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Representation in Media: An Analysis of Modern Family’s “Kiss and Tell”

In today’s society, the media outlets are always pressured to incorporate diversity into all programs. Through multifariousness, shows can reflect the realities of the world to achieve inclusivity. As a reprehensive production, Modern Family can be count as the melting pot of American culture. The second episode of season 10 of the Modern Family titled “Kiss and Tell” highlights various aspects of representation in regards to sexual orientation, race, gender, and class.

In the episode, the LGBT community is represented. The aspect of representation achieves the goal of normalizing various aspects of life so viewers can see themselves in different characters (Valdivia, 2018). For instance, in the episode, Cameron and Mitchell’s gay marriage is portrayed to be normal as the couple addresses the issue of infidelity experienced while they were engaged and before marriage (ABC, n.d.). At the same time, they use their gaydar quality to classify Manny as gay as well but in a fun way without passing judgment. According to Valdivia (2018), gaydar as a code, is a sophisticated form of representation.

Secondly, although the family is predominantly white, other races are also represented. For example, Gloria’s Hispanic accent is conspicuous while she tries to help her son, Manny, to address his sexuality. Additionally, Dylan’s friend, an African American girl, appears towards the end of the episode when Haley visits him to clarify that they should only remain as friends (ABC, n.d.). Notably, the cast is predominantly white, a factor that highlights the issue of power in representation. According to Valdicia (2018), power plays a crucial role in shaping any representation in media. Therefore, considering that the U.S. is predominantly white in racial structuring, the demand by the majority for a show that accurately depicts reality is the reason the casting in Modern Family’s “Kiss and Tell” consists mainly of white characters.

This episode also could be connected with class, the implicit symbols of wealth only indicate that the episode represents middle to high-income populations. In media analysis, implicit elements should be carefully evaluated as they usually communicate hidden meanings (Valdivia, 2018). In “Kiss and Tell,” a swimming pool, a spacious mansion, and a big compound are all symbols of wealth (ABD, n.d.). Without an explicit explanation provided, anyone can clearly figure out that the film highlights the life of a modern middle or high-income family since the highlighted elements are not usually found in low-income homes.
In conclusion, Modern Family season 10’s “Kiss and Tell” episode sheds light on the representation of different people in shows. In including sexual minorities, gay marriage is portrayed as the normal loving relationship it is. Racial minorities are also cast although white characters remain the dominant majority. Moreover, female and male genders are well balanced in the show. However, it highlights the lifestyle of middle-class families in America without a representation of low-income people at all. All in all, the episode does a great job incorporating significant representation aspects.

Instructor’s feedback:

This is a well structured essay that makes good points about the representation of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation in the selected episode of Modern Family and then supports them with evidence. The thesis needs more revision until it pushes beyond making a generic statement about the episode. Also, make sure to read in-text comments about points within body paragraphs that need clarification.

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