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Why Won’t ABC Let Modern Family‘s Gays Share a Smooch?

If you’re not in the Parks & Recreation Is The Greatest Show Ever camp, you’ve gotta be in the Modern Family Is The Greatest Show Ever. Or maybe you’re in both! Because Modern Family is easily one of television’s greatest new shows. But while it showcases a hysterically neurotic-but-sweet gay couple, is the ABC sitcom actually fearful of The Gay?

All you have to do is notice this screenshot that shows how the heteros get to kiss, while the gays only get to hug. (The scene shows the couples reunited at the airport after an arduous search to secure the driver’s license of Mitchell, the red-headed gay, which he forgot at home.) In fact, Mitchell and Cam have never shared a single kiss in the 23 episodes that have aired so far.

This is even news to Jesse Tyler Ferguson, the gay actor who plays Mitchell. Appearing on Bravo’s Watch What Happens last month, Ferguson was asked (by a viewer, and relayed by Andy Cohen) why he and Cam don’t get to kiss. He said he never really thought about it. (He also mentioned, jokingly, how his career was hanging on by strings.)

Good As You‘s Jeremy Hooper says after watching the episode: “I don’t want to imply homophobia. This show is far from it. ABC as a network is far from it.”

Hooper is right. ABC has included gay characters (Ugly Betty), lesbian characters (Grey’s Anatomy), and yes, even trans characters (Ugly Betty, Dirty Sexy Money). But you know what ABC doesn’t like? Same-sex kissing. Let’s not forget how ABC handled Adam Lambert’s American Music Awards smooch. And while ABC has been commended, including by that GLAAD thing, for its same-sex relationship on One Life To Live, producers also blamed that storyline for the show’s ratings decline.

We don’t necessarily need a Facebook group for this. But it would be nice for Modern Family — a hilarious show that manages to include gay jokes that aren’t offensive or inserted for straight-only audiences to laugh at the fags — to go all the way.

Update: And … there’s a Facebook group.

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    This would be something to ask the production company and the series writers. Keep in mind that ABC is just the network that airs the show. I don’t think they produce it.

  • travis Mitchell

    Lets not forget that Ugly Betty featured, in a very classy and romantic way, Justin’s first kiss with his boyfriend. So its clear theyre not totally adverse to Gays kissing, especially seeing as Justin and his boyfriend were teenagers.

  • Garver

    20th Century Fox is the main production company.

  • fredo777

    Maybe the actor who plays Cam has a problem with it. He is straight, after all. Idk…


    @travis Mitchell: Now you made me mad all over at Ugly Betty being cancelled!! :(

    Justin and Austin’s first kiss was so unexpected and out of left field was one of the most unexpected great moments ever. ABC had the balls to show two teenage boys smacking right in prime time on the TVs, so I gotta give them a pass for having Cam and Mitchell not do so.

    And if anyone hasn’t viewed the scene in the following episode (ya can find here on Queerts search: “Ugly Betty”) where Justin comes out to his family on the dance floor with his BF Austin, at his Mom’s wedding you are missing one of the greatest,touching, tear jerking Gay scenes ever shown on the TVs.

  • [email protected]

    If it came down to making people kiss so as to avoid being politically incorrect, versus just making me laugh because the show is so well written and well acted — aka its FUNNY. I’ll just take funny, and leave my righteous indignation for for Fox News and all the bad gay jokes on SNL, Letterman, Leno, Conan and the rest.

  • John Raymond Barker

    Brothers & Sisters constantly has gay kissing. It’s not the network necessarily.

  • Jeepers

    I love Modern Family, and up to now, I have been willing to give the show a pass on the kissing issue. But the non-kissing in the aforementioned scene really was odd, because the premise of the entire episode was how love rules in all of the three major adult relationships even when the different parties had hit some bumps earlier in the day (each had a Four Hours Earlier segue).

    And then to have side-by-side kiss-and-make-ups at the airport, but not for the gay couple? It was just jarring, and rang false. In fact, I rewound it to see I had missed a glancing kiss on the cheek before the hug, but no dice.

    I would buy that one half of the couple has PDA issues (and this was the airport, after all, not a reunion at one of the families’ homes), but there was no setup of that. Very very odd.

  • alan brickman

    it’s a great show, well written and well acted…Queerty hates this show because it shows gays being normal….like screwing up or having fights…Keep watching Bravo channel then…..Modern Family is obviously too much “reality” for the Queerty Queens I guess….

  • Johnny

    yeah, I don’t know if it’s necessarily ABC’s doing. Brothers and Sisters has gay kissing, implied gay sex, etc all the time.

  • Ian

    @Jeepers: Exactly, if our gay couple had had a quick smooch at the exact same time as the straight couple then it would have happened so quick it would have been a total non-issue. I think there may be credence to the thought I’ve read that they’re kissing may be more taboo as the American audience has gotten used to hot or cute stereotypically fit & young gay guys kissing, but a guy w/a beer gut and two chins is possibly seen as more than people can handle by Fox?

  • fredo777

    @Ian: Fox?

    They mention ABC right in the article title. >_>

  • Lamar

    People mention Brothers and SIsters a lot but maybe ABC are thinking ‘maybe If we put these queers on they’ll shut up and stop complaining’. Lol.

  • Ian

    @fredo777: 20th Century FOX is the production company, but the show is seen on ABC.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    It could also be the actors as well as the writers of the show. I don’t see this as being ABC.

  • fredo777

    @Ian: I don’t often see anyone refer to 20th Century Fox as just Fox, but okay.

  • AlwaysGay

    Yes, this is discrimination and yes it’s because the couple is gay.

  • Jeepers

    @Ian. My sentiments exactly. Side-by-side kisses…straight couple next to gay couple…would have been the perfect way to slip it in. Pardon the pun. Instead, it was conspicuous by its absence.

    Memo to ABC/Twentieth Century Fox for future episode: Have a side-by-side kiss between the gay couple and a hug between the straight couple. That would be a wink to all of us who will remember this regretful lost opportunity.

  • Ian

    @Jeepers: Yah, I’d luv for the str8 couple to get to giving the “Oh, your the best roommate EVER” hug treatment while our Cam & Mitchell get the married kiss instead.

  • Hilarious

    I don’t really understand the hype over this show.

    Ugly Betty to me was the show that included everyone and helped change some opinions of homosexuality.

    I was surprised to find out even my father enjoyed this show and he used to be extremely homophobic. After watching Justin on this show he seems to “get it”.

    I don’t think Modern Family comes close, but I also don’t think ABC as a whole is the problem.

    I won’t bash the show though since I guess it’s just not my type of humor. I’m more into Glee(dark humor) and less crass humor. Then again I also love Community which is nonstop crass humor so maybe it’s just the show…

  • rudy

    While I’d love to kiss Jesse Tyler Ferguson myself, I’m not exactly dying to see him be intimate with Cam.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @rudy: Your attraction is not the point.

  • New Jersey Guy

    You can’t blame ABC.

    They have featured same sex love (as in kissing and more) on BROTHERS & SISTERS, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, ALL MY CHILDREN, UGLY BETTY and GREY’S ANATOMY. MODERN FAMILY is actually in the minority of shows on ABC featuring gay characters and they don’t kiss. Most of them do.

    I have watched the show and honestly the gay couple comes off as loving and united as much as my parents who have been married 45 years. I never see my parents kissing either. Maybe that is the point. The gays on MODERN FAMILY strike me as fuddy duddies and not overly sexual. Remember the Ropers on THREE’S COMPANY? Maybe it is just true to their characters. I think it is more groundbraking to see gays in a committed relationship raising a child and getting along with their families than to see them kissing.

  • Chuck

    ABC isn’t into gay kissing? Haven’t you ever watched Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty??

  • jason

    Perhaps the actors have a clause in their contracts which forbids same-sex kissing. Has anyone thought about this?

    It wouldn’t surprise me. The reps for actors are notoriously homophobic.


    @Hilarious: I am sorry you may have to turn in your tag if you can’t see the humor in Modern Family sometimes it’s you: Hilarious :-p

    Modern Family has sometimes subtle humor, sometimes outrageous. I advise you see if you can locate the episode where Cam and Mitchell invite their baby’s Asian Pediatrician over for dinner and she goes on about the Asian stereotypes about being subservant to their husbands and how her Mother was so against her having her own career and how she was making strides towards “smashing Asian stereotypes” cut to her pulling out of their driveway and hitting two cars as she drives down the block………..

    And yes Ugly Betty will be sorely missed. As per post #5 I sat and bawled like a freaking little girl during the scene at the wedding where Justin came out to his family at Hilda’s wedding…………

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @New Jersey Guy: You are making up excuses. You sound like a family member of mine. Faced with something that may be uncomfortable she will think up something to make everything okay for her regarding a having bad feelings. We don’t know the reasons. We are all speculating. given that it is media, and we have seen this sort of thing before, it is less likely to be a “creative” we are thinking of the characters decision, and more likely to be someone having an issue with the subject matter of same sex kissing. The question is who that is.

  • matt

    just watched the episode, seems to me she kissed her husband cause she was drunk and if she hadn’t been drinking there would have been no kiss, I’m sure Cam and Mitchell will share a kiss but the scene itself didn’t really call for it. It’s like you are trying to find a homophobic show in a show that is anything but homophobic.

  • Jeepers

    @Matt, you have a point, and as stated above, I worship this show and am inclined to give its creators the benefit of the doubt.

    It was the juxtaposition of the two couples in a single frame that made the contrast so jarring to me. I’ve noted so much care and thought taken with virtually every shot in so many episodes of this great show, you have to wonder why they didn’t have Claire kiss Phil in one shot, and Cam and Mitchell hug in a separate shot. It was the side-by-side in one frame, a deliberate creative choice, that I think is very odd. One chooses that framing to make a point about contrast between the couples. But as you say, maybe they were trying to convey Claire was bombed.

  • Tylertime

    @D’oh, The Magnificent:

    Do you work in media? I do. I have worked at MTV, Discovery and even ABC. Out of all of them ABC is quite progressive in their portrayals of gays and our issues. Plenty of the shows that are currently on their schedule have been referenced. I agree with Jersey guy. I think it is more important to see a monogomous loving and committed couple on TV than seeing a kiss. It speaks volumes. The issue here was directed at ABC and I’m just saying you shouldn’t be pointing fingers at them.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Tylertime: I already stated that I don’t think this is ABC, but could be the show’s producers or the actors. None of what you say excuses a double standard.

    Moreover, telling me how progressive you think the network is or trying to argue a logical fallacy like appeal to authority (your irrelevant discussion of working in media), sure as hell doesn’t excuse it.

    At the end of the day, it may be innocent. However, I would like to hear that from the creators and the actors without you supplying excuses for them. That’s why raising the question is valid. I feeling a bit of deja vue here because I have this sort of exchange with the family member who likes to make up excuses for the behaviors of others as well such that she’s always trying to make them out to be good without any basis other than that’s how she wants to view the world. I want to hear it from the creators and actors. Not you.

    That’s why when given the possibility of bad or good, I am going to think given media history, there is a chance for bad, and want to know if its not rather than assume its not.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    Oh, and by the way, having directed a few things, not seriously, just for fun, I know about the use of framing to bring about meaning. The episode was constructed to show there was no difference between the worries and concerns among the 3 couples over relationships. That was true in both the characterization, storylines and framing of the shots.

  • Millhouse

    OK, how many of you would actually kiss your partner in public? Not many I would bet.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Millhouse: I would. I have also kissed them in straight bars amongst other locations. Any other excuses you want to use to justify the internalize homophobia?

  • Arturo Mendez

    Conscience is something most of us are born with and when we are doing something wrong it causes inner conflict. The practitioners of this so called “lifestyle” are attempting to elevate this dysfunction and corruption so that they can bypass their conscience and eliminate that inner conflict. In his book the “Marketing of Evil” author David Kupelian states they are doing this by using semantics to disguise the bizarre sexual behavior practiced and hide its negative cultural identity, and by making it a debate about “rights” which implies that this group is being denied basic rights that the rest of us enjoy. As far as my research has been able to determine the only thing they are being denied is the acceptance of an aberrant sexual behavior that most people find wrong.

  • *J_C*

    i never noticed.. i just thought they were a cute couple… it feels like they have had a kiss but i guess they haven’t so yeah i love this show is amazing.. its at the top of my dvr list unfortunately i work but watch it asap

  • Joe

    Someone mentioned it earlier, but I too think it has to do with physical traits. It seems if both lead actors were hunky model eye candy (the bland adorable gays of Brothers & Sisters comes to mind) there would be plenty of kissing.

  • alan brickman

    Maybe Queerty can blame Israel for this too….


    @fredo777 100% Co-Sign. Having the thumbs down is the equivlant of being able to drop the rock back on top of the troll who crawled out from under it…………… :-p

  • OnCloud9

    This show sucks.

  • Richie

    Great piece – and thanks for bringing this up – I thought it was just me!

    I love Modern Family – but recently I’m really feeling like gay couple Cameron and Mitchell are becoming a bit of a sexless stereotype?

    Here’s a blog piece I recently wrote on the subject – it’s called Funny Uncles!


  • fredo777

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: lol i generally am not a fan of the feature b/c some users see it as a handy tool to remove any comment they disagree with, not just trolls. in this case, however, i think it was useful.

  • Arturo Mendez

    If sexual orientation has absolutely no bearing on how an individual performs his or her professional duties, why is it necessary that their sexual preference be known? Despite what so many want to believe we are not defined as human beings by our sexual preference, but by our character.

    This debate has nothing to do with “rights” and has absolutely nothing to do with the Civil Rights movement which they love to compare themselves with-being black has nothing to do with orientation or preference. They obviously are ignorant or dismissive of history, as well, when comparing their opponents with Adolph Hitler and the Nazi’s, when in fact many of the Nazi’s were “homosexual”.

    I have been around for some time and have watched this “movement” evolve over the years and it is my opinion that this whole fiasco is about redefining the truth and censoring any opponent’s criticism. This is a blatant attempt to force acceptance of a behavior as normal which is considered deviant by the majority of society.

  • Kim

    I have never seen the father kiss his wife

  • Jimmi

    Was it me or was the kissing question passed off as a bowel movement?

  • OtisinNYC

    I really hadn’t even noticed that they haven’t kissed (yet). It’s obvious in every interaction they have they they are in a stable, committed relationship.

    It is refreshing that gays have advanced to a place on TV that they are “normal” and not portrayed as sex-crazed, self-hating or body-obsessed.

  • Jeepers

    @Kim. It wasn’t a lip-to-lip kiss, but actually in that very episode, the father DID give his wife Gloria a peck on the cheek (in the kiss-and-make-up moment in the end that only gay couple lacked).

    And, yes, I know I’m desconstructing obsessively.

  • Jeepers

    I mean deconstructing.

  • fredo777

    @Arturo Mendez: Noone is forcing you to post here. If you have such an issue with gays + their “agenda”, then get the hell off of a gay-oriented site, troll.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    Re noticing levels of affection and the “norm”

    WHy would you notice? We live in a society that makes you think of your sexuality as something to hide rather than be something that we see on a daily basis between straight couples all the time. I mean- if you live in a place like NYC- you see straight couples being affectionate in public every where.

    Yet, even if NYC, you don’t see that as frequently between gay men. Its the internalize issue over sexual orientation that most gay men learn early to not display.

    One of the reasons I worked on myself in that regard is that I got tired of editing my behavior everywhere I went in public. It was like- “I am dating this guy, but rather than touching him, I am going to make everyone else comfortable by not doing what feels natural.” The rule now for me is to do what I feel.

    The issue with the characters and how they are being treated is whether a natural response for every gay character- as is often played where we don’t show affection. I don’t think it is. I think under the circumstances of the particular story they would have had a nice kiss.

    I think for some here- this may be eye opening (if one is honest) about one’s own baggage over public affection.

  • Arturo Mendez

    It has become painfully apparent that queerty is not an objective website.It is also racist and Anti-Latino.

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    @Arturo Mendez: <King Non-sequitur I

  • scott ny'er

    @D’oh, The Magnificent: but it’s not just making other’s comfortable, there is the issue of safety. I know when I was holding my ex-bf’s hand, kissing, etc, I tried to be aware of my surroundings. Even in NYC, one can’t be too careful.

  • ROBinNYC

    It’s the hour Modern Family is on that seems to be the problem. Most of the other shows that have featured same-sex kisses (most predominently UGLY BETTY and BROTHERS AND SISTERS) have been in the 10 o’clock hour. Some in the 9 o’clock hour. But the 8 o’clock hour is the ‘family friendly’ hour. Even soaps are on during a time when most kids are at school.

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