It's a season of new beginnings for Modern Family.
Modern Family once again lived up to its name with the season premiere last night, which finally saw the engagement of Mitch (Jesse Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet.) Fans of the show have been rooting for the couple to take the plunge ever since the first season, but with California overturning Prop 8 (a stipulation, which would criminalize gay marriage) back in May, now seemed like the perfect time to make the engagement not only personal to the characters, but also topical.
Eric Stonestreet is the lovable Cam.
"Our goal really was to keep whatever story we were telling very specific to Mitch and Cam and just have the California part of it be the reason, the jumping-off point," writer Jeffrey Richman explained to The Hollywood Reporter of their decision. "As I started writing, I became unexpectedly emotional. I teared up hearing it read. And I completely teared up seeing that moment where they both just say 'yes' at the exact same time. That was so moving for me. I felt like, 'OK, maybe I got it right because I never cry at weddings.'"
Jesse Ferguson plays Mitch on the show.
Richman explains that the storyline had been in the works for a long time – Mitch and Cam have been building a family for the duration of the series, after all. What Prop 8 did, was to serve as the catalyst – the reason for the proposal at this particular time. We don't usually do California-centric stories,” he said. “And while we don't really identify where the characters live, we knew we weren't going to send them to another state to get married and they weren't going to have a fake commitment ceremony. We'd avoided that for four seasons. Mitch and Cam have been in a relationship for eight years, they already are a family and they have a daughter, so there needed to be a reason for them to get married. This became the "why now."
Besides its endearing aspect, the marriage storyline is also quite convenient for the show. Richman explains that the fallout from the proposal and of course plans and preparation for the wedding could take up several episodes throughout the season, which would suit the writing team just fine.
“It would give us episodes leading up to a wedding, and we're so hungry for stories. You could see a bachelor party, you could see a party planner, you could see so many things. We spent a lot of time and energy breaking the first story and arcing out potential other stories and then trying to find out, by whatever means we could, how close to being real this was.”
It sounds like Modern Family viewers have quite an exciting season to look forward to.