Must See D-TV: Modern Family?

by Leighann on February 23, 2011

The last time I talked about a television show, it really was Must See-D-TV. I mean how cool is it that there was a contestant on The Amazing Race with diabetes traveling the world, glucose meter in hand, insulin pump at her side?

(Read my interview with Amazing Race winner Nat Strand.)

But this time I have mixed emotions.

I began watching the DVD set of the first season of Modern Family.

No, there is not a main character who is diabetic. The show has nothing to do with diabetes. I find the show pretty entertaining. The cast includes Ed O’Neill who you may remember from Married With Children and Julie Bowen who was Jack’s ex wife on Lost.

So I’m going through the episodes and I am watching the one called “En Garde” in which Manny, the stepson of Ed O’Neal’s character, wins fencing match after fencing match making it to the finals. When he finds out he has to fight a girl, he decides to retire.

His mom and stepdad encourage him to continue. When they arrive at the finals, a woman sits down next to them. They ask if she is the girl’s mom.

Turns out Caroline’s parents have passed away and her nurse from the children’s hospital brings her to the finals. Of course Manny’s parents are supposed to feel bad.

The nurse says “She’s our little miracle. I only wish her father had made it back from Afghanistan to see this.”

In comes Caroline’s cheering section which is comprised of children in wheelchairs and on crutches.

His mom says “Oh my god, we have to stop him.” She and Manny’s stepfather make cutting-your-throat gestures to try to tell him to stop, but he takes this as meaning he should go in for the kill.

He says “Expect no mercy” to which Caroline replies “Bring it on big boy.”

He scores point after point, winning by a landslide.

Feeling bad, the mom asks “So can we take you and Caroline out for an ice cream?”

And as if they added insult to injury, the nurse replies “We can’t. She’s diabetic.”

To which the stepdad mumbles “Of course she is.”

She Can Eat Ice Cream

I was taken aback for a second there. Did they just use diabetes as a way to make the family feel even worse?

And what about disseminating misinformation?

Kids with diabetes can eat ice cream.

Will my daughter’s friends’ parents see this show and decide not to include my daughter in an ice cream social or birthday party because they think she can’t partake?

See, here’s the thing: They make this substance called insulin and miraculously you can eat ice cream and take insulin to cover it.

Wow, see how that works.

Now I’m not saying ice cream is an every day thing. But it is not something that we eschew because of diabetes.

So do I boycott* the show because some writers were sitting around and one said, “Hey, you know what would be hilarious. What if the girl has a really pathetic life and Manny beats the crap out of her at the finals and Manny’s parents offer to get her ice cream. But you know what? She can’t because she’s…wait for it…wait for it… punchline: DIABETIC.”

*No, I haven’t boycotted. I love the show!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leslie February 23, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I totally get what you are saying. I hate when I feel like something that is supposed to just mind their own business like a sit com gets deep in stuff they know nothing about. I would comment on ABC’s facebook page if you haven’t already done so. Maybe someone over there will remember for next time that not only can kids with Type 1 eat ice cream but we also don’t deserve to be the butt of anyone’s joke.


2 Mel February 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm

We love Modern Family and we watched that episode recently (all the way around the world in New Zealand).

My Mr 10 (who has Type 1) watched it too. And I looked to see his reaction at the ‘punchline’. He laughed. So did we. No offense taken by us.

Sometimes we’d be protesting that they’d got it wrong but this time we decided – ‘it’s just a TV show’ – it’s funny. (Would’ve been good if they got it right though!)


3 Jennifer February 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

And, the fact of the matter is, as much as we protest that our kids can eat anything, they can’t always have everything they want. We were at a baby shower quite some distance from home with the most beautiful delicious looking cupcakes I have EVER seen when I realized my daughter’s pump tubing was leaking and her Bg was high. No cupcake for her. Yeah, she took it home for later but the point is, did diabetes affect what she could eat and when? Yeah, it did. Andisn’t that kind of what they were getting at? Despite our best efforts, sometimes food issues, and sacrifices, have to be made in living with diabetes.


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