Evan Mantel, a television critic for the right-wing, anti-gay organization Media Research Center (MRC), says the season premiere of “Modern Family” brought him to tears (but in a good way).
“I laughed. I cried. It moved me like good art is supposed to do,” Mantel writes of the episode in which the gay couple Cam and Mitchell (played by Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson) get engaged. Mantel admits that he’s in an awkward predicament, being a writer for MRC as well as a fan of the GLAAD Media Award-winning show.
“[‘Modern Family’] relies on feelings which mislead,” Mantel writes in his review. “There is no logical argument in favor of gay marriage, but the sweetness of Cam and Mitchell is touching.”
He adds: “That is what makes this show great. And dangerous.” Mantel concludes by encouraging viewers to watch the show, but to never lose sight of their anti-gay ideals while doing so.
Right-wing commentators who are traditionally unfriendly to gay rights often express affection for the program. Writing for Breitbart.com last year, Christian Toto said it was “routinely hilarious, boasting full-bodied performances” and suggested that it is “sure to resonate with conservatives” even if they dislike Cam and Mitchell (site readers offered mixed responses).
When the show premiered, organization Focus on the Family offered a downbeat but still surprisingly tame assessment: “It’s interesting to note how natural the show’s gay couple appears to be. They merely want to be great parents to their adopted girl, and they try to support each other as best they can through life’s trials and tribulations.”
The conservative Parents Television Council gives the show a relatively mild “yellow light” warning level on account of its general dearth of sexual content (“Glee” and “How I Met Your Mother” get red lights, as did “Will & Grace” when it still aired).
A 2010 survey found that “Modern Family” was the third most popular television choice with registered Republicans. And, most memorably, Ann Romney, former Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s wife, called Modern Family her favorite television show. Adam Serwer, writing for Mother Jones, called the show “subversive in its conservatism.”