FOX is standing by its new fall comedy.
The network declined to reshoot portions of Dads, despite the Media Action Network for Asian Americans' plea that FOX fix or remove scenes it deemed racist, foxnews.com reports.
The Dads pilot, which premieres Tuesday, Sept. 17, has numerous “racial and sexual stereotypes,” including business partners (Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi) having Brenda Song’s character dress up like a sexy Asian schoolgirl in order to sway Chinese businessmen and Martin Mull’s character referring to Asians as “Orientals.”
Fox’s Kevin Reilly and Joe Earley, chairman and chief operating officer of Fox, respectively, stated in a follow up letter to MANAA that the group’s “perspective on programming is always important to us, especially given our ongoing efforts to reflect diverse characters and stories on our air.” The pair did not mention re-shooting the pilot, according to variety.com.
“You will see that Brenda Song's character is a strong, intelligent, empowered young woman who basically runs the company, and who almost always gets the upper hand,” FOX executives said, according to foxnews.com. “[Dads] is a show that will be evocative and will poke fun at stereotypes and bigotries -- sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations.”
FOX executives also said, according to foxnews.com: “The series is based heavily on the executive producers’ own lives, and the relationships between the fathers and sons on Dads will continue to be the main driver of show's comedic sensibility. Everyone involved with Dads is striving to create a series with humor that works on multiple levels and ‘earns’ its audaciousness.”
In the letter that MANAA sent to FOX executives last week, president Guy Aoki wrote: “Our community can't continue to be the target of racially insensitive jokes. FOX has an opportunity to fix fatal flaws in the pilot and to improve the show’s chances for success when it premieres next month. We are asking you to reshoot the inappropriate scenes of the pilot. Considering the consistent feedback from our community and television critics in general — and the creators saying they hadn't properly defined their characters nor gotten used to their actors when they shot that first episode — this sounds like a no-brainer.”
The show may have pushed racist humor further than the network would have liked, but if Fox were to opt to reshoot scenes to please this watchdog group, it would open the doors to similar complaints and demands from just about every social and political group you could imagine. Fox has invested a lot in MacFarlane, with the majority of its animated programming emerging from MacFarlane’s brand of humor, which tends to skew toward jokes about race, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.
The network is was fully aware of what it was buying with MacFarlane and is likely willing to go to bat for the showrunner who is delivering in the ratings. Of course, if audiences start to turn on MacFarlane, the network may quickly change its views on the matter, asserts the LABJ.