In Modern Family's premiere episode last night the show finally got with the times and gave into fans' requests: Mitch and Cam proposed to one another. Using the summer's Supreme Court rulings as the catalyst, the show set up a fairly standard sitcom plotline—each character was planning a proposal!—that had a lovely payoff. Mitch and Cam, stranded on the side of the road, knelt down and simultaneously said yes, smiling. It was a nice moment for a couple that, unfortunately, is better known for their bickering than their loving relationship.
The question of whether Mitch and Cam would get married has long been in the air for the show, which won another Emmy for best comedy series this past weekend. Last October Jesse Tyler Ferguson posted a photo that maybe implied as much, and in May the ACLU launched a campaign encouraging the show's producers to make the couple pop the question. Writer Jeffrey Richman revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the show was planning to make a proposal the season premiere seeing that the legalization had the potential to become a reality and that a wedding plot would yield plenty of material for writers to work with. There was "no backup plan" if the ruling didn't go through. "It’s not a political show, and we bent over backwards in the episode not to be political," he said. "We all said this would not be about making a statement; it was very much about keeping it between these two people and what it means for them."
The way they handled the proposal seems to be a hit among critics. "Too often on this show, their acerbic squabbles outweigh their sweet moments, and they feel like the least loving pair on the show," Joe Reid wrote for the A.V. Club. "That they would ultimately end up falling ass-backwards into a more low-key proposal was very predictable, but the execution -- both men on one knee, changing a tire by the side of the road, connected deeply enough to not even need to ask the question out loud -- was flawless and genuinely affecting."
The rest of the episode's treatment of the gay marriage plot line wasn't always handled with grace. We could have done without the gag that had Jay and Gloria's baby spitting up every time it was mentioned. And, cough cough, it would have probably been prudent to note that couples in California couldn't get marriage licenses the same day as the decision on Prop 8.
Now that they're engaged, maybe the show will actually let Mitch and Cam actually have sex.