There are many pilots for the fall 2013 season I’m looking forward to — Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Millers, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Michael J. Fox Show, any show with a talking dog, possibly with a blog, in it — but the one I most want to see RIGHT NOW is Fox’s Dads, from Family Guy‘s Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and starring Giovanni Ribisi, Seth Green, and poor Martin Mull. What the series lacks in Google accessibility it more than makes up for in terrible jokes about casual racism, and judging by its TCA panel yesterday, it sounds like an unmitigated disaster.
Dads stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as two guys whose fathers (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert) move in with them. That it’s offensive is hard to deny. Jace Lacob of BuzzFeed tweeted: “The worst part of #Dads is that it is casually racist AND horrifically unfunny. Which is not a good combination, really.” NPR’s Linda Holmes explained that “it’s mostly nasty about women of color.” Even the show’s format works against it, with Todd VanDerWerff writing: “Dads is actively hurt by the multi-cam, live-studio-audience format. Having people braying at ‘ironic’ racism makes it real racism.” For further evidence: “Tiny China penis,” is a line that is at one point uttered by one of the characters. You really don’t need anymore context. (Via)
A good chunk of the vitriol was aimed a scene in which Brenda Song poses as a sexy Asian schoolgirl, right down to the tittering, for some visiting Chinese businessmen. It’s unclear if she ever giggles, “Me so sorry,” but let’s just assume: yes. The pilot is so bad, in fact, that even the Dads producers are making excuses for it.
“We all noticed some things we’d like to change or tweak moving forward,” acknowledged executive producer Alec Sulkin. “We ideally want to keep it insulting and irreverent. If we missed the mark a few times in the pilot, we’re aiming to hit it better in coming shows.”
Fellow EP Mike Scully assured reporters that there would be a “noticeable change in the tone and a [better] balance” beyond the first episode, adding, “We don’t want this to be the racial-insult comedy show. It’s a comedy about fathers and sons, and you want to strike that relatable thing.” (Via)
Why yes, that is the same Mike Scully who wrote “Team Homer.” Why yes, you may cry now.