Modern Family (2009-2019) is an ABC sitcom shot in mockumentary style about Jay Pritchett, his second wife, their son, his stepson and Jay’s two adult children and their spouses and children. In this clip, Jay’s son Mitchell and his husband Cam introduce the family to their adopted Vietnamese baby Lily. The clip begins with Mitchell complaining to the camera about how homophobic his father is. When Mitchell’s family arrives, and Mitchell tells them that he and Cam have been thinking about having a baby, Jay tells him that this is not a good idea because “kids need a mother.” His sister Claire then adds that kids bring chaos, and he is too uptight to deal with it. Mitchell’s niece asks where Cam is, and Jay assumes that Cam has left Mitchell, reassuring Mitchell that Cam was a “drama queen” anyway. Mitchell denies that Cam is a drama queen just as Cam enters the room playing the theme from the Lion King and holding up Lily like Rafiki holds up Simba in the iconic scene from the Disney film.
Why is Cam and Mitchell’s adoption of Lily a difficult conversation to broach with their family? What assumptions are made about their lifestyle?
How does Cam’s family insult him? Specifically, what do they say about him?
Is this scene supposed to be serious or funny? How does the way we understand the tone of the scene shape the representation of both gay men and the discussion of homophobia?
How does Modern Family compare to other family sitcoms you’ve seen?