'Modern Family' F-Word Will Be Worth the Backlash

Great news, Modern Family fans! Our favorite show may just be on its way to earning a little-known industry award: Best Scripted Family Broadcast Television Series in Which a Small Child Drops the F-Bomb.

Oh yeah. Apparently next week's episode will feature Lily, Cam and Mitchell's adorable daughter (whose character was eerily, robotically silent until this season), saying the F-word multiple times throughout the show.

Conservative viewers, start your engines of righteous indignation! Circulate a petition! CALL FOR A BOYCOTT! Or, you know, just chill out—because the naughty word in question won't actually be audible.


The storyline is one that's probably familiar to most parents: Lily, who's supposed to be 2 1/2, starts going all Pete and Repeat with the word ... oh, can I just write it, just the once? Fuck. There. I said it. As does she, which of course totally freaks out Cam and Mitchell, who start obsessing that she's going to blurt it at an upcoming wedding. (Yeahhhhhhh, legitimate concern. "Do you take this woman to have and to—" "F***!")

The episode’s title? “Little Bo Bleep.” Hee.

Ironically (or perhaps purposely?) the episode comes at a time when
the Supreme Court has been deliberating on the Federal Communications Commission's right to fine TV networks for airing profanity and other coarse content. For decades, the FCC has defined profanity as "including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance," and profane speech is prohibited on broadcast radio and television between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

It almost sounds like
Modern Family is gunning for a fine, but remember that part about "actually hear it"? The shows seem to have neatly circumvented that by the fact that Lily is shown saying the word ... but it’s not audible to the viewer.

. Not just a hat rack, Modern Family creators.

Creator Steve Levitan has said that he's well aware there may be some controversy over the "Little Bo Bleep" episode:

We had to really convince ABC. We thought it was a very natural story since, as parents, we’ve all been through this. ABC will tell you Modern Family gets away with a lot, because I think it’s all about context. We are not a sexually charged show. It has a very warm tone so people accept it more. I’m sure we’ll have some detractors.

I totally agree that context plays a big part in how people will receive this. If the word was just tossed out there for no particular reason, it would seem more deliberately offensive than how this episode is being described. Most parents can identify with the sheer horror of hearing their innocent preschooler utter a foul word, and I'm sure the resulting hijinks between Cam and Mitchell will also be recognizable. What do we do? How do we erase it from her brain? WHAT IF SHE SAYS IT AGAIN OH MY GOD.

It seems inevitable that there will be backlash over this episode, but I for one am looking forward to it. In fact, it sounds f***ing hilarious.

What do you think about this? Will Modern Family lose some fans?

Image via ABC

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