The characters of Mitch and Cam become legally married tonight in the second of a two-part episode focusing on their wedding.
The episode airs on the same week that same-sex marriage became legal in the US states of Oregon and Pennsylvania and the marriage equality debate rages on in courtrooms, on cable television and online message boards.
But the creators and cast members of the multiple-Emmy winning ABC comedy have stuck to their unofficial motto of ‘comedy first’ when it comes to their same-sex nuptials.
'We want emotion we want to send a message but if it's not funny then people are going to lose interest really fast,' show creator Steve Levitan said at a party this week celebrating the episode. 'I think its got an abundance of heart but I also think that it's a really funny episode.'
Eric Stonestreet (Cam) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitch) play the grooms who have been together for several years already and are raising an adopted daughter who was introduced in the show's first episode five years ago.
Stonestreet said at the party: '(Our) first and foremost goal is to make an audience laugh. (The fact) that we have these two characters on our show that also get to check in and be cultural touchstones for people who may have questions or may not know what a gay wedding might be - this TV show transcends that.'
Added Ferguson: 'If you are going to have a very sincere moment you have to earn those moments. You have to make sure the audience is with you and knows those characters. That's how we can go to this place of having a really beautiful wedding because the audience knows these characters. It's not something we would have been able to achieve in the first season.'
Ty Burrell, whose character is the brother-in-law to Mitch, said the episode is 'kind of emotional' but not political.
'We've never really been that political of a show,' he said. 'I think it would be more political if Mitch and Cam were sort of trying to circumvent the law, but you know, it being legal in California just felt more like just a wedding, which I guess is what we're hoping for in general … that it's just a wedding.'