Following the series’ fourth consecutive Emmy win for best comedy series, season five of “Modern Family” premiered Wednesday night at 9 p.m. on ABC with “Suddenly Last Summer” and “First Days”.
“Modern Family” is back in action, and the Pritchett-Dunphy family has returned to its usual antics: Gloria is shrill; Alex is obsessing over AP tests before the new school year has begun; and Cam is trying to bring a little fabulous into the classroom. The two episodes of the premiere cover the whole summer and update us as to what’s been going on. Some of the highlights include Claire returning to work at Jay’s company and Manny and Luke starting high school.
Yet the main focus of the premiere is the recent Supreme Court decision overturning California’s Proposition 8 and what it means for Cam and Mitchell’s relationship. “Modern Family” isn’t the first show to celebrate this momentous time in history, and it certainly won’t be the last. Yet what made the series’ take on the issue so special was its commentary on love and marriage in general and for all couples, not simply same-sex ones.
After the announcement in the Prop 8 case, Cam and Mitchell began plotting ways to propose to the other and subsequently to dodge the other’s attempted marriage proposals, each wanting to be the one to “pop the question”. They involved the family in helping them set up romantic scenes to make the day as special and memorable as possible. However, while driving home, they got a flat tire, crushing both of their plans. As they begin putting on the spare, they start reminiscing about their life together and propose at the same time.
Cam and Mitchell and their proposal teach us that a successful relationship, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, is about love and dedication. It’s not about a wild proposal or a gorgeous wedding (although their wedding no doubt will be fabulous), but about what comes before and after. It’s about knowing that other person and his or her flaws—Cam’s obsession with dressing like a clown for family functions, Mitchell’s desire to always be right—and still wanting to spend the rest of your life with him or her. Cam and Mitchell never needed marriage to make their relationship work (unlike as seems all too often the case for those who have never been denied the right to marry); they simply wanted the right to express their love for each other just as Phil and Claire, and Gloria and Jay have.
Watch ‘Modern Family’ on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m.