Eric Stonestreet: ‘Cam is a Bossy, Fussy Bottom’

Screenshot 2014-07-27 14.56.48Eric Stonestreet, famous for his portrayal of Modern Family’s resident farm-raised house husband Cameron Tucker, spoke to the Huffington Post about his character’s sexuality, a topic that the show has made a point of avoiding addressing directly.

“Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] and I call Cam a ‘bossy, fussy bottom,’” the actor explained. “Now, what I get is a lot of guys who come up and want to challenge my sexuality.”

Early in Modern Family’s run, ABC came under fire for its seeming refusal to acknowledge Cam and Mitchell’s (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) relationship aside from their referring to each other as “boyfriends.” A Facebook group titled “Let Cam & Mitchell Kiss on Modern Family” eventually brought enough attention to the omission of physical displays of affection that the network dedicated an entire episode to it.

Stonestreet also said that he is struck by the number of conservative politicians who appreciate his character:

Stonestreet said he was amazed at some of the conservative politicians who have approached him wanting to take photos. When Santorum did just that at a recent White House Correspondents Dinner, Stonestreet flat out refused.

“It was at a time when he was publicly saying, ‘Gay marriage, gay marriage’ and I’m like, ‘You know, I can’t do it,’” he said. “It was with him and his kids or something like that, and I said, ‘I’d be happy to take a picture with the kids,’ but I can’t just be in a picture with [Santorum.]”

The on-camera couple were finally married in the show’s most recent season, but their sex life has remained something of an obscure topic rarely touched upon in Modern Family’s five-season run.

Watch video of Stonestreet’s interview AFTER THE JUMP


  1. Terry says

    Unfortunately Cam is a caricature of a gay man, a stereotype for comic value. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a gay person portrayed as someone who doesn’t lisp, prance or break out in show tunes when they’re not crying over some chick=flick. Gays are normal people. TV gays are not.

  2. Fenny says

    @Terry I actually disagree a bit, since his the character does break a lot of stereotypes at the same time – he loves football and even played as a starting center in college, etc. Yes, he is somewhat campy and bubbly, but I don’t see why that immediately means he is a “caricature” of a gay man. Frankly, Cam is a pretty eclectic character, I don’t find it all that stereotypically gay at all.

    The show also has Mitch being the generally more “masculine” in the couple, despite his being smaller and loving figure skating and such.

    I find it a pretty good balance of personalities, to be honest. Neither are totally camp, flamboyantly gay, and neither are hyper-masculine either.

  3. petey says

    Stonestreet’s portrayal is effectively anti-gay. It’s one great big effeminate stereotype which panders to the Right.

  4. james street james says

    The show is very well written and very funny. All the characters are caricatures. But the Cam character is a bit too hammy, and that’s not a weight comment. The little Asian girl is terrible, but that’s what happens when you cast a kid. Everyone else is spot on.

  5. Yup says

    If you want to complain about stereotypes then you had better be willing to march all of the big nelly show-queens into the ocean. There ARE plenty of them out there. I personally know a good dozen guys who are VERY much like Cam as well as guys who are not. Why should he adjust the character simply because it’s not based on your circle of friends?

  6. Dattexas says

    Yep, yup. Agree. I know a lot of girly men, and I love them dearly. But they do exist. They also happen to be some if the strongest people I know.

  7. pete n sfo says

    I’d like to think of the boys as versatile.

    I’m also a bit suspicious when anyone needs to announce publicly their sexual roles performed privately; real life or fiction.

    I love the show though. They do a great job of leveraging the fractures in all our self-concepts. That’s why the comedy resonates with so many.

  8. Rowan says

    DAtexas, ‘the strongest people I know’. Sigh, urgh that old chestnut. Stop pitching gays against each other-strength is not a zero sum game.

  9. Robert says

    “Funny, the big nelly ones are usually tops.”

    Uh, have you had sex, like, ever?

    Lastly, I think this show is SO over the top and corny, but Eric Stonestreet, caricature or not, is by FAR the funniest actor, and he gets the best lines. And his portrayal may be fey, but he is probably the strongest character on the show. Who always stands up for himself, physically and emotionally.

  10. Tyler says

    But where is Rick and his dozens of aliases to rant about the culture of effeminacy and how important masculinity is?

  11. UFFDA says

    “…march all of the big nelly show-queens into the ocean.” Immediately if possible. With Stonestreet tied around their collective feet. Bleh.

  12. Derrick from Philly says

    Cam & Mitchell are a great couple, and so are the actors who portray them.

    And some of y’all postng comments are some nasty mean-spirited b1tches.

  13. Craig S says

    Sure, Cam reads like a stereotype if all you know is the basic outline of his personality (“campy music teacher”). But the show has undercut that on many occasions with his backstory: he played football, he grew up on a farm, and on and so forth.

    You gotta read for content, you know.

  14. BusterLA says

    “…but their sex life has remained something of an obscure topic rarely touched upon in Modern Family’s five-season run.”

    It’s a prime-time family sitcom. EVERYONE is a bit of a stereotype. And the sex life of ANY middle-aged couple is “rarely touched upon” in this genre of television.

    On “Modern Family” we saw the kids sort of walk in on Phil and Claire once, so we know they are still ‘doing it’ and we’re aware that Jay has a sort of stereotyped ‘look at my hot second wife’ approach to Gloria that is tempered by her refusal to behave as a simple “trophy wife” might. And we’ve seen Mitch and Cam be romantic with each other and we’ve seen them waking up in bed together. We aren’t shown Mich and Cam’s favorite sex positions but we also aren’t getting details about Phil’s fetishes or Gloria’s preference to ride on top — because that’s not what these shows are about.

    The important thing here is that Cam and Mitchell are always shown as being just as committed and accepted a couple as the as the straight ones are. In the context of a sitcom, we don’t need to see their ‘toy’ cabinet or read their Grindr or Scruff profiles to be able to appreciate them as a strong gay couple.

  15. Brandon H says

    Yeah, would have been more interesting if Cam were conceived as being “just so happen to be” a top. It would have made sense with his football playing farm boy background (not that there aren’t football playing farmboy bottoms out there…ahhh memories).

  16. TonyJazz says

    Good for Mr. Stonestreet for saying no to Santorum.

    I’m pleased that he has good political sense on top of his strong acting skills.

  17. JMC says

    Frankly I’d always pegged Cam as one of those guys who shocks you by being a top when you finally get behind closed tours.

  18. Kevin says

    I think they need to do a throw away scene where Lily walks in on Mitch and Cam getting a bit feisty in, say, the pantry.