Passive Aggressive Diaries

Understanding passive aggressive behavior in families, schools, and workplaces

Passive Aggressive Behavior Made Funny on ABC's Modern Family

Passive aggression is alive and well on Modern Family's homefront

I presented a workshop on <em>The Angry Smile</em> this past week to the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists. What a great group! During a break in training, a participant reminded me of two episodes from ABC's Modern Family that are both classic & hilarious examples of passive aggressive dynamics between a parent and child. Many thanks to her for suggesting these clips:

In the first clip, (Season 1, Episode 18), Haley informs her mother at the last minute that she needs cupcakes for the next school day. Haley then proceeds to text her friends, stand at the sidelines while her mom bakes, and do everything BUT contribute to the work. When the cupcakes are made, frosted, and all ready...the mom ceremoniously dumps them in the trash, with a classic angry smile on her face. Watch Haley's reaction! So good.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/137492/modern-family-van-gogh

 In the second clip (Season 1, Episode 20), younger daughter Alex doesn't mind her mom driving her everywhere she needs to go, but can not bear the thought of actually being seen with her mother! After several rounds of blowing her mother off, the clip begins with Alex offering an apology to her mother. Though her words appear sincere at first, when the apology takes a turn toward the self-serving, the mom gets her own mortifying passive aggressive zinger in, in front of all of Alex's friends:

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http://www.hulu.com/watch/140083/modern-family-benched?c=1139:1261

Teach those kids to screw with her, indeed!

What passive aggressive behavior have you watched on TV lately?  Please share the shows and episode information here!

 

Signe Whitson is a licensed social worker and co-author of The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, 2nd ed.

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