Thursday, January 19, 2012
Modern Family "Little Bo Bleep" Reaction
Wednesday's episode of "Modern Family", "Little Bo Bleep" was controversial before it aired, because one of the main stories involved two-year-old Lily uttering a bleeped-out curse word (Note that on-set, the actress playing Lily was saying the word "fudge", so not to extend the controvery to the actress herself). The funny thing is the people who were demanding that ABC pull the episode probably hadn't seen it, and once the episode aired, it actually turned out to be one of the series' best and most true to life in terms of raising a toddler.
Lily's brush with profanity boiled down to this: she was saying "fuck" (and there's no need for me to bleep it here) because it made Cam laugh. She wasn't saying "fuck you" or "go fuck yourself" or even "what the fuck". She had no comprehension of the word's meaning, and there was no malice behind Lily's use of it. She just heard a word -- the show never got into where she heard it or placing blame on either Cam or Mitch for exposing her to it -- realized it made one of her dads laugh, and so she kept using it.
This isn't an uncommon occurence with toddlers. I remember when my niece first started saying the word "fork", it sounded a lot like "fuck". And my family would laugh when she said it, so she kept saying it. And like Mitchell tried to do with Cam, we tried to keep ourselves from laughing, knowing that was the only thing that was keeping up her frequent reptition of the word. Eventually we contained our laughter, and she eventually figured out how to say "fork", and she stopped saying "fuck".
Obviously in a sitcom universe, Lily was going to say "fuck" in the most inappropriate setting possible, which led to the funniest moment of the episode (non-Autotune category): a church full of people breaking out laughing when she said it right as a wedding was getting started (and again, she only said it because she saw Cam crying and wanted to make him laugh). Why was everyone laughing? Well, because it was funny, dammit. When you separate the word from its meaning -- as Lily has obviously done, since she has no idea of the meaning of the word -- it loses all its power and becomes a source of comedy, rather than negativity.
I'm sure even after seeing the episode, there will be some people who complain about a storyline that has a two-year-old uttering a profanity, but those are the kind of people who are just looking to stir up shit. In reality, Modern Family handled the storyline well, made it funny, and ended up with one of the best episodes of the season.