First (And Last) Look: ‘Dads’


You may have heard a thing or two about Fox’s latest Seth MacFarlane-produced show, Dads. The pilot only aired last night, but when it was screened early by television critics, it was widely panned as incredibly racist and an overall bad show. Shortly after, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans requested that scenes from the pilot be reshot to remove the offensively racist material.

Not only did Fox refuse to reshoot said scenes or apologize for offending certain audiences, but they created a promo that actually used some of the negative criticism to get you to watch the show. They quoted critics labeling the show “offensive,” “reprehensible,” and “morally wrong.”

All in all, I was looking forward to just how big of a train wreck this show was going to be. And let me be clear–I did not grow up in a politically correct household. It is very hard to offend me, and I’ll go on the record saying that I more or less enjoyed Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar hosting gig.

Brenda Song and Seth Green in the pilot of Fox's "Dads."

Brenda Song and Seth Green in the pilot of Fox’s “Dads.”

It was most certainly not the racism that got me to settle on the fact that I will never watch Dads again. Don’t get me wrong, the show is most definitely racist. Hispanic women are either maids (with horrifically cliched broken English) or mistaken for maids. Asian men have small penises and beat their children with math textbooks. Asian women (talented The Social Network actress Brenda Song) dress up like Sailor Moon and giggle to help seal a business deal.

Whatever. Dads is not the first show to make use of racist jokes and it won’t be the last. What really offends me as a television watcher at how poorly and lazily it employs these racist jokes. They’re not original, they’re not interesting, they don’t bring anything new to the table. Other shows have employed semi-racist humor to great effect (an example that comes to mind is some of the cleverer jokes involving Lily and Cam on Modern Family).

Dads offends me because it’s just so damn unfunny. It’s clunky, it’s poorly edited, the cast has no chemistry or rhythm, it’s predictable and not compelling in the slightest. The show left me no reason to tune in next week. The funniest bit in the whole show was when both cheapskate dads were trying to get out of paying the bill for their lunch, and that doesn’t have a stitch of racist comedy in it.

My issue with Dads is this: if you’re going to go out on a limb and allow a show to be racist, you better make sure it’s a good one. And Dads does not fall into that category.

Worthwhile articles that also tackle the subject matter on Dads:

So, just how racist is Fox’s Dads?

Is Dads the Year’s Most Racist Sitcom?

Why Fox’s anti-critic ad for Dads only makes a bad thing worse


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