Monday, June 13, 2011

Racialicious looks at Modern Family's adoption storyline

Funny and insightful take on the transracial adoption storyline in ABC's Modern Family, starting with the book white, gay parents wrote for their Vietnam-adopted daughter, titled "Two Monkeys and a Panda:"
Liz: Ok Amber… a Panda? Really? I know Modern Family likes to make a joke of the ignorance of Cameron and Mitchell when it comes to their transnational adoption, but I had to roll my eyes.

Amber: Girl, I was rolling mine too. I cringe often when Cam and Mitchell talk about Lily. The writers do attempt to make a joke of the ignorance, but I think when it comes to Lily, it gets really hard for me to just laugh it off. For one, Cam and Mitchell seem to be completely OK with exoticizing Lily most of the time. What is that about? Modern Family is so interesting because even though it does show different familial structures, most of the characters are white and upper middle class. :-/

Liz: Yeah, I’m always amused that this show is called Modern Family, as if it’s the “new” family. I’m usually thinking, “whose family is that?” As far as the jokes, I find myself sometimes laughing at the ignorance (cuz the reality is there are ignorant parents) and sometimes cringing when the joke is played less as criticism and more as “awwww look how silly but really cute they are…she’s a panda!” Because you’re right, the jokes exoticize Lily.
Go read the whole thing -- you'll be glad you did!


Amanda said...

It's a clever show. I just cannot get past the adoption part of it though. I think some of the things they say are completely ignorant.

DannieA said...

I kinda cringe too at times...mostly because if my cousin and his husband were to ever adopt, people may think that they are ignorant too when they are the most grounded people I know

(speaking of cousin, he was on Modern Family twice...both times as a caroler...had to just say that :) )

Anonymous said...

It's satire. The whole show is over the top, and you can't really get upset about any of it if you're going to watch it. The gays in the show are more flamboyant than most gays. The rich dad lavishes over his richness (including his trophy wife), the unassuming dad is cast as a dumb and dumber type of character.
That's what makes it FUNNY. So, to set aside one part of it and say "that's over the top" is....well, overanalyzing the comedy of it. I just dont see anything different in how the gay parents treat their IA daughter, than any other over emphasized characters on the show...and because they do it to all the characters, I am not offended by that. I would have to be offended by the entire show if I was going to be offended by that one aspect of it.

Anonymous said...

I think the show is very funny and really have not given much thought to the adoption theme. Really, when we it down to watch TV at the end of the day it is escape stress and have a few laughs.

Anonymous said...

I'd say lighten up. It's a comedy. Everything about it is exaggerated and over the top. There are plenty of gay people in my family and few act like Cam, but we can all laugh at it. Personally, I get a kick out of it when a comedienne makes fun of my ethnic background as long as it's in a lighthearted, non-hateful way. There are all kinds of things that people say as part of comedy that make you cringe, but it's comedy. If the show focused on their dealing with attachment issues and paperwork sure, it would be realistic, but not funny. I really don't think it's meant to hurt anyone's feelings, and if it upsets you don't watch it.