Hubby and I love to watch T.V. One of our favourite shows is Modern Family. Our family is hooked on it. The writing is brilliant as are the acting skills of each cast member. Each has developed their character into an over-the-top hilarious personality while retaining a likeable humanness and warmth. You can’t help but love this clan! If you haven’t seen the show, ABC has a brief description on their web page.
Along with many other fans, we were thrilled to see Modern Family clean up at the Emmy Awards last night. During his acceptance speech Steve Levitan, co-creator of the series, told a story about a gay couple telling him that “You’re not just making people laugh. You’re making them more tolerant.” As the audience murmured their agreement, he quickly turned the serious line into a joke by pointing the tolerance towards the Jay and Gloria relationship; the old guy and his gorgeous young wife. Yet the line about promoting tolerance has a lot of truth in it.
Humour can be one of the best platforms to present deeper realities. And T.V. sitcoms can be great vehicles for promoting larger discussions around issues of the day. Remember the bigotry of Archie Bunker? How about the anti-war messages of M.A.S.H., the single mother plot of Murphy Brown, or the famous coming-out episode of Ellen? Each time sensibilities and political correctness were challenged, loud voices proclaimed the need for upholding morals in our society. The voices were not only loud. They were almost always judgmental.
Today, battle lines are constantly being drawn between competing definitions of family. The battle-fields are in our churches and the political sphere. It’s yet another debate that has trads and libs facing off, each claiming the moral high ground.
The reality is that we are no longer a Leave it to Beaver society; if we ever were one. Our society is becoming more multi-cultural and more diverse. We are just beginning to understand that issues of gender are not always black and white. Families now come in all shapes and sizes, blending and mixing as never before. Modern Family shows that it’s not the physical make-up of a group that makes a family. Each family on this show has its own issues and struggles. They get on each other’s nerves within their own family unit, and with the extended family. They screw up, and they constantly make up. At the end of the day they are committed to each other and love triumphs over all. They are as human as they come. They are family.