Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Modern Family

I think Modern Family is a fairly funny show. I remember back when it premiered: it had a lot of competition, and I didn't expect it to be great. What I found was that the writing was actually pretty good, as was the acting. Not off-the-charts-amazing, but solid. Eventually I began to consider it one of funnier shows that was airing at the time. As other shows in their fourth or fifth season were starting to slip, Modern Family seemed to be getting stronger.

Regardless, it's a topic of discussion because of its portrayal of a "modern" gay couple and a "modern" American family's interactions.
Nothing stereotypical about this.

What's nice is that the homophobia is mostly portrayed as being a shameful position. At the same time, everyone—including the non-hetero characters themselves—seem to constantly behave insensitively towards the non heteros. Again, in a certain sense this is relieving; that the characters aren't afraid to be a little un-PC about everyone and everything. However, the gay couple, Mitch and Cam, is horrendously sterotypical. They are awful. I cringe at every little wrist flip, twirl, sassy comment, and clich├ęd scene. And who are their friends? A bunch of sassy female-in-male-bodies as well.

This is not what it means to me to be a guy that likes guys. Maybe it does to some people, and that's fine, but I want some more media representation for males-in-male-bodies that happen to like guys. I have seen it occasionally, including in Modern Family when Matthew Broderick guest-starred, but such appearances are rare and often forgotten. Even my intelligent straight friends seem to miss this, because they were all so shocked, dumbfounded even, by the fact that I "just didn't seem gay". This cultural notion that sexuality is something that is visibly noticeable needs to go. Something like Brokeback Mountain has to be one of a very few well-known, contemporary examples of guy-guys liking each other, and it's still not quite widely seen enough to stick in people's minds.

Leave you alone?
Some might say "leave them alone", let everyone be everyone. I am. I just want more equal representation. I am attracted to guys, but it doesn't feel right to identify as gay. To be 'gay' comes with a myriad of hooks and strings. Some of these are admittedly good, but are dwarfed by very negative stereotypes of weakness, promiscuity,  etc. Flamboyant people don't suffer when they are associated with non-flamboyant people; only the reverse is true. Flamboyant people, a group that includes straight men and women, are going to receive attention by definition, because that's what it means to be flamboyant. It cracks me up when flamboyant non-heteros get defensive about this point. "So what?! I'm not loud! I'M NOT TRYING TO GET ATTENTION," they scream, now standing on the table, with roman candles exploding from their head, completely oblivious to the irony of their words.

I do think things are improving, though. Every few years, the number of positively portrayed non-heteros increases, as old stereotypes begin fade into the past. New ones spring up of course, but it seems like each round is less offensive than the previous.

It's not my obligation to be an example for all of society of how unlike the stereotype a non hetero can be, but when I do make my orientation more public, I fully intend to be light-hearted and respectful, but also vocal about these issues.

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  1. Enjoying so far...keep it up.

  2. Check out Max from the show Happy Endings. He's a gay bro and imo, hilarious.