Modern Family, “The Kiss”: Who’s the better kisser, me or your dad?

I don’t know exactly how much of a groundswell of support there was for ‘Modern Family’ to portray Cameron and Mitch as an actual gay couple, rather than two guys with good fashion sense who happened to be raising a kid together, but I feel like “The Kiss” was a response to whatever criticism was out there. There was a bunch of stuff tonight that all tied back to kissing, everyone gets together for a big family dinner, the focus is on Cam and Mitch, and then, AND THEN…the camera pans away as the two share a small peck in bad lighting. Ugh. Or, equality!

I’m not saying that I want to catch the two of them dressed up in their gimp-garb (that phrase is considered intellectual property, so hands off) exchanging safe-words, but I’ve always thought that they seemed like a very genuine couple. It was the show’s hands-off policy with the two of them that always kept them from feeling like fully realized characters. They were almost there, but not quite. So I guess I have to give the show, and ultimately the network — because I’m positive that this a problem brought on by ABC and not the showrunners — SOME credit. But the quick pan away really felt like the show fumbled the ball, in the endgame.. .on the sidelines, if you’ll allow me to make a sports metaphor.

I guess we could go into the reasons for a decision like this, but it feels like we’d only be treading over the same old ground. There’s obviously a big reluctance out there in TV land to do anything that won’t appeal to every demographic, as evidenced by this year’s incredibly bland and sometimes cringe-worthy pilot season. But what can you do? Watch AMC and HBO, I guess. Have you caught ‘Rubicon’ yet? Pretty good!

The rest of the show had a lot of good beats, so I’m a little hesitant to dock the whole thing too many points. Like I said, I feel this is more of a problem with the network than anything else. So, what about the episode stood out? Phil’s jokes about why the tupperware containers would get separated from their lids. One thing I don’t think will ever get old is Gloria talking about Colombians living up to Colombian stereotypes, which is to say that if you ever cross one, they’ll kill you and use your body as some sort of coke mule. Funny stuff, right? There was also some good stuff in the Alex/Haley story, but not necessarily in the resolution with Alex’s crush and the (not so) surprise discovery that Claire was a real wild child. I’m thinking more of the back and forth between Alex and Haley, specifically Haley’s line about Alex and her lesbian sandals. It only recently occurred to me that, because ‘Modern Family’ will probably stick around for a while, we’re going to be there to watch these kids grow up, at least a little bit, just like we saw with Walt on ‘Lost.’ I’m seeing that with Alex already. Maybe it’s just the age, but her character seems a lot more introverted this season, much more than she was in season one. What does it all mean?

My final post-mortem: It felt like the episode was split into two pieces, and because that second half was so clearly building up to the Cam/Mitch smooch, it came off as really anti-climactic. Some good beats in there, but not enough to overcome the overall “meh-ness” of the episode.

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