The politics of primetime.
For decades, the television honchos have been pushing America steadily to the left, all the while claiming that they are merely catering to the viewing market. But this week, the mask came off for a moment when the American Civil Liberties Union asked ABC to write a gay wedding into its hit comedy, Modern Family.
Modern Family is one of the most popular comedies on television. It’s cleverly written, and obviously quite liberal – the premise of the show is the Mrs. Doubtfire notion that all families are created equal, with similar foibles and similar levels of parenting skill, all united under the rubric of love. The show revolves around three couples: Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara), as a once-divorced older man and his trophy wife who truly love each other, and Gloria’s son from a prior marriage, Manny (Rico Rodriguez); Jay’s son, Mitchell (Jesse Lee Ferguson), who is gay and in a relationship with Cam (Eric Stonestreet), with whom he has adopted a daughter, Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons); and the traditional family, Jay’s daughter Claire (Julie Bowen), her husband Phil (Ty Burrell), and their three children, Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter), and Luke (Nolan Gould).
When it comes to parenting, the show’s take is that all parents are created equal. Claire, the housewife, is the cringe-inducing mother who loves her children but can barely handle them. Phil adores his kids, but is an overgrown kid himself. Overall, their three children run wild.
Jay and Gloria, meanwhile, bring up their young son (and step-son), who is a mature-beyond-his-years prodigy. Manny parents Jay and Gloria as much as they seem to parent him.
Cam is the equivalent of Claire – a stay-at-home dad, overprotective and ubercompetitive, at risk of stereotypically stage-momlike behavior. Mitchell is the more rational parent, who may not be as involved as he should be.
This is a comedy, which means that even the worst parental failings end in laughter rather than tears. Everybody is happy and healthy despite their various family structures. This is liberalism’s vision of the perfect universe, and it is an attractive one.
But it’s not liberal enough for some. ACLU Action has now started a letter-writing campaign designed to get the show to marry Mitchell and Cam. “Mitch and Cam are a couple that America has come to know and love, and seeing them get married, and seeing the characters in the story grapple with their desire to get married, makes it real for a bigger part of America,” James Esseks, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project at the ACLU said to the Associated Press.
The show is already preparing to embrace the proposal. Steven Levitan, who created the show, tweeted out a link to the campaign. Jesse Lee Ferguson commented via Twitter, “Love this! Thank you ACLU! Maybe once Prop 8 is overturned!”
It is unlikely that Modern Family will wait for that. After all, Friends participated in a lesbian wedding more than a decade ago. And the folks in Hollywood get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside when they’re stumping for social change.
Just as in every other capitalistic enterprise, Hollywood is not solely consumed with profit. Most people who go into business do not do so only to make money, though it is a major consideration. Those in Hollywood wish to go to cocktail parties and tell their friends and family what they’re doing for society and the world. That’s why Christopher Nolan may make blockbuster after blockbuster, but he’s not as hot-ticket a party item as Dustin Lance Black (Milk). And that’s why on television, you’ll find your favorite sitcom overstep its bounds on an irregular basis and smash you in the face with politics.
Thanks to the monopoly in Hollywood from one side of the political spectrum, there’s no risk in doing that. So get ready for it, gang: Modern Family will have a gay wedding soon. How else can the big government liberals who run the show live with their more politically-oriented buddies?
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