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Eric Stonestreet Wasn't Afraid To Voice His Opposition To Weight Jokes On Set Of Modern Family

"Modern Family" took a simple premise and turned it into a TV juggernaut. The show followed three families linked together via patriarch Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill) and the various ways they get through life as one big ... well, modern family. The series was a smash hit, garnering much acclaim and numerous Emmys over the course of its 11-season run. 

The show didn't try to subvert sitcom expectations like so many others have tried to do in recent years. It relished traditional aspects of the family sitcom while throwing its own unique spin on it. The characters were funny, and even though the show premiered in 2009, it rarely gave into more controversial aspects of comedy like "The Office" thrived in. After all, no one's going around saying you couldn't make "Modern Family" these days. 

As it turns out, the cast played a big role in that, especially Eric Stonestreet, who played Cameron Tucker. During the show's run, he did an interview where he mentioned how he fought against having the show make jokes poking fun at his weight.

Eric Stonestreet never wanted his weight to be the butt of the joke

"Modern Family" certainly wasn't free of courting controversy, and there are probably plenty of episodes that haven't aged well. But Eric Stonestreet definitely made an effort to make sure the show didn't glorify fat-shaming. Back in 2017, the actor appeared on the podcast "I Think You're Interesting" (via Vox) and spoke at length about how he didn't want to use his weight as an easy joke on "Modern Family." When he was just getting his start in commercials, he was more willing to accept roles where his weight was a joke, but he wanted a TV performance to have more meaning behind it. 

Stonestreet went on to say, "In an episode of Modern Family that we just shot, I was, like, 'If this story is because Cam's a big guy, and that's why we think this is funny, I'm opposed to it. We're better than that. It's not okay just to make this joke because it would be funny to make Cam do this. I wanna know the story behind it. I wanna know where it came from.' I've always said that." The reasoning is clear; Stonestreet believes such jokes can have a real-world impact on how people treat others. He elaborated, "I still think making fun of fat people is the last bastion of what's acceptable in our world. I still, being me on TV, will have people in parking lots ... [where] it's, like, 'Dude, you're parked so close to my car, I can't even get to my car.' 'Well, shut your fat f***ing face!' They go to it just like that."

Rewatching "Modern Family," it's impressive how the show held back on such jokes compared to other series of its ilk. It makes for a far more enjoyable experience for all involved.