With a whole lot of buildup, but a distinct lack of fanfare around the actual moment, fans of ABC’s Modern Family finally watched Mitchell and Cam share a kiss; more than a year after the comedy’s debut.
The Emmy Award-winning series sparked controversy in its first season, after a scene showing the gay couple hugging while a straight couple kissed in the same shot inadvertently highlighted a contradiction in the way it depicted physically affection between its main characters. Viewers upset by Modern Family’s reluctance to grant it's gay characters PDA equality soon started a Facebook campaign plainly called “Let Cam and Mitchell kiss on Modern Family!”, which prompted the show’s producers to assure viewers that an episode addressing the subject was already in the works.
Sure enough, the second season’s 2nd episode (appropriately entitled “The Kiss”) identified Mitchell’s (out actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson) personal aversion to PDA as the problem, tracing his hesitance to kiss his partner in front of others back to a lack of physical affection from his father. Finally, in the background of one of the episodes final scenes, Mitchell and Cam had a perfectly ordinary lip lock following a conciliatory moment with his father. However this perfectly ordinary lip lock was witnessed by nearly 12 million viewers on what was prime time’s top rated show in the 18-49 age category.
This certainly wasn’t the first time LGBT viewers have had wait for equal treatment in the kissing department. Melrose Place’s Matt Fielding was one of prime time’s first regular gay male characters, but he never got so much as a peck onscreen. In fact the only filmed scene in which his character does kiss another man was edited before broadcast for fear of a backlash. Half the main characters of the NBC sitcom Will & Grace were gay men, but it wasn’t until halfway through the show’s second season that its main characters famously aired prime time’s first gay male kiss. However, even that was portrayed as two friends making a statement (on The Today Show no less) rather than a romantic moment. Viewers of the CBS soap opera As the World Turns even began a “kiss clock” to track the seven months that went by between kisses by “supercouple” Luke and Noah.
So now that the long awaited moment has finally happened, how does Cam and Mitchell’s contribution stack up against the canon of famous gay TV kisses? Take our poll.