Text Review Assignment: Modern Family

One of my all-time favorite family shows to watch is Modern Family. When I was younger, my family and I would watch a couple of episodes each night, and each night the show left us all laughing. However, what I failed to see and examine is how the show often refers to identity as many different cultures, lifestyles, and backgrounds are intertwined within this one, big family.

For the purposes of analyzing the show, I would like to focus on season 4 of Modern Family and the identity of the Tucker-Pritchett family, specifically Lily’s identity. Cameron and Mitchell, an American-gay couple, had adopted a Vietnamese-born child, Lily.

The effort to explain and discover Lily’s identity within this modernized family of two gay parents, is most clearly exhibited in season 4 episode 19 called “The Future Dunphy’s.” In this episode, Lily is learning about how parents’ heritage become their children’s heritage in school, so Lily makes the connection that since Cameron and Mitchell are gay, she is too. (9:20). Mitchell and Cameron try to explain that her heritage is actually Vietnamese, but soon realize they do not know much about Vietnam and Gloria, Mitchell’s stepmom, calls them out on their lack of knowledge regarding their daughter’s culture. As a result, Gloria offers the idea to take her to a Vietnamese restaurant, so that Lily can have “a taste of her culture” (10:45).

This episode represents the many challenges and problems that Lisa Ko touches upon in her novel, The Leavers, of interracial adoption and Deming’s Asian-American identity and experience. The result of Lily’s interracial adoption is that she is closed off from the Vietnam culture and exclaims that “she hates Vietnam” (14:41). Some can argue that this is Cameron and Mitchell’s fault as they are uneducated and forcibly assimilated her into White culture earlier in life unconsciously. However, Mitchell and Cameron finally realize that Lily feels the need to say she is gay because she felt lonely and unlike her adoptive parents. So, Mitchell makes the statement that, “The three of us are a family even though we come from different places. You were born in Vietnam and I grew up in a city. But the point is that we’re a family because we love each other.” He also adds that keeping in touch with your heritage only enriches your culture. Although Cameron and Mitchell had been mistaken in the past for not addressing how Lily sees her identity, it was important that they supported and understood that she felt left out as an adopted child and wanted to be more connected to her parents by being gay. In the future episodes of Modern Family and speaking of interracial adoption in general, it is important that Cameron and Mitchell are open-minded about Lily’s heritage and respect however she identifies, as well as make an effort to become more educated and culture about her Vietnamese heritage.

In conclusion, the show uniquely acknowledges different cultural identities while infusing the theme and idea of a loving parent’s influence upon a child’s upbringing. Regardless of the couple’s sexual preference they are able to impact their daughter who wishes to identify with them.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *