a character as he became an adult with hardcore life challenges and TAUGHT so many fathers what it looked like to parent a gay child! Kurt’s boyfriends were not effeminate like himself nor would they be.
The guy who was his main bully he challenged, supported, and helped the bully become a man.
I'm Black, and HIV-Positive.
@Saint Law: This article is actually about you fag? Scared to say me by name? Coward! Ha ha ha!
I'm Black, and HIV-Positive.
@Saint Law: “Really? Religious fundamentalists, conservative authoritarians and puritans of all kinds hate Kurt because he’s swish? And they can be won over – how? By making him a rugged good ol boy who, you know, just happens to like it up the shitter? You didn’t think that through did you.”
Can you just please shut the everloving fuck up yet you sexless, lovelorn homophobe? You just offended everyone here on this site, and you even made up a new derogatory gay slur to boot. Swish? Tell you what: Why don’t you go the fuck back to the zoo where you came from you dimwitted, trailer park, shit eating motherfucker, because you make no sense here! Apparently you didn’t think that through though did you?
And lose some weight there you obviously fat-bitch motherfucker!
Tried to watch Modern Family a few times. Not funny nor interesting to me at all.
That said, of the many things I found to be unfunny or witless on that show of primary repulsion is the gay couple.
Sure str8 people like them. They are harmless, stereotypical, safe buffoons.
If I were a young closeted or even newly out gay man I would be greatly bothered by their presentation.
I grew up thinking I had no choice but to be a ‘sissy boy’ because that was the only gay representation that was ever presented.
We also had/have such stereotypes…Paul Lynde, Alan Sues, Martin Mull, Fred Willard, the entire cast of Noah’s Arc, Bryan Collins, Liberace, Vincent Schiavelli (look him up), Luke McFarlane and on and on.
Watch the documentary Celluloid Closet to see where the general public further reinforced their perception of homos.
One of the more recent great role model gay TV characters was on the short lived and much missed Happy Endings…Adam Pally.
I do appreciate more recent characterizations as presented in the broad based Queer As Folk, Oz, The Wire, Six Feet Under and others. We are out there but seldom the lead.
Sure, we gay folks are as varied as the hues in a rainbow but somehow there seems to be a very large contingent of the public who prefer their queers as nonthreatening sissies.
Very interesting discussion here (apart from the name-calling and shaming, which i guess has to be part of every Queerty comment thread). For the record, though, neither Cam nor Mitch glued the wig on the baby…that was the toddler character, their daughter Lily.
@Sammy Schlipshit: “the entire cast of Noah’s Arc,” Clearly you didn’t watch this show, none of them were “nonthreatening sissies!”
So, it seems that you and I define ‘sissy’ and effeminate differently.
To me, the entire cast was just a scream away from being full fledged fairies…the good kind but fairies none the less.
And, for his part, Watkins replied very thoughtfully to Ferguson on his Facebook page (and possibly on Twitter too, I don’t tweet, personally). It’s VERY interesting how neither of the actual debaters in this exchange feel the need to belittle the other one, or completely dismiss their point of view (though I’d agree “blackface” was an unfortunate phrasing choice). They stick to their points, and write civilly. Perhaps they are both the kind of role models, even if they happen to disagree, commenters on here could emulate.
^ Sammy nails my point from earlier.
Every other group can complain about stereotypes and media misrepresentation, but if gay men complain about the hammy over the top stereotypes, we’re self-loathing.
@Sammy Schlipshit: “So, it seems that you and I define ‘sissy’ and effeminate differently.”
Clearly we do! What I do know and saw in this cast were masculine men that were polar opposites of their effeminate partners which is socially typical particularly among Black men. The thug-type is what is considered to be the more hyper-masculine. None would be considered “thugish” on that show except for one of Noah’s suitors late in the series who I found to be “all that” beneath the bravado!
No “Will and Grace” was Gay Black face.
Watkins is simply wrong. Spike Lee has identified the black stereotype in pre-1960s movies, embodied in, e.g. Stepin Fetchit, Mantan Moreland, &c. There is no comparison.
@nf0603, why would the depiction of Kurt as a fem kid justify homophobia? You want him to be butch so that homophobes won’t hate us? Your logic is completely screwed up.
In my high school choir there were two gay boys. One was like Kurt. The other one (me) was closeted, tried to act masculine, and blended in. Who was the one who showed the most (manly) virtue of courage by living his life authentically? I can assure you it wasn’t me.
@vive: “Who was the one who showed the most (manly) virtue of courage by living his life authentically? I can assure you it wasn’t me.”
Your truthfulness is so refreshing and there should be an award from GLADD! The best kind of coming out story if there’s a “closet” to come out of.
To each their own but I think Mitch and Cam are HILARIOUS. Eric Stonestreet is amazing and, as a very happily gay man, I love laughing at dramatized gay stereotypes because they’re so true! And, it’s television, so they exaggerate almost everything. How realistic are the other couples on the show? Not very. Anyway, if you can’t laugh at yourself, don’t worry…I’ll do it for you 🙂
ALL of the characters are big stereotypical caricatures. And that’s what makes them hilarious!
EXACTLY! And thanks for pointing that out to people who seem unable to look below the surface or parse intent. They are all stereotypical, and at the same time have distinct personalities, moments of true insight, and always stand by each other in times of need. People need to stop being offended by trivia, and look at intent and and underlying heart. There is a huge difference between getting laughs from a character and making fun of a character; making points about humanity or denying humanity. Modern Family does the former in both examples.
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