The Kids Will Be Sondheimized April 18, 2011

The Kids Will Be Sondheimized

If you watched “Modern Family” this past Wednesday, you saw an episode in which Cam was (interim) directing a musical at Luke and Manny‘s school.

At one point he says the line:

This production was a joke until I introduced these children to the musical theater greats: Bernstein, Sondheim.

Years from now some of these kids will still be talking about the way I sondheimized them.

Funny 🙂 That’s called wordplay. Also known as a joke.

So leave it to the Illinois Family Institute to take that joke and use it as a way to demonize gay people even more:

Recently, homosexual humor during family hour reached a new low. On the ABC sitcom, Modern Family, one of the homosexual characters, Cam, directs a middle school musical.

In the twisted world of Hollywoood and homosexual activism, a play on the word sodomy is hilarious — particularly if it involves children.

Damn. Three sentences. Three uses of the word “homosexual.” It’s like Laurie Higgins was *struggling* to find a synonym but just couldn’t bring herself to type the word “gay.”

Also, did anyone else know there was such a thing as “homosexual humor”? This is news to me. (Though it gives new meaning to the word “slapstick.”)

I guess every gay person (and straight ally) is just a member of NAMBLA, aching to have sex with children, and we’ll get that message out there by writing clever lines for “Modern Family.”

We would have gotten away with it, too, if it were for those meddling Christians.

I know what this is really all about. IFI is just pissed off that a popular TV show has the audacity to use the word “family” in its title when it features a gay couple.

A loving relationship that doesn’t involve one man and one woman is like Kryptonite to them.

***Update***: There are a lot of helpful comments below, but I would direct you to one by Josh Evolved that offers more context for this particular episode, and one by Tim D. that espouses on the joke itself (adding that the character opposite Cam immediately told him he shouldn’t say that word).

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  • Claudia

    A loving relationship that doesn’t involve one man and one woman is like Kryptonite to them.

    Absolutely. A proper “family values” relationship needs to have one man, and one woman…

    …and one male prostitute
    …and one underaged male page
    …and one anonymous traveler
    …and one rentboy

    Ah yes, family values

  • asonge

    It’s just so cute that you watch the IFI so hard. I would to if a bunch of theocratic hatemongers tried to get me fired. You know, they can’t have abortions so you can steal babies really easy (there’s so many, they don’t notice when the weak one is picked off the end of the pack)…and they’re tenderized and stewed in hate.

  • Jon

    I think both the IFI response and this post miss the point.

    It was a joke about a teacher sexually abusing children. Since when did this become suitable subject matter for comedy?

  • Gail

    I love how they automatically saw it as a “homosexual joke” just because it’s about sodomy. I think a straight person could have made the joke and it still would have been funny. Apparently sodomy=gay, despite the fact that straight people can have anal sex too.

  • I don’t think there’s any subject matter that’s not suitable for comedy – provided that that comedy is done right. The more tasteless the subject, the better the joke has to be if it wants to succeed. This one works.

  • “Since when did this become suitable subject matter for comedy?”

    Since its a part of our reality?
    One might be able to make the case that making this joke referring to a specific case, or at specific victims of such abuse might be uncalled for,but I don’t believe any subject is completely off-limits to comedy.

  • Thaddeus

    Exactly, Cafeeine. If everything can’t be funny, then nothing can be funny.

  • Price

    When it comes to comedy, there should be no limits. Sam Kinison did a joke, back in ’86, about Homosexual Necrophilia. If you get a chance to see, or hear it, it is HILARIOUS!!!

  • Mike aka MonolithTMA

    The joke here is Cam and another one of his completely oblivious gaffes. The character of Cam regularly says inappropriate things that he has no idea are inappropriate.

  • the proof is in the pudding. If people laugh than it works. I once wrote a joke referring to Aushwitz and people laughed.

  • I might be a lone wolf on this one, and having been raped (sodomized) I could be a wee bit sensitive, but I personally do not think that’s a fully appropriate joke for a family show. HBO? Sure, have at it. Fucking Glee? Meh, not so much. I think her response is ridiculous about it being part of the homosexual agenda bla bla bla… but I do find the joke to be in bad taste for the audience intended, even if it was clever.

  • I’d love to know how the IFI handled Tobias Funke.

  • Don Pope


    This was a joke about someone innocently making a bad choice of words. Not about a teacher sodomizing kids.

    BTW, that show is hilarious.

  • WishinItWas

    This is one of the few shows I can watch together with my GF and neither of us have to compromise, the humor is perfect for both of us.
    I am a big fan of extreme/line walking style comedy that is done correctly, key word, correctly. Louis CK, Daniel Tosh, George Carlin..I even take it as far as Doug Stanhope (the IFI would implode and cause a rift in space time if they ever listened to him lol)

    You can say its not appropriate for the audience, but like most animated/kids movies recently, they sneak in jokes that are over a certain demographics head to keep the adults sane/tolerable. I have honestly seem similar cleverness weaved into movies specifically made for children.

  • billybobbibb

    Sorry, but I think this joke is totally wrong. It’s one thing to joke about homosexuality, quite another to joke about sodomizing kids, especially in today’s paranoid society where we brand “sexual predators” with a lifelong scarlet “P”, small children are being groped by airport security, hundreds of priests who sexually abused kids are being outed. Hemant, would you make a joke like this to the parent of one your students? No, I didn’t think so, either.

  • Drew M.

    It’s one thing to joke about homosexuality, quite another to joke about sodomizing kids, especially in today’s paranoid society…

    That’s the main reason it’s hilarious. The reactions from the offenderati are golden.

  • Claudia

    It’s one thing to joke about homosexuality, quite another to joke about sodomizing kids, especially in today’s paranoid society where we brand “sexual predators” with a lifelong scarlet “P”, small children are being groped by airport security, hundreds of priests who sexually abused kids are being outed.

    I don’t think the solution to the absurd histeria about child predators that grips society is to make even joking about it unacceptable. We already have teenagers being put on child predators lists for sexting each other, and 18 year old boys going to jail for rape for having sex with their 17 year old girlfriends.

    There are child predators and they do have to be dealt with, which includes prosecuting adults who are aware of abuse and don’t report it or refuse to cooperate with police (that should cover the bulk of bishops). However, the vast majority of child abuse happens within the family environment of a child, which is something that is rarely addressed in the media. I do get there are jokes in poor taste, but let’s not pretend we protect children by policing humor. Unlike the rape culture against women, no amount of joking will ever legitimize raping children in any way.

  • Alex

    This was a joke about someone innocently making a bad choice of words. Not about a teacher sodomizing kids.


  • Larry Meredith

    that show is crap though… I don’t know anyone who likes it, and the humor in it is just as lame as Ugly Betty.

    sexually abusing children has been part of comedy ever since pedobear.

  • @Don Pope:

    Exactly, just like my earlier statement about Tobias Funke – with the analyst-therapist combination business cards (Tobias Funke, Analrapist.) The joke wasn’t “forced sodomy is funny.” The joke was “Tobias really has a bad sense of proper words to use.”

  • I like how IFI tries to classify that this show is on during “family hour.” Um, no it’s not. It’s in the 9:00 PM ET slot. That’s not family hour. And this isn’t exactly a family show, at least not by my standards. We love it, but our kids (ages 7 and 8 ) are not allowed to watch this show with us. There’s plenty in this show that isn’t kid friendly. What about the constant references to Haley being a slut (like in the episode where Phil has the “for a good time” ads painted on their van.) Or the episode where Luke was making friends with the creepy old neighbor. Wasn’t the implication there the same? A creepy old man alone with Luke? Ah, but that was ok, because that’s a lot more church-like.

    My wife and I love this show, and find Cam’s constantly bumbling character quite funny. But it also takes a lot to get our offend-o-meter up.

  • Brian

    Yet the news pages are full of members of the Holy Roman Baby Rapist Protection Racket, aka the Baby Buggering Boys, aka the Foundation for the Protection of Pedophile Priests doing their thing. The Protestant clergy, too, is rife with child molesters. See FFRF’s Black Collar Crime Blotter.

  • D Barsky

    I think the point is that homophobes should stop worrying about sodomy and worry more about SondheimY and LarsonY. Tick, Tick…BOOM!

  • SWare

    Oh my… It is funny because of the character’s blissfully ignorant misuse of his play on words. I just don’t see that clip as an outright joke about the act itself. But if IFI wishes to throw around accusation then it’s only fair to question them back about blatantly hiding pedophiles in the church system or heck just reading the very perverse bible to children. The bible is hardly what I would call “family friendly”. How’s that for starters?

  • Laurie Ann (the Choreographer), said “Thank God that I am Saved, because I was about to go Brooklyn on that B***h!” Go and come again Sis!!

  • Miki

    I didn’t find the play on words clever or funny.

  • Michael

    lol slapstick

  • Richard Wade

    Recently, homosexual humor during family hour reached a new low.

    This is a tactic I’m seeing more frequently. Coin a meaningless phrase that might sound scary to some people, and then repeatedly use it in sentences as if there is already some reality to it. “The gay agenda” is an example.

    Some phrases we will soon be hearing from IFI:

    Homosexual agriculture continues its assault on family farms…

    Families have to walk past more homosexual camera stores in the mall…

    Godless picnicking threatens to ruin family outings…

    The rising tide of Islamic mathematics is overwhelming family values…

    Yet another family is shattered by Liberal sunscreen application

  • Kevin S.

    I kinda want to know who over at IFI is even watching Modern Family. Doesn’t exactly seem like the show would be up their alley.

  • Richard: lol. i think you forgot “Liberal Bathing is scouring our children’s precious bodily surfaces.”

    And this isn’t exactly a family show, at least not by my standards.

    almost no TV is “family friendly” in my book, esp NOT the children’s advertising, i mean “educational TV” that is directed at them. i see what my sisters let their kids watch and i’m horrified. children in particular are vulnerable to propaganda, advertising, and all the subliminal messaging on TV. they don’t have the intellectual capacity to process what they see. imho, children should be limited to no more than 2hrs of TV per week. read them a book instead. TV is NOT a suitable alternative to parenting, or even babysitting.

  • Even if you don’t like the joke, I think it’s important to point out that the other guy points out *immediately* after the joke was made that “I don’t think that’s a good way of phrasing that…” in kind of an uncertain tone of voice. So it’s not like they didn’t have a check in place for that.

    Anyways, the way I see it, there are two main kinds of jokes about “sodomy”:

    1) Jokes about an actual sodomy that has occurred, that either makes light of it or compares it to something less severe;

    2) Jokes about something that is not actually a sodomy, but that make it *look* or *sound* like sodomy, in such a way that it could be easily misunderstood to be such by a bystander with no prior understanding of the situation.

    In my experience, joke type #2 tends to be more viable than type #1. If someone had *actually* been sodomized (whether in real life or in the script of the show) and it was being made light of, then there may be a more realistic grounding for criticism of the joke. But since it is simply a play on words, not referring to an actual crime or normally “dude not funny” situation, it seems to carry over well and come across as less “offensive” or “inappropriate.”

    If there was an actual kid that had been raped in the script of the show, and someone was making light of it, I can see how someone might find that disgusting or unfunny. But that wasn’t the case.

  • Josh Evolved

    Earlier in that same episode Cam makes another word-gaffe when he is talking to Mitchell about his dreams and says, “You are a wet towel being thrown on my dreams. You know that gives me, wet dreams.” To which he immediately says: “Stop. Say nothing. I heard it as I said it.”

    Also, in that same episode, was the Dunphy advertising van, where Phil innocently made a bad ad that showed a picture of his wife, Claire, with the words “I can’t be satisfied” next to her. On the other side was a picture of their eldest child, Haley, insinuating the same thing. He then received 30+ calls from people wanting to sleep with his wife.

    The comedy here is of malapropism and “comedy of errors”. Really the IFI is just pissed because I don’t think any of the characters have ever gone to a church, or mentioned in a direct manner their religious belief. That and it’s easy to be bigots, so they run with it.

  • bla

    It’s a pity this video doesn’t work outside America (or at least in Central Europe). I hate it when they move geographical limits into the (naturally) borderless network.

  • Andrew Kelly

    It was a pretty innocent joke, on a quality show. The Illinois Family Institute should concentrate their efforts on getting a Ten Commandments plaque placed in the school on Modern Family. Also the guy who plays Cam isn’t gay.

  • Really the IFI is just pissed because I don’t think any of the characters have ever gone to a church, or mentioned in a direct manner their religious belief.

    They have, actually. Gloria is Catholic and takes Manny to church with her every week. There was an entire episode about religion earlier in the season.

  • Lin

    This show is a family favourite of ours, including my kids. They’re 12 and 14.

  • Jesus

    To all that said that this joke crossed the line or was not funny: You are not funny.

    Where is America’s sense of humor going? Are there really this many prudes? Even amongst atheists? When I can’t make a joke about anal rape or Japanese earthquakes without offending someone then we are on a serious decline. Let’s shake shit up! (Get it? That’s a reference to both sodomy and Japanese earthquakes. Cry about it.)

  • billybobbibb

    OK, to all of you who are calling me a prude, my guess is that you don’t have children of your own. Let’s take a 7-year old girl and explain the act of sodomy to her so she can graphically understand what the teacher is referring to in the -prime time (9PM)- TV show. Yeah, that sounds like a great idea, a joke about a teacher BUTT FUCKING KIDS! The teacher sticking his SHIT-COVERED ERECT PENIS up a teenager’s RECTUM to blow his load for his own sexual gratification. Great job. You guys are a class act. Ha ha ha ha ha. I can’t stop laughing.

    Yes, it’s a play on words, and we HOPE that only adults will get the joke. In a comedy club, or on Comedy Central late night, sure anything goes. If it were on a show labeled TV-MA, then OK. I’m for free speech as much as the next person.

    This isn’t about Christian morality, it’s about common decency and ethical behavior. Maybe you feel no obligation to protect children, but I do. I’m pretty sure some of you who are calling me a prude are yourselves salivating at the thought of humping a teenager’s asshole.

    And for the record, I think IFI has their heads up their asses about every other issue.

  • Amy

    I would never let my 7 year old watch this show, why are you?

  • Mike aka MonolithTMA

    It’s amazing how many people just don’t understand the joke, or the humor on the show for that matter.

  • unclemike

    Good rule of thumb with 7-year-olds: never explain anything they haven’t specifically asked about.

    And since no 7-year-old I know (I’m a teacher) is allowed to watch this (or anything at 9:00pm, come to think of it), problem solved.


  • phoenix

    I love this show, and yes I would let my kids watch it. In fact, I’ve watched it with my sister and her two oldest kids (12 and 7 years old) and the kids liked it because the show has a lot of slap-stick comedy. I was actually surprised my sister let them watch it though because it shows two gay men raising a child in a positive light, and she’s really conservative. I guess she didn’t think about that because it’s a funny show.

    I don’t see how this show is any more inappropriate for children (or less “family hour” material) than “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

  • stogoe

    You know, for years I have avoided sitcoms as universally horrible and unfunny, and the ABC for the same exact reasons. Recently, however, I find myself enjoying HIMYM reruns and now I might actually have to catch an episode of Modern Family.

    billybobbibb, get professional help.

  • Drew M.

    Recreational outrage at its finest.

  • Tanya

    Comment from Down Under (he he, I said down under) I just read some of these comments and all I can say is what is going on?! Seriously, billybobyaddayadda, thats extreme! Is that how you would explain sex to your 7 year old? I have to say I explain stuff to my daughters a bit differently! It was a joke, a funny one, and if your daughter asks what you were laughing at, are you that uncomfortable telling her? As if she is gonna ask anyway, as a parent you know there are ways and means of explaining stuff to them, certainly not like the rant you blew out (he he I said blew out) which I last heard a mad man in Sydney screaming at a garbage bin he thought he was married to. And what are you protecting her from? Knowledge? Knowing about bad stuff doesnt mean it is going to happen, or will traumatise them, it can be very helpful you know!

  • Thilinab

    Hold on… Christians still think they have some moral high ground when it comes to kids and sexual abuse?

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