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Out actor Tuc Watkins has hard time laughing at “Modern Family” gay couple Cam and Mitch

Eric Stonestreet has won two Emmys for his performance as Cam on ABC’s Modern Family while Jesse Tyler Ferguson has been nominated for each of the first five seasons as Mitchell.

But not everyone is crazy about Cam and Mitch who got married in a two-part episode at the end of last season.

One of those people is actor Tuc Watkins who played one half of a gay couple for several years on ABC’s Desperate Housewives.

Watkins, who came out publicly last year, shared his feelings about the characters in a Facebook post on Thursday: ‘Hmm. I think “Modern Family” is clever, hilarious, even terrifically subtle at times. But, for the most part, I have a hard time laughing at the gay guys. In fact, I kinda cringe. It feels a little bit like the gay equivalent of “blackface.” It doesn’t feel “modern” at all.’

‘Sure, people come in all shapes, sizes, etc. So why are we fed such 80s stereotypes every week?’

Watkins, best known for his many years on the daytime soap One Life to Live, currently has a recurring role on the MTV series Awkward.

FILE UNDER: Television


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

99 Remarks

  1. Lee from “Desperate Housewives” was not the most butch character. I remember Tuc’s character, Bob, was very masculine. But when I think of 80s stereotypes, I think of Hollywood from Mannequin.

  2. Shawn Pyfrom’s Andrew Van de Kamp was an excellent gay character in the beginning, but Bob and Lee were boring, useless and seemed to be used as propping for the hetero characters. Desperate Housewives always seemed to minimize and push their gay characters into the background. At least Modern Family keeps them front and center. There’s more and more different LGBT characters in the media as time passes, so don’t see what the issue is with Mitch and Cam. Perhaps Mr. Watkins is jealous because his career has become marginal when compared to Jess Tyler Ferguson’s and Eric Stonestreet’s careers.

  3. It’s comedy and not meant to be taken seriously. And anyway, should someone who waited until AFTER his job on a popular TV show (Desperate Housewives) ended before coming out, really be the moral spokesperson for how gay characters should behave? (I’ll bet he’d find those roles much funnier if HE had been cast on Modern Family.)

  4. I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in thinking this. I love the show but increasingly my husband and I just cringe whenever Cam and Mitch are on the screen, especially Cam. The word “blackface” is absolutely appropriate. I guess the straight folks gotta be entertained! What better way than with gay stereotypes! Thank you to Tuc Watkins for sharing his viewpoint.

  5. I totally agree with Tuc. Yes the show is cleverand I used to be a devoted fan. I just can’t look at it anymore without getting a bad taste in my mouth. That pair is so light in their loafers, I expect them to start flying any minute now. Not a fair representation of the gay world.

  6. I kind of understand where Tuc is coming from and I myself have cringed more than once at the unnecessary stereotypical and over the top gay actions. However, in the long run this exposure is better than NO exposure and frankly just about everyone else on Modern Family is also used in the same narrow minded thinking pigeon holes… just for sake of a laugh. I would say that Manny and Phil are just about the only two characters that are fresh and original. When an episode is really LOL great I don’t care how backward it is. But Cam and Mitch do get the brunt of the stereotypical actions and manners.

  7. Sorry you feel that way Tuc. I know lots of guys who are just like Cam and lots of guys who are just like Mitch. We can’t be expected to represent every gay person. We can only represent these two people. Also, Mitch is basically a version of me…so I never know how to take it when people say that he is stereotypical. And in defense of Cam, I still can’t figure out how a clown & football coach who also happens to be gay is a stereotype. When all is said and done, it’s a family sitcom. I feel our writers do a fantastic job of servicing 11 characters each week in just 22 minutes. I am incredibly proud to play Mitch and I have a lot of pride in our show. As a closeted kid of the 80′s I would have loved to have had a show like Modern Family to watch with my parents. It would have meant a lot to me to see who I secretly was reflected on television. TV has come a long way and it continues to forge new ground. I am thrilled with the work that you did on Desperate Housewives. It opened the door for shows like ours and hopefully we can hold that door open for many more shows to follow us. At the end of the day we can’t please everyone..and we shouldn’t try to. Kinda just like life, right? Take care. Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

  8. come on all you haters, its a sitcom, and really being gay and having lots and lots of gay friends, don’t you have friends that are over the top and love them for who they are not how they act… So yes there are many different types of all folks. Just enjoy the fun they have and don’t read so much into it…

  9. What’s wrong with being fabulous? We no longer have to hide to fit in or try to fit into a certain mold. We can be whoever we want to be. Have we pushed so far for acceptance that we’ve gotten rid of everything that makes us special?

    I for one am proud of my fabulous-ness. I think if anyone cringes over characters like Cam and Mitch is due to their own insecurities with how they view themselves. This whole idea of what is and isn’t acceptable to be a man. I mean that is where this all stems from correct? Being gay is great because we get to blur the lines. I’m both feminine and masculine. I think the day that more gay guys accepted this the more happier they would be.

    Whether anyone wants to admit it there are characters out there just like Cam and Mitch. Personally I’m a lot like Cam minus the football coach part.

    My favorite quote sums this all up:
    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
    -Marianne Williamson

    So I will continue to be fabulously unapologetic about who I am and who I love!

  10. Another perspective may be that having any representation of a same sex couple on mainstream television is a win. Also, having a couple that does not fit the stereotype of what all gay men look like is important; I’m not a skinny or muscular gay man and so I appreciate a body type I can identify with. I would push back on ‘blackface’ because blackface was making a white person ‘look’ like a person of color (knowing that it was impossible for that person to ‘pass’ as Black). With the performance of Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet, they do ‘pass’ as gay (though Stonestreet does not identify as gay). They are not changing their skin color rather doing a gende performance that people actually do. Whereas with blackface, historically speaking, the performer will fail to fully appropriate the Black identity. That makeup also included making noses and lips look like the stereotype. Again, another perspective to think about comparing race to gender performance as well as the representation of queerness on film.

  11. December 20th, 2014 at 8:20 pm
    Angie Bernhardt says:

    Why not just enjoy a great fun show ? There’s no room or need for being petty.

  12. Ummmm….I thought the purpose of citcoms was to exaggerate their characters. Btw my gay, married best friends are JUST like Mitchell and Cam.

  13. Tuc sure has a right to feel that way, but Jesse puts it all in perspective (thanks Mitchell – oh I mean Jesse)! I’ve been around a long time (my husband and I have been together for just about 35 years). I’ve seen the portrayals that were made about us – as perverts and criminals – in the past. Now I see loving men and parents and respected family, as in Modern Family. Let me tell you I prefer it the way it is now! I have an “adopted” gay son who is married to a guy in Albuquerque and my husband and I are Papa Joe and Papa Rob to their 4 adopted sons and daughter. So Cam is a bit effeminate. It might even make you cringe a bit. Who cares? The point is he is there and willing to show the truth. It’s life as it is. Remember, after all, its a heart-warming, well written comedy. Enjoy the diversity!

  14. I think that the pair are decent representation of gay couples to be honest. Yes sometimes they do act a bit dramatic but it is a comedy it is supposed to be dramatic and hilarious. More representation in the media is just what we need at this point. 1 in 10 people are gay or some form of it and while typically most people on shows are shown straight which I find upsetting. There needs to be more gay, lesbian, and bisexuals show in the media and these characters are just one step closer to getting to the point where representation of the minorities is normal.

  15. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but I feel Tuc’s comment could just as easily be criticized for femme-ophobia. Does he really not know flouncing gay guys like Cam or slightly fastidious gay guys like Mitch? A casual glance at reality shows and even personal YouTube videos reveals that as desperately as too many gay men cling to the idea that they’re “masc” or “straight-acting,” there are still a huge number of gay men who actually act stereotypically gay, and a huge number of gay men who are downright feminine. That is only a problem in the media, IMHO, when the media only allows those representations to exist because they decide those are the most comfortable for the masses. However, with each new show or movie or play that offers a different look at gay people, the concept that seeing gay depictions that are “swishy” is immediately a negative loses steam. Or should, unless the person complaining has a personal hang-up about it and is one of those “men should act like men” types. I don’t mean to say Tuc is like that, but gee, I’d like to see some home movies of the gay men who find Cam and Mitch so stereotypical, because I have a feeling some of those same offensive mannerisms would pop up. I like MODERN FAMILY but if others don’t, that’s fine by me; I just question the dynamics behind that type of criticism, and I definitely don’t think likening a broadly gay performance to blackface stands up to any intellectual scrutiny. At all.

  16. Tuc, as jesse Said, we are all different, modern family directors do a great job of making sure each character is different. I think Jesse and Eric are what make their characters enjoyable to watch. When you were on Desperate housewives there were times I didn’t care for some of the pieces you were given. Anyway, congrats on being a father, you met my cousin in Kansas back in June…keep inspiring us!


    Adam & Spencer

  17. December 20th, 2014 at 8:56 pm
    Virginia Harper says:

    I think there are many different types of gay people and Cam and Mitch are just a representation of two types. Just like straight people. There are straight people like Cam and Mitch too let’s not forget. To say it’s like blackface is to dismiss those not like yourself but are maybe a bit more flamboyant than yourself. Why isn’t there room for two very different characters who happen to represent a minority on TV. I’ve known a Cam and a Mitch. In fact the Cam was so flamboyant when he came out to me I had a giggle hugged him and said ‘sweety I know.’ And then just recently my friends brother came out and he is more a Mitch. Very smart dedicated and I tune with his and others emotions. Sweet guy. I have liked Jessie Tyler Furgasons Facebook page and he gets up to some mistuff more than Mitch. Should we say cause Jessie is not exactly like Mitch it’s blackface too. Their characters on a comedy TV show for gods sake. They don’t nesescaraly have to represent anyone if the writers don’t want them too. It’s like saying we shouldn’t have fiction in our lives. Well I like all the characters on the show. And will continue to watch and buy the DVD’s till I’m old and grey. Yay Modern Family!

  18. I love Mitch and Cam…MF is one of the best shows ever!!

  19. itbis just a tv show. Just turn it off girls

  20. Now who us this Tuc person you speak of????
    I just hate that so many gay men who spend all their spare time at the gym (not that anything is wrong with that) but they seem to all feel that if you are gay but you don’t fit their physical stipulations, you’re just not good enough to part of “their” community.
    I love Modern Family and yes, Cam is over the top but so what. He makes the show even funnier. Each character is great.
    Guys like this Tuc person turn me against “that stereotype”. Of course they are good eye candy buy usually worshipping themselves comes first.
    I’m glad we’re all different.

  21. He’s entitled to his own opinion and not liking a show is his choice, so there’s no need for any argument; we only know his opinion because he’s a “celebrity”. Mitch & Cam aren’t designed to represent everyone, just like Gloria doesn’t represent every Latina, just like Luke doesn’t represent every teenage guy etc etc. Comparing this to blackface is incredibly tactless. Tuc’s comments are unnecessary and unprofessional, who knows if they were scouting him for a role and now he’s blown it? Also, didn’t he play the same character in Desperate Housewives (a 44 min show compared to a 20 minute comedy), why doesn’t he criticize those writers? :-/ Speaking as a straight person who didn’t really understand gay culture and to a large extent still don’t, Mitch & Cam have really opened my eyes to the fact that at the end of the day all of us all want LOVE and family.

  22. My son has a gay dad who has not been in his life at all, a man who is incredibly uncomfortable with being gay, a man who couldn’t admit it to himself until very late in life. My son loves Mitch and Cam. It is wonderful that he has some gay dad role models who show him not everyone is embarassed to be gay. They make my son laugh and teach him that there are many different types of gay dads and not all of them are like his. I can’t thank Jesse and Eric enough for giving my son a different perspective. <3

  23. If by ‘stereotypical’ he means effeminate then so what many gay men are! It’s much worse and dishonest to be ‘straight acting’ which are the type of gays that seem it off by this.

  24. My partner and I are so not like the gay couple on Modern Family, however we do know couples that are very similar. Our mundane life is happy, but not silly enough for a comedy show. There are alot of different type gay couples, just like heterosexual couples.

  25. As a heterosexual, shame on you. It is television. You think that I base any of my romances or relationships on TV? The beauty of the show, is how it handles the family relationship. Jay can’t walk into the house without announcing his arrival, that is real. There are fathers like that. There are many couples that adopt babies from other countries and cultures and such, that dynamic is hilarious. The show is not about the gay relationship. It is how it works in a Modern Family. God bless Cam and Mitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. December 20th, 2014 at 10:00 pm
    Harlem Calleja says:

    Jesse Tyler Ferguson summed it up beautifully. Enough said.

  27. I have had feelings in both directions about a number of characters. But it does occur to me that stereotypes of all sorts fill not only TV, but plays, literature, & graphic arts. Do I really have to remind Tuc and others of The Airhead Blond? the Velly Girl? the Dumb Jock? The Amoral Lawyer? The Crooked Politician? TV is not alone looking for a quick and cheap laugh at some character’s expense.
    But I also prefer the increased visibility of LGBT people on TV to the days when, on the extremely rare occasion that an LGBT (usually G, occasionally L) character was portrayed as damaged and deserving of censure, if not death.
    Actor Michael Greer, who played a flamboyant queen in 1969′s The Gay Deceivers was always proud that his character was one of the first who ended up saving the day, just as Albin would in La Cage Aux Folles many years later.
    Maybe Tuc just needs to look back and recognize the progress of the last 45 years. I don’t mean to say more can’t be done, but much has been done.

  28. It’s a comedy. It’s funny they way they interact with each other. Jesse truly said it best.

  29. I honestly never thought of Modern Family as a show filled with stereotypes. After reading this article and some of the comments above, I do understand some of the “cringes” that the show and particularly the characters Cam and Mitch may have caused. However, I personally think some of the barriers that people see this show having is nothing compared to the countless barriers its able to break down. I think the show does such a remarkable job being able to showcase each characters strengths and weaknesses. While they may be in the form of the typical “airhead girl,” “unbelievably attractive immigrant wife,” “feminine gay man,” etc. They are also shown as so much more. While Hailey may not have the smarts of Alex, she is going towards a promising career in something she uniquely excels at (fashion).
    In terms of Cam and Mitch, they may have some stereotypical characteristics, but the show also showcases they are so much more. Cam is able to have an eccentric taste in fashion, but at the same time he shines as a football coach and a hard-working farmer boy. Mitch is able to have a serious career and a more “manly” demeanour, but at the same time they show he can also love his fair share of Lady Gaga and musical theatre.
    I am honestly think this show has made such a leap forward in showcasing a “modern family.” Notice how the show is called “Modern Family,” not “THE Modern Family.” They aren’t saying this is how a gay man should act. It is more about saying this is how even the most unique blend of people can get together and better each other.
    I think everyone who is distracted by some of the stereotyping that is demonstrated in MF, needs to take a step back. Please I ask everyone to watch one episode and try and realize the unique features that each character is given. With this, think about how far popular television has come. I mean we are watching a show with two MARRIED gay men, an adopted child, a 60+ year old new father, a columbian “grandmother,” a poetic football player, etc. I don’t think the writers could have provided us with any more diversity if they tried. And for that I thank everyone involved with this show for providing us with a much-needed weekly dose of wit, love and the opportunity to learn the importance of acceptance.

  30. Coming Soon to Lifetime Channel: Kirk Cameron starring as Tuc Watkins in “Sour Grapes.”

  31. Sorry I don’t see many gay couples like Mitch and Cam represented on TV ANYWHERE! When I see gay men portrayed, they are usually vapid, self absorbed (which I guess they are a bit) but then again so is most of the cast and with less than 3% body fat. I think its wonderful to see men like Mitch and Cam representing the gay community…and love to see they point out that we all don’t have promiscuous sex and wear three size too small clothing!

  32. Sounds like a jealous actor looking for exposure to me. It’s a sitcom. Fiction. Not a documentary or reality show. Cam and Mitch are no more representative of ALL gay couples than Phil and Claire are of straight ones. I don’t see streams of teenage girls complaining that they are NOTHING like Hayley. I doubt that millions of teenage boys will grow up maladjusted because they don’t identify with Luke. Lighten up and laugh, dude!

  33. I think that it is important to keep the two shows separate they are entirely different genres. Modern Family is a sitcom where virtually every actor plays an iconic personality and nearly every every character could be considered offensive on some level. Over-the-top acting on Modern Family is the nature of what makes the show funny. Cam and Mitch’s characters are downright tame compared to Gloria. At the end of the episode, despite there vastly different personalities, there was their family love. Also, Cam and Mitch are in virtually every episode and they share as much airtime as any of the other characters. Desperate Housewives was more of a dark comedy soap opera, and Bob and Lee were recurring characters who were marginal to the storyline. Probably the only character from Desperate Housewives that comically damaged enough to translate to Modern Family was Susan. Everyone else in Desperate Housewives would lack the personality that is the weekly norm on Modern Family.

  34. This post is a bit much.

    Coming from a spray-tanned-muscle-daddy trying to keep his acting career afloat in Los Angeles.

    (Not AT ALL an insult…just a stereotype in his own right.)
    Just saying.

  35. I love Cam and Mitch. I have MET Cam and Mitch (under different names and in different circumstances.) Stereotypes are created from real behaviors and we all know guys like these. If you don’t, you should get some real gay friends. Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson do a wonderful job making my entire family laugh and unstress that I don’t care if the characters are a little “cringey”. Keep up the good work, guys and ignore the “until recently closeted gay actor” who is dissing you.

  36. Sorry to burst your bubble but all the characters have exaggerated traits, that’s what makes it funny.

    If it was a deadpan representation of life as a modern family it would be a documentary not a sitcom.

    I’m not exactly deep in gay culture but I know at least 2 people who act like Cam, but they don’t have the defence of also being football coaches or having been on the team as a teenager. I wouldn’t criticise them for being who they are as being demeaning to homosexuals and I imagine they would be offended to read this little article, I know I am.

    Very offensive and narrow minded comments essentially seems to have just been an opportunity to say “Hey do you remember when I was in desperate housewives? Someone please give me some work, preferably as a gay man with no personality”.

  37. Here’s another layer I want to point out about “Modern Family”: every character (and the dynamic of each couple/family) is essentially a hyper-realized stereotype of a certain “type” of person. The brilliance of the show, is that every character has equal amounts of charm, wit, heart, humor — and flaws. And on some level, each character is allowed to be their own “cartoon” of their type. And often-times even allowed to be buffoons. Lovable, relatable buffoons. All positive gay portrayals on television are a major triumph, and an evolution. Like someone else pointed out, we’ve come a LONG way from ONLY being seen in a negative light and not a positive one. Cam and Mitch are just the beginning of us being reflected as real and multi-faceted creatures. Remember, gays are fabulous just like snowflakes: no two are exactly alike (thankfully)!

  38. December 21st, 2014 at 3:27 am
    Mk O Flanagan says:

    Well said Matthew, who describes the remarks as femme-ophobic. Like it’s beneath any man’s dignity to have any qualities that society traditionally calls feminine. I think both MItch and Cam have “manly” qualities (I don’t think you’d know Mitch is gay if you saw him in court and we know you wouldn’t know Cam is gay on the football field) but they can also express what rigid thinkers (like Jay) think of as feminine qualities. The writers get a lot of mileage out of this. Which is their job. Modern Family is brilliant and funny because it doesn’t go to cliche.
    I also trust that Jesse Tyler Ferguson and other gay people on the set wouldn’t stand for being trivialised; gay people tend to be politically aware. If they were being used to portray offensive stereotypes they’d be among the first to know.

  39. I agree with Dan. All the characters are a bit exaggerated for comedic purposes. Sure, there may be a few moms as hyper as Claire, boys as precocious as Manny, but they aren’t typical real world people. I think Tuc’s discomfort has more to do with Tuc’s insecurities than with Mitch and Cam.

  40. Tuc is not being fair here. I’ve seen him in two roles, in the film, “I Think I Do” and in a TV show about network TV that I forget the name of. In, both, his character is gay. In the film, he plays an aging soap opera actor obsessed with his looks and showing off his body. He’s dim, but sweet, and ultimately loses the boy but you know he’ll be okay. I honestly felt that was a pretty stereotypical role of a gay man played up for laughs and the butt of jokes, too. I recall his role on the tv show to be a bit more layered, but I think he was very sexually active, which is definitely another stereotype of our community. Let’s face it, stereotypes are funny for a reason… They often have some truth in them. I know some over the top flamers like Cam and Mitch, some muscle clone types like Tuc’s character in the movie and lots of promicuous gay guys, too. Heck, I’ll even fess up to having some of those qualities at certain times. Perhaps we are most uncomfortable with seeing people who act in ways we are ashamed of in ourselves. Maybe Tuc needs to examine why he’s so uncomfortable with Mutch and Cam’s characters. I think it says more about him than it does about the show.

  41. December 21st, 2014 at 4:31 am
    Kenn Gaither says:

    I know and love Jesse with all my heart. I have met Tuc and loved his work on the soap opera OLTL and his work on DH.(not to mention, his role in the independent file “I Do, I Think”)I think there are enough naysayers out there without us “attacking” members of our own community. The gay community is as diverse as any other and Jesse and Eric’s characters are just a valid as Tuc and Kevin’s were on DH.
    And on a personal note to Mr. Watkins, I have been openly gay since I was 19 and at that time worked as a children’s entertainer (yes clown) and now, thirty five years later, I still don the grease paint for the occasional fundraiser or event, even for my husband’s work as Director of Group Sales and Tourism. So unless, you’ve been in ‘every gay household’ I don’t think you’re qualified to judge the validity of the prominent gay characters on MF.
    I hope you’ll take a moment Mr. Watkins and just appreciate the fictional and entertaining diverse gay characters that no appear regularly on the big and small screen. Back in the day, no openly gay actors where known, yet alone able to portray gay characters.
    If it makes you cringe, there just maybe something one recognizes about themselves, that they don’t like….That’s all.

    Happy Holidays. Enjoy your friends and family. Make new memories.

  42. I think Tuc needs to become more comfortable with himself. Modern family is a comedy, not a documentary. It IS well written–even the scenes with Cam and Mitch. Who didn’t laugh seeing Cam stuck in a tree in the park being rescued by a fireman and Mitch having to claim him? Was it silly? Absolutely. Hilarious too. Cam and Mitch love each other and their daughter and their family and are loved by all. Even Mitch and Cam’s fathers have accepted them for who they are. I can’t think of a more positive portrayal of a gay couple on TV than Modern Family. Realistic? It’s a sitcom. People act goofy on sitcoms. The reality is heightened for comedic effect. Are they a stereotype? Well, is Gloria a stereotype? Or Phil and Claire? Is Jay a stereotype? They all have some aspects of stereotype. But the characters are complex enough that they break out of those stereotypes. I don’t know who Tuc hangs out with, but are these characters really that far away from people he knows?

  43. Also, is it “OUT ACTOR” or “OUT OF WORK” actor? What’s he been in?

  44. Hooray Jesse!
    I live in a small town outside of a major metro tourist area and there are “Cam type” gay men along with those that just blend in. Same thing with lesbians. Want yo know why? Because we’re all here to do the best with what God gave us and to not judge others. To sum it up…Tuc, The Eagles wrote a song for you, it’s called GET OVER IT.
    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Seasons Greetings to everyone else.

  45. December 21st, 2014 at 5:32 am
    Tom Johnston says:

    At first I was slightly offended by some of the portrayals in this show, but the writing is just so funny. Part of what makes entertainment work is the exaggeration of characters to make them larger than life. Since this is a comedy the easiest path is to go for many of the stereotypes. There are aspects of both characters that are not typical. As I grow older I begin to see that typical is just a collection of possible traits. When someone young tells me that they are gay or lesbian I always tell them that there are no rules. They get to decide who they are and how to act. I am looking forward to future diverse characters.

  46. I honestly don’t know if Mitchell and Cam are stereotypes because I honestly don’t really know any gay couples. I do feel, though, that stereotypes are the stock in trade of all sitcoms, movies, stories, etc. Stereotypes are all over–Look at Big Bang Theory: nerdy nerds, hot blonde girl. The character of Penny has often seemed like a prop; she has only just been shown at her job and I don’t think she even has a last name! Anyway…entertainment starts with stereotypes because the characters must seem familiar, or people can’t engage. Then there is all this room in those characters lives to flip the stereotype and explore nuances. That’s what keeps people engaged. As for Modern Family, are Mitch and Cam stereotypes? I don’t know. As a straight person I’m not sure I get to make that call. I do know that Mitchell and Cam are my favorite characters. I just adore their relationship.

  47. Aren’t ALL of the performers on “Modern Family”, by design, a bit ‘over the top’? It’s not written to be ‘reality television’ (which isn’t real, either). Mitch and Cam, as portrayed, wouldn’t fit on “Law and Order”, but they’re a hilarious, heartwarming, and perfect fit on “Modern Family”.

  48. my problem with Modern Family is that most episodes center on the family’s dislike or intolerance of someone. There’s nothing modern or funny about it. I don’t care how many Emmys you’ve won, you’re still open to criticism.

  49. I disagree with Tuc. These ‘stereotypical’ gay characters are not being vilified or made fun of, they are being loved and embraced by their family on the show and by their many viewers and fans. That sends a far more powerful message of acceptance than if these gay characters were merely ‘passing’ as straight.

  50. Mr. Watkins,

    I completely disagree with you. Perhaps your time would be better spent working to combat the real problems facing the LGBT community such as the right wing nutbars who are talking about executing gays. Whether Mitch and Cam are “too much like stereotypes” is the least of our worries.

  51. I agree with Tuc. Watching MF with friends leaves me feeling ashamed (I’ve been out&proud all my life). Dont see anything funny or engaging in pair of saccharinesweet panicking clumsy men

  52. Tuc should go back and review desperate housewives…the writers on that show made them so steroetypical. The partner was over the top while Tuc played the “straight” gay. And the way they handled the gay kid wasn’t much better. Bravo to ABC for putting out a much better show so many years later

  53. how THE ENTIRE HELL would be know what blackface feels like? Don’t do that. You have the pleaser of being a gay white male. You have no clue what black feels like. At least they cast gay actors to play in Moderm Family. Blackface was used when black people weren’t good enough to play themselves on a screen or stage with white people. I can’t take this argument seriously anymore.

  54. “Shapes, sizes, etc.” really?

  55. Cam and Mitch being gay is “modern” because their families are very accepting and loving of them no matter what. Even their dads have learned to become accepting and I think that shows how “modern” it is. People are becoming more accepting of gays! Also, Cam and Mitch are breaking down stereotypes while being completely aware of the gay stereotypes. I think the best part of them is when they catch them selves living up to a “gay stereotype”. It is hilarious! Bringing up stereotypes isn’t a bad thing. I am gay, I have no problem with it. It’s hilarious for me to watch.
    There is a new show called Blackish which the main character Dre tries to breakdown stereotypes too! There is no difference in what these shows are doing. Modern Family and Blackish are both showing how times have changed and people are becoming more accepting. Both of these shows are bringing up stereotypes and knocking them right down.

  56. I don’t see “Mitch & Cam” as 80′s stereotypes at all. The comment doesn’t make sense to me. All I know is my husband & I love Modern Family & all of the characters on the show. As someone commented earlier Tuc & his partner on Desperate Housewives were characters who were not front & center but Mitch & Cam are very much front & center on Modern Family. And as Jessie Tyler Ferguson mentioned the characters Tuc & his tv partner played probably helped to open that door. I thank him for that too! Bringing a diverse group of characters front & center on TV is a big accomplishment. Modern Family is such a great show with great actors & great writers. Maybe Mitch & Cams characters will cause some less open minded individuals to be more open minded.

  57. First thing, everyone needs to stop trying to be haters and say that he’s jealous. He was on one of the longest running soap operas for many years and on a very famous show for a long time as well as well as countless others and on is a show right now, compared to many people that are on a show that’s a big deal now who were never heard of before that. He’s being honest when asked an honest question. As a gay man I know exactly how he feels, there is something in the writing and performance of those two characters that is dated and awkward that makes me not watch the show. It just feels uncomfortable. I really hope Americans don’t have to be pandered to that way to be entertained. I really do think things can be upgraded a notch.

  58. i too feel that the gay couple are the weakest characters in the show. They represent the worst of gay life. I am often embarrassed by their attitudes and actions. They are mean, petty and don’t express the fun that Phil does or Gloria and others. For Cam and Mitchell everything is a problem.

  59. December 21st, 2014 at 9:10 am
    David Travis says:

    And remember, this is just ONE example of a gay couple. There’s something for everyone, and enough to go around. If you want something different, try another show. TV gets GAYER by the minute.

  60. The real issue is non-gays playing gay.

    This isn’t the ’90s where people need to be afraid of being gay. Most of Hollywood is run by gays behind-the-scenes and almost every show/movie has a gay character. Why is it though that almost every “gay” on the screen is a non-gay in real life?

    It’s disgusting how little respect gay people get yet they don’t say or do a thing about it, especially in an industry that is suppose to be all about equality. Hollywood is the most hypocritical and prejudice industry around yet the most vocal in telling America how to live.

  61. Mr. Watkins – I agree with JTF, ChrisP and JLF. MF is a fun twist on lots of stereotypes including Colombians, Realtors and teenagers….not mean spirited AND oh so funny. There are way bigger battles to be fought.

  62. I don’t just see them as a gay couple, I see them as a couple who has ups and downs. I see them as a loving and funny couple. It’s a sitcom so jokes will be written for all the characters. I appreciate the show and have quite a few laughs watching it.

  63. I think this is the best sitcom to come along since the classics of MTM, All in the Family and others……so brilliant in each way: writing, acting, directing, filming. Stereotypes are such because they do ring true; at the same time, the show defies them almost simultaneously as Mr. Ferguson has written about Cam. We should celebrate the amazing variation found within the LGBTQ community. I howl with laughter at some of the episodes when the couple get together with Pepper and friends. They are accurate !

  64. Anytime Modern Family comes on I have to shut off the TV, Cam and Mitch absolutely set my teeth on edge. I have to absolutely agree that this is a modern day black face. The portrayal is a go to among Hollywood because of the age old stereotypes. I realize that the characters aren’t meant to be a representation of the entire gay community, but it is still detrimental as it stands as yet another pair of over the top stereotypical characters. It is exactly this sort of thing that makes it hard to be an out professional in a straight dominated and highly heteronormative career setting.

  65. Thank God Tuc so perfectly captured EVERY gay person and could stay away from stereotypes. What a tremendous accomplishment. While still being closeted. Maybe give Mitch and Cam a break.

  66. I agree with Tuc…. You don’t have to be extremely gay to be funny!

  67. December 21st, 2014 at 1:04 pm
    Gerry Fisher says:

    I’ve seen conversations about this recently, and I think several topics get mixed up: bristling over stereotypes versus a dislike of a certain kind of LGBT person. I’m a gay man, I’m cool with things such as gender queer folks, effeminacy, camp, and drag, though my style is more “bear jock.” Having said that, I can’t *stand* “queens” and “divas,” that high drama, high maintenance, mean-spirited wit, and over-the-top need to hog the spot light.

    Now, Cam isn’t mean, but he’s a big queen, and I find him annoying; I could *never* partner with someone like Cam without ending up killing him. Mitch, on the other hand, is a bit neurotic and OCD, but I find him “quirky” and OK as opposed to annoying. All in all, they aren’t my favorite gay couple on TV, but they are “common,” and I have no trouble chuckling at their foibles.

    In my opinion, part of LGBT progress is feeling secure enough to allow same-sex couples be shown in a less-than-perfect light and to be able to laugh at them and ourselves. We should be able to call out an overbearing queen within our community without being a “traitor to the cause,” and we should be able to depict an overbearing queen–especially in a comedy–without the community trying to suppress it as stereotype.

    Cam’s not a stereotype. He’s an overbearing, overly self absorbed pain in the butt.

  68. Minus clown my husband and I can be seen as very Mitch and Cam. Sometimes we are over the top and sometimes we are very laid back and boring. Entertain takes a piece of reality and then blows it up to keep our interest. I have never crindged at anything on Modern Family. However more than once I have looked at my husband and said that is so you. He has done the same. I can’t speak for everyone but I am thankful for being represented on such a popular show. Good for Modern Family for showing a loving gay family who are hardworking loving and yes flawed. Without those flaw there would be no humor then no one would watch.

  69. Bob and Lee were body-image-obsessed, partier, socialite, bitchy-to-a-fault gay stereotypes on Desperate Housewives, and it actually nauseates me to read Tuc complaining about the portrayal of gay men on Modern Family. I know which gay couple *I’d* rather be friends with and have in my life, and they don’t live on Wisteria Lane.

  70. Give me a break. Did he cringe at Will & Grace, Queer as Folk, The L Word, etc.. Stereotypes as he says are based on real people’s actions and mannerisms. And the decade is irrelevant. Tuc knows full well he’d leap at the opportunity to play either roll!
    As a television sitcom two versions of Will is not funny, but add a slightly more dramatic character to balance each other. As an ACTOR he should know that diversity in characters is real life. Not Tuc’s version of how gay should be portrayed. His comments are meant to bring attention to himself, keep his name in circulation, and try and seem relevant. Instead of attacking characters built by talented actors one gay and one straight, how about celebrating the fact that two gay characters are so accepted and celebrated.

  71. BLACKFACE? How stupid are you people? Blackface was originally created during the days of segregation when African Americans weren’t allowed on TV or in media. In its origin it wasn’t meant as a derogatory racist thing. Blackface was also Caucasian people with overly exaggerated facial features and black paint on their faces. In no way does that outdated racists form of entertainment compare to gay characters playing their own races, genders, etc.. They are not characters played by two straight men making fun of their ideas of what HOMO’s act like.
    Let’s discuss contemporary Hollywood BLACKFACE, movies and television shows where Asian characters are played by Hispanic actors/actresses. Johnny Depp playing a Native American, Angelina Jolie being considered to play Pocahontas, minority actors being told they’re not playing ethnic enough.
    So yes please compare two gay characters in a blockbuster show to a racist form of entertainment. And while your at it please compare birth videos to child porn.

  72. Mitch and Cam are by far my most favorite characters on Modern Family – and that’s exactly what they are: characters!! I have watched the show since episode 1 and have not missed one since it began. Jesse couldn’t have summed it up better – you can’t please everyone! I’m sure there are people who aren’t crazy about Claire, Phil, etc – who cares?! As a huge Desperate Housewives fan, I’m sad to hear these comments.

  73. Perhaps Tuc is still struggling with his own insecurities. I know I don’t always think drag queens are funny. They’re over the top. It doesn’t represent me as a person but it does represent a select group. We aren’t all made the same way. Some are masculine, some are more feminine. All of that said, it is frustrating when the only elements of gay events, such as Pride, are the outrageous. There are many of us who are just average people who don’t have to be extreme just because we are gay.

  74. Left out: only gay events that receive media attention… Are the outrageous…

  75. I think it’s sad that gay culture has supposedly progressed to the point that gay men who probably describe themselves as “straight acting” condemn “gay acting” gay men as being the equivalent of black face. I remember a gay culture that celebrated difference and independence and that culture would NEVER have been called narrow minded. Not so nowadays when part of gay culture has decided that blending in and being inconspicuous among straights is more important than self expression. Acting gay used to mean you were unafraid.

  76. Totally agree.

    It’s like when gay men play gay men on TV. They’re almost always act way more gay then they are in real life.

    I call it the “Big Brother Affect.” The general American viewing TV audience can only handle their gay guy characters as flamboyant and nonthreatening. Your typical housewife and husband can’t deal with the attractive, self confident gay man. The housewife would feel threatened and the husband would feel turned on.

  77. December 21st, 2014 at 10:51 pm
    Gerard Salvador says:

    As a contemporary of Jesse Tyler Ferguson who grew up in a world watching Billie Joe McAllister jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge or Montgomery’s descent in Fame, I can only say how envious I am of the young gay youth across America who are watching Modern Family on prime time network television (and now in syndication).
    Mitch and Cam are showing our new young gay youth a facet of a world that I never thought a normal accepted lifestyle.
    I grew up a very impressionable gay adolecent in the height of the early AIDS epidemic and was very scarred by comments and musings that adults presented before me during that time.
    Modern Family is bringing forward tales of truth, love, understanding and yes mishaps that happen in everyone’s everyday lives in the form of a situation comedy. Would one argue about Lucy working in a chocolate factory or selling Vitameatavegamin?
    No, Mitch and Cam are not every gay man but they are men I have met, loved and still cherish.
    I applaud the actors and writers of this show for showing America a wildy diverse world I wish I was exposed to when I was young.

  78. I laugh all the time at Cam and Mitchell. Sure they are characters but they ALL (cast) are. I mean, neurotic Claire, clownish but lovable Phil and Sophia…a Latina caricature for sure. But if the showed them changing diapers, fighting to get Lily dressed in the morning and watching cartoons with her, who would want to watch that? Like all the characters on that show they are exaggerations of bits of truth we see in people. At least I recognize it from gay couples I know.

  79. These people exist. Stop being bigoted against gays who happen to be effeminate. It’s really self-loathing.

  80. Same problem with Big Bang theory. Those are some stereotypical nerds

  81. I love Modern Family and enjoy all of the characters. I think of Cam & Mitch as simply two people who are who they are, regardless of sexual preference. I also really liked the two characters that played a gay couple on Desperate Housewives. They were simply great real people who were also very funny. And gay, but who cares? Perhaps the issue here is that not everyone is fully comfortable with “the issue”, whether they themselves are straight or gay. The fact that it’s even mentioned is quite interesting and positive, in my opinion.

  82. Watkins has been out for years, actually. I think since he did the indie, “I Think I Do,” but certainly since his DH stint.

    He has a point – Cam is a bit of a minstrel show (Stonestreet being straight makes that a bit more on the nose). And the “It’s just a sitcom” argument has been floating around for years, specifically for Will & Grace. But actually Ferguson balances that pretty well.

    I personally enjoy the show, but I get where he’s coming from.

  83. When Modern Family debuted in 2009, I thought it was just going to use its characters to embody stereotypes and display the show’s attempt at broad humor: 1)the hot, trophy wife married to the sugar daddy, 2)the gay married couple with all their foibles, and 3)the other straight married couple with the three kids and all their assigned traits.

    In its 6 seasons, I feel that the writers of Modern Family have done well to showcase a different kind of humor from what I thought it was going to mine over the course of the show’s run on network television. It’s rather good and funny subversive humor. Is it Brechtian satire? No, but its exploration of stereotypes actually turns them upside down, nonetheless.

    Beyond the funny lines and funny situations, the writers may want the audience to think about why stereotypes still exist today and why, for a [Western] society that is deemed to be progressive, we still have instant recognition of these stereotypes. Further, the writers may suggest that stereotypes are ultimately reductive, that they should be transcended. I think the show gives credit to its audience for having a sense of humor and, more importantly, for being able to discern that each character is greater than the sum of its parts.

  84. I kind of have to agree with Tuc. As a gay man, I don’t watch Modern Family but was a fan of Will & Grace. I do believe these shows were meant for a cross over audience, gay and straight because straight people ‘like’ and prefer gay people to act..well gay, as in stereotype. Anything other than flamboyancy, the straight fans of these shows get turned off. Desperate Housewives gay characters were not flamboyant enough, thus they stayed in the background (after all, the show was about housewives), but another great show which I liked was Brothers & Sisters, a serious role for a gay couple (Kevin and Scotty), but they were not flamboyant enough and the straight half of the audience lost interest, the show was cancelled, not with an ending. When we lose the gay stereotype in TV, movies, the ‘fun’ goes away for the audience, specifically the straight ones, and that is who producers, writers try to appease. The failing soap opera’s are proof of this, One Life To Live and All My Children finally had serious gay character roles without the stereotype before being axed by the network. The ‘normalcy’ of gays, especially, gay men, seem to make straight people uncomfortable, the stereotype is all they know. I would highly recommend Where The Bears Are (You Tube series) to the straight people who really want to know a part of the gay community. This series will probably never make it to network TV because the characters are ‘normal’ and not a written stereotype.

  85. Am I the only one not to target Mitch-Cam as gay, Phil-Claire as etero, Gloria-Jay as etero? They’re a couple. FULL STOP. I don’t care if they’re male-male, woman-male, woman-woman or whatever. Just like I am engaged/married to my partner they are to each other.

    Tuc has probably forgotten, since the series is over since a while, how was his partner in the series? He wasn’t exactly a macho man all of a piece not going around freaking out and screaming high. I believe that ERIC STONESTREET is doing a terrific job and I’ve had a bestfriend for 15 years to be just like him, easily in panic, high voice tones and sparkling floreal shirts and I found him absolutely unique and awesome (or I wouldn’t have been friend to him for 15 years!).

    And to whoever is the one who said ‘The problem is non-gay people to play gay-characters!’ so I assume that Matt Bomer is doing a terrible job playing in anything that it doesn’t involve being gay? It’s a kind of speech of such mental closure that I’m disgusted and scared being a human in this century.

    Perhaps, Mr. Tuc should feel a little less touchy for his sexuality and just enjoy it for the best in his life.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, not gay, lesbian, black, white, yellow, jewish, christian or whatever else. We are just humans, living in the same place (and some of us not because they wanted to) and we should possibly share much love to each other, instead of chriticizing and accusing each other.

  86. Tuc, you obviously do not know many gay people. As a married gay couple of 23 years we have many friends that are just like Mitch. And as a strong football player of 9 years growing up I also relate to Cam. Your comments are what is wrong with gay community. Your bigoted comments keep us separated within our community. There are all types of gay people and until we all respect our own differences within our community we will never get the respect from outside of our community.

  87. I think Mr Tuc has to be aware that the comedy of the show comes from how funny the situations are, how the nuances of these characters influence the world they live in, and not as a result of the “gayness” of the characters. The show is an archetype, and this is because of the unique characters that are placed in show’s universe. You can’t exactly expect all the the gay community to be represented by two homosexual characters on the show (although, I could argue that the writers did a great job doing that anyway, with the episodes that featured other homosexual characters). Mitch and Cam are not prototypes of what gay people are, they are just representation of Mitch and Cam.

  88. I think Tuc is just jealous of the show’s (and the actor’s) success.

    His gay role just didn’t achieve the cultural resonance that Cam and Mitch have achieved. Mainly due to the fact his character was boring and flat.

    Modern Family is an over-the-top comedy, and the characters support that goal. In fact, they do it very well.

  89. December 23rd, 2014 at 9:02 am
    Robb C. Sewell says:

    I’ve long been a fan of Tuc’s, going way back to his days on “One Life to Live.” But I have to admit that I find his comments quite intriguing and, dare I say, hypocritical. Just recently, Tuc was a member of the cast of the web series “Where the Bears Are.” If I remember correctly, “Where the Bears Are” also featured “80s stereotypes,” including a flamboyant gay airline attendant. Why malign “Modern Famiily” yet appear on a series that seemingly perpetuates the same “stereotypes” you criticize?

  90. I love Cam and Mitch and Eric and Jesse. Mostly I think, because they are not stereotypical in one very important way: They seem incredibly average. They do not seem like “Typical Hollywood” people at all. I like Tuc as well, but find his rugged good looks to be somewhat intimidating, and could be described, in a sense, as a stereotype of the kinds of men Hollywood has been portraying to the world for the past 80 years. Rock Hudson wasn’t a star because he was gay… he was a star because of his square jaw and easy smile…. Kind of like Tuc.

    Eric and Jesse are stars because they are instantly relatable, even if their characters are “easily categorized” as “that kind of gay”.

  91. I agree with the comments Mr. Watkins made. As a gay man who was never in the closet, and who is completely comfortable with his sexuality, I cringe at the Modern Family characters, where I disagree with Mr. Watkins is that I cringe at all of them even if it a sit-com as so many here have pointed out. Reruns of the Jeffersons’ are equally uncomfortable and while that program was hailed in its own era it has not aged well and neither will Modern Family for the same reasons. The point though that I am trying to make, (with the comparisons), is that Mr. Watkins was speaking about the characters and the representation they bring across. No where did I read that he was speaking directly about either of the actors as individuals. Many of the reviewers here though have decided to comment about Mr. Watkins as an individual and not about the roles he played and that in itself screams stereotype and not a good one. You don’t have to dislike yourself as a gay man to say that Mitch makes me uncomfortable.

  92. So you have a problem with stereotypes? I wonder if wealthy older guys have a problem watching Jay and Gloria onscreen? Humor is rooted in stereotypes Don’t be so uptight, folks.

  93. I totally disagree. Cam & Mitch are carbon copies of so many of my married gay friends. Their characters of real people, NOT characatures. I understand the trauma of being called a sissy as a young gay boy – but I for one embrace my effeminism and I’m not ashamed to see it portrayed on TV – I’m proud.

  94. As a big fan of Modern Family it seems to me like Tuc is missing the point. Mitch & Cam are one of three families portrayed on the show -all may be stereotypical & nuanced in their own way. As a hetrosexual Mom I actually identify with Mitch and Cam the most as I am at the same stage in my relationship with my husband as they are….newly married and with a small baby. Like Mitch & Cam we are trying to find our way as we navigate the murky world of crèche, school and all that comes with having a small child. Also I should add that I have a gay sister and brother both of whom are not and yet who are at the same time stereotypes!

  95. All the characters in the show are stereotypes (I prefer caricatures) of real life. Lighten up. I have friends that are that camp and I have the ones that are ‘offended’. I prefer camp. I am campish when it suits me and unlike some, I am out at work…..

    Desperate housewives…..hmmm are all housewives desperate for something…..

  96. It’s SATIRE! yikes, folks.

  97. Poor Tuc. I know that it must upset him – those tired old stereotypes of gay guys. I wonder if he remembers the stereotypical gay couple that he and Kevin Rahm played on Desperate Housewives. You know, that was when the gay couple was composed to two guys – one was scripted to be kinda manly, and the other not so manly and a bit catty – who moved into the neighborhood, were never really written into the storylines, would take off their shirts now and then and flex, but were mostly treated as curiosities. WHAT? NO! You mean the closeted guy who played the more manly one, THAT was Tuc Watkins? Surely you jest! I think Tuc is very jealous that he has no “starring roles” and in some fashion thinks “he should be in one of those roles”. ME? Frankly I am sick to death of “Hollywood” portraying every gay couple as being composed of two guys who are muscle body obsessed, club hopping, expensive car driving, vapid airheads. WHAT I LOVE about Cam and Mitchell is that they don’t walk around shirtless. That they aren’t unrealistically wealthy. That they have flaws. That they could be any gay couple outside of Palm Springs, LA, P-Town, Miami or New York City. The characters are beloved because they remind us of us – those of us who live everywhere. Tuc, get some help.

  98. Cam’s character is fine. Being played by a str8 is “gay face” and inexcusably sexist. Where could you find a gay actor in Hollywood?

  99. Modern Family is not a tv show for gays, it’s for EVERYONE . not everyone want to watch a REAL depiction of gay relationships . and it’s not just about cam and mitch , all the characters in this show ar unreal . cam and mitchell are a toned down version of gay couples and it’s fine by me (not that i watch the show anymore since season 1)

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