So I’m currently sitting in front of the fire, rather annoyed. I wanted to watch something funny, so I went to hulu and decided to watch the most recent episode of Modern Family. I’m only 10 minutes in and I’m already appalled by how sexist this episode is. Going into it I knew that Modern Family had received some criticism in our class, but I’ve never realized just how sexist the jokes are until this episode. (http://www.hulu.com/watch/434584). Essentially, it’s about Phil and Mitchel trying to stop their spouses, Claire and Cam (Cam is a man but is characterized as a woman in his relationship with Mitchel) from trying to flip a house. However, the entire humor is based on the idea that Claire and Cam are irrational and incapable of doing a good job flipping the house, and Phil and Mitchel know best but are afraid of upsetting their emotional partners, so they have to go over their partners’ heads to stop them from buying/renovating/and reselling the house. At one point, when Claire is expressing why she wants to work and how she wants economic independence from her husband, the joke is that, at she first says it’s so she can contribute to her kids’ educations, but ultimately, it’s because she wants some new shoes.
I’m sure I’m more aware of how insulting the humor is because of our class, but I can’t believe that any other woman watching this show would not be insulted by the implications of the jokes made. I used to think that Modern Family challenged certain gender stereotypes (Phil cries more than Claire, Claire is seen as determined and focused while Phil is seen as a ditz, etc.). This episode, however, is so deeply rooted in offensive gender stereotypes that it’s hard to think of Modern Family as a progressive TV show.