Steve Levitan: 'The minute it becomes our agenda, it loses some of what makes it perhaps special'
It was in the first episode of Modern Family in 2009 that gay couple Cam and Mitch introduced their adopted baby, Lily, to the world.
Since then, the couple – played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet – has been an integral part of the comedy’s Emmy-winning formula.
Other US networks have taken notice.
This fall, Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells star as a gay couple having a baby with the help of a surrogate mother in the NBC comedy The New Normal. And over at CBS, Michael Urie and Brandon Routh play a couple in the sitcom Partners.
Ryan Murphy, the executive producer of The New Normal, doesn’t hesitate in acknowledging the impact Cam and Mitch have had on the American viewing audience who have embraced a gay couple raising a daughter largely without incident.
‘I’m personally just so appreciative to Modern Family and also to Will & Grace because those shows are huge successes, and I think so many people watch those shows and are educated, and those shows changed views,’ Murphy told reporters, including GSN, at the TV Critics Association event in Beverly Hills last Friday. ‘And, yeah, I think that they’re wonderful programs, and I think that we stand on their shoulders in success hopefully, if we’re so lucky. But I’m full of deep admiration for those actors and those characters.’
Gay Star News caught up with Modern Family creator and executive producer Steve Levitan (pictured) at an ABC cocktail party to ask him about Murphy’s remarks that his show have helped the way for others.
‘I hear a lot of stories and we’re very proud about that,’ Levitan said. ‘It may have played a role but if you’re going to say that then you have to say that Will & Grace played a big role in paving the way for us. I think there have been a lot of gay characters on TV in recent years. What’s good is that it’s now being judged on whether or not it’s funny and not whether this is a lifestyle we support.’
‘We just want to continue to tell very real stories about those two people,’ he adds. ‘We don’t have an agenda. The minute it becomes our agenda, it loses some of what makes it perhaps special.’
Levitan said it doesn’t take any extra effort to write about Mitch and Cam as it does about any of the other Modern Family characters.
‘They are based on people we know and, in some cases, people we are, and that’s why it feels real,’ he said.