FOX’s much-dreaded new comedy “Dads” premiered last night, and I feel confident saying that the sole highlight was an extended shot of a very handsome golden retriever. For real, he was a truly spectacular dog, this fella, with floppy ears and a shiny almost ginger mane.
And the rest of this Seth Green/Giovanni Ribisi/ Martin Mull vehicle? To call it abysmal would be to undersell what just might be the worst TV show of all time. Chief among the series’ many offenses are pervasive misogyny and constant racism that is shocking only in that it makes the show seem completely out-of-touch. But was it more sexist or more racist?! Let us investigate.
Racism tally marks:
1. Giovanni Ribisi and Seth Green, as Walden and Eli, respectively, play the founders of a video game company. The actress Brenda Song is featured one of their employees. She’s introduced on the line, “You’re lucky your fathers are American. My dad beat me with a math book until I was 16.”
Jesus Christ almighty, oh my god.
2. Walden and Eli have a meeting with “the Chinese,” and they request that Brenda’s character Veronica attend it dressed as an Asian schoolgirl. This offense would fall primarily into the “sexist” category if it didn’t make the excruciatingly clear point that “Dads” isn’t aware that there are actually different kinds of Asians.
Brenda Song is Vietnamese and Thai. “The Chinese” are Chinese. But Veronica dresses as a Japanese schoolgirl character — specifically, Sailor Moon, even though she is totally a Sailor Mercury.
3. Here’s an attempt at a dad joke: “It would have been a billion dollar deal if someone had told me the correct pronunciation was Shiite Muslim.”
Racist shit humor without any actual set-up. My favorite kind.
4. Eli’s father mistakes Walden’s wife for his maid. The joke is that Walden’s wife is a Latina lady. Vanessa Lachey, who plays the character, is half-Filipina. Exhausting.
5. “Whatcha playing, Punch the Puerto Rican?” Because that sounds like an utterly thrilling video game, indeed.
6. And the honor of the laziest bit of racism goes to this line: “The Chinese are a lovely and honorable people, but you can”t trust them. There”s a reason Shanghai is a verb.”
7. Did y’all know that Asian men invariably have tiny penises? If you aren’t obsessively aware of that fact, then you obviously haven’t watched “Dads.”
Sexism tally marks:
1. Eli’s character is a total ladies’ man. We know this because he has a nameless girlfriend he won’t actually call his girlfriend whom he insults constantly. Which is actually the plot to the 5th level of “Punch the Puerto Rican.”
2. Walden’s pop asks, “Carmela, would you mind being my secretary?” to Walden’s wife who has at least been promoted from maid.
3. Of the 3 female characters, Veronica, Carmella and Not Girlfriend, not one of them isn’t in some way fetishized. Which is an offense I will arbitrarily give 3 tally marks to.
Final Count: Racism: 7, Sexism, 5
Congratulations, racism. You’ve won it this time.