Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet as Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker on ABC’s Modern Family.
In the Season 5 premiere of Modern Family, Mitch and Cam finally got engaged, but, let’s be real: It often seems like the Emmy-winning ABC comedy’s gay couple has a lot of not-so-positive feelings about each other.
“They do plenty of fighting, but their arguments never resolve into real kindness,” TV writer Mark Blankenship observed of Modern Family’s second season. Although the show is interesting in that it shows that same-sex couples can be just as hateful as straight couples, it should be noted that a significant amount of Mitchell’s embarrassment and eye rolls are inspired by Cam’s being “too gay.” The attitude extends outside the relationship; in the Season 2 premiere, for example, Mitchell says, “I needed to butch up my life.” And a recurring joke in the Season 5 premiere is that Gloria (Sofía Vergara) and Jay’s (Ed O’Neill) baby throws up every time someone mentions gay marriage.
I rewatched the premieres of all the seasons of Modern Family, tracking moments between Mitch and Cam, Gloria and Jay, and Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil (Ty Burrell) where one partner said something mean to the other, one partner was embarrassed by the other, one partner said something condescending to the other, and when one partner undermined the other. It only counted if the moment occurred when the characters were in the same scene, and thus I also tracked how much time these characters spent in the same room (or, occasionally, field) on screen. And without further ado, here are the results:
3. Percentage of snipes, eye rolls, and instances of condescension to and embarrassment at one’s partner overall
Out of 82 total.
4. Number of snipes, eye rolls, and instances of condescension to and embarrassment at one’s partner, per premiere episode
5. Minutes together per episode
Calculated from the moment one or both characters know they’re in the same room to the moment one or both of the characters leave the room or the scene ends. (Anything less than a minute isn’t displayed, so you should know Gloria and Jay spent 30 seconds on screen together in the Season 2 premiere.)
6. It looks like Mitch and Cam are being less mean to each other now, but then again, they just got engaged. Fluke? Trend? What do you think?
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