Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A "Modern" Family

In 2010 an episode of Modern Family titled “Halloween” aired as a part of their second season on television. This mockumentary is based around a “modern family” consisting of many different types of characters. The divorced father, Jay Pritchett, has two kids by the names of Claire and Mitchell. From there, the family extends into many different personalities, making the show fun and entertaining to watch. In the Claire Dunphy family, we see a husband and father named Phil and their three children: Alex, Haley and Luke. The second stem of the family is the Pritchett-Tucker family. Mitchell, the brother of Claire, is in a committed relationship with his gay partner Cam. Together, they have an adopted child from Vietnam, Lily. Finally, we have the Pritchett family. This family contains the “head honcho” of the entire show Jay Pritchett. He is the father of Claire and Mitchell from his ex-wife, and the father of Many whom he has with his current wife. Now, most importantly, we have Jay’s wife Gloria, and this is where the stereotypes begin.

Season 2, episode 6 titled “Halloween”, is where Gloria’s foreign qualities are really amplified in this show. The common stereotypes for a Latina woman are that they are over sensual, passionate, they have huge families and they are loud as can be. In this episode Gloria is trying to Americanize herself because she feels as though she is getting made fun of for her accent. Being the only family member not born in America, Gloria feels like she stands out, which she does not enjoy. All she wants is to be “normal” like the rest of her family. This pertains to America today because around 63% of our country is of foreign descent. Although the looks, the accents and the cultures may be different, it is the differences in people that make us who we are and gives us characteristics to stand out as an individual.

The racial stereotypes of Latina women make Gloria feel as if she is inferior to all of her loved ones, just because she is the only one who is different. Along with her already feeling out of place, her husband Jay makes a comment on how she is always talking about how much she talks about her heritage. The episode is set on the day of Halloween which gives Gloria the perfect opportunity to practice her American accent on all of the children coming to her door. Gloria purposefully makes her accent unbearable to listen to, so that she can go back to the way she normally talks. The point that the show is trying to express how racial stereotypes force people into a self-fulfilling prophecy of how they should look and act in order to be “normal”, and that if you break these strict guidelines you will get criticized. At the end of the episode, Jay ends up apologizing by saying that the way she acts and her personality is the reason that he fell in love with her in the first place.

Due to the events that occurred, Gloria realizes through Jay’s apology that she can’t and shouldn’t change who she is just to fit in with the people around her. This episode is trying to get across is that no matter where you come from, how you look, act, or sound, everyone is special because they are different, not because they’re “normal”. All in all, no matter what personality Gloria has, she is still loved by her entire family because that is what family is about.

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