Ed O'Neill Finds 'Modern Family' Gay Kiss Controversy 'Half Amusing, Half Annoying'
By Gary Susman Posted Jun 5th 2010 08:33AM
The ABC sitcom's critics have noted that its gay couple, Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), has not been shown kissing (or engaging in much public display of affection, for that matter), even though the program hasn't been shy about showing liplocks between Mitchell's sister, Claire (Julie Bowen), and her husband, Phil (Ty Burrell). ABC has said the reticence is Mitchell's, not the network's, and that his squeamishness over PDA will be addressed in a future episode. That hasn't mollified the more than 12,000 Facebook petitioners (so far) who are demanding a Mitchell-Cameron kiss.
O'Neill, who plays Mitchell and Claire's father, Jay, addressed the controversy in an interview with PopEater. Calling from his Los Angeles home, he said he finds the complaint "half amusing, half annoying." He noted that we haven't seen Jay and his sexy young wife, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) kiss either. And, after 20 years of appearances in controversial comedies, O'Neill said that he sees such protests as just another form of show business, not to be taken seriously.
What do you think of the protests over Cameron and Mitchell's muted displays of affection?
Oh, that's so stupid. Who cares? When I hear that, it's half amusing, half annoying. First of all, they're the most conservative family of the three. Mitchell is a lawyer, and Cameron is a stay-at-home mom with a baby.
Would you like to have Jay make out with Gloria?
No. I think it's boring. When people start to make out or kiss or French kiss or caress in a sexual manner, the story stops. Where do you go with that? It's like, "Okay, now, let's see... five seconds, ten seconds, 15 seconds, gee, they're still making out, my goodness, they're actually kissing." Who cares? The story stops.
Do you find any irony in the notion that, 20 years ago, 'Married... With Children' was criticized for going too far, and now 'Modern Family' is criticized for not going far enough?
I couldn't care less. [Laughs.] It's part of the business. The fact is, the critics have a job to do. They're also in show business. We understand that. They have to sell their fish some way, so they have to keep inventing things to write about. So they're going to come up with things that are titillating to read about. From an actor's standpoint, we don't even think about things like that. We have enough to do just to get the show done. That's all I ever think about. Otherwise, you're thinking about things you have no control over and they're just in the way of what you really need to concern yourself about.
Read more from O'Neill's discussion of 'Modern Family' and his where-are-they-now update on the 'Married... With Children' cast in a post on TV Squad. O'Neill also talks about his new movie, 'Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean,' at Moviefone.
► Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.
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