Earlier this month, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans implored the Fox brass to reconsider — and even re-shoot — the content featured in the pilot for Seth MacFarlane’s live-action comedy “Dads,” a fall series peppered with racist humor throughout its first seg.
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.” Pair did not mention re-shooting the pilot.
Letter went on to say, “…What you viewed [of ‘Dads’] is just the pilot, and pilots are rarely perfect…we understand your concerns, as do the producers directly…This is a show that will be evocative and will poke fun at stereotypes and bigotries — sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations.”
MANAA’s primary concern with the “Dads” pilot is the treatment of Brenda Song’s character, who dresses like a “sexy Asian school girl,” in order to impress Chinese businessmen. The activist group also frowned upon the banter used between “Dads” leads and the Chinese businessmen, noting that the dialogue amplified racial stereotypes.
“Everyone involved with ‘Dads’ is striving to create a series with humor that works on multiple levels and ‘earns’ its audaciousness,” the execs continued. “That said, we do recognize comedy is subjective, and we may not be able to please everyone, all the time.”
As for Song’s character (whom Song herself said she had no issue with during the show’s summer TCA session), Fox said the character is “a strong, intelligent, empowered young woman who basically runs the company, and who almost always gets the upper hand on the guys.”
“Dads,” starring Seth Green and Giovani Ribisi, debuts this fall on Fox.