Dads Producers Defend Pilot, Insist 'We Don't Want to Be the Racial-Insult Comedy Show'

Dads Fox ComedyThe cast and producers of Fox’s new Seth Green-Giovanni Ribisi comedy Dads deflected criticism about certain aspects of the show’s pilot Thursday at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

Several reporters in particular took issue with a sequence where an Asian-American woman (played by Disney Channel ingenue Brenda Song) is required by her bosses to dress as a “sexy Asian schoolgirl” — complete with embarrassed tittering — for the sexual gratification of visiting Chinese businessmen.

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“We all noticed some things we’d like to change or tweak moving forward,” acknowledged executive producer Alec Sulkin (Family Guy). “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 (The Simpsons) 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.”

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Regarding the specific sequence featuring Song’s character, Sulkin explained, “We thought it would lead to a funny scene. If that didn’t land, we understand that. And we’ll try to balance that in future shows.”

For her part, Song wasn’t offended by the bit. “Veronica is a go-getter [and] she’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done,” the actress argued. “For me, I love being on a show where the envelope is always pushed. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t laugh at all.”

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32 Comments
  1. Tim says:

    Can’t tell if all this was serious

  2. M says:

    I don’t have a problem with irreverent or insult humor. But nothing in the Dads trailer was actually funny.

    • Russ says:

      I think that’s absolutely key. There are plenty of insulting shows with humor-in-bad-taste that don’t draw fire from critics or audiences. It’s when you’re both irreverent/offensive AND not-very-good that you have real problems connecting with people.

  3. Wait people are surprise that a show that is being billed as from the creators of Ted and Family guy is culturally insensitive,

  4. Badpenny says:

    George Carlin has probably rolled over in his grave twice at the level of PC everything in our society has now become.

    • Brooke says:

      Oh give me a break about all this PC complaining. There is a HUGE difference between expertly done humor about touchy subjects (as in the type of stuff George Carlin was so very good at) and absolutely awful, offensive stereotyping being passed off as “humor” such as what’s being written about in this article. This “humor” on this new show is garbage. George Carlin would be rolling in his grave over the “comedy” being passed off as “funny.”

      • Russ says:

        Absolutely. There’s a big difference between Lenny Bruce and the guy on Comedy Central at 2 a.m. trying to pass off dick and fart jokes as high art. The problem is, that guy has fans, too, and his fans will try to paint him as Lenny Bruce to make people who don’t like him look bad.

      • Andrew says:

        Badpenny: I feel as if society is forcing me to believe only their approved concepts/ideas.
        Brooke: Quit bitchin’ and think the way I tell you.

        • Alan says:

          not sure if making a joke or unaware of how stupidly hypocritical this comment is. i would like to give you the benefit of the doubt and say its a clever comment but ive seen enough on the internet to truly wonder about this.

        • Anna says:

          Lolz, that’s what you got out of that comment? Read it again, buddy.

  5. Rob Horine says:

    I hope this show dies a quick and painful death. Brenda Song is a great talent (very easy on the eyes) and she deserves a shot on a good show.

  6. Leah says:

    I have no sympathy for them. Don’t wanna be known as “the racial insult comedy show?” Don’t make racially insensitive jokes. That simple.

    My expectations for this show were already in the negatives, however.

  7. Chuck Finley says:

    Racist jokes on a show run by someone that has ties to Family Guy? You don’t say.

  8. Steve F. says:

    I give this four weeks, tops. Free Brenda Song!

  9. Et al says:

    I hope they don’t stress too much about fixing the tone. This piece of garbage won’t be on the air long enough for it to matter.

    • Patrick says:

      We might be surprised at the length of its run. It has a name cast. Plus, Fox will not want to anger Seth McFarlane. After they passed on the money train known as Ted, they are trying to appease Seth. They want to do more business with him in the future, and canceling this show isn’t the way to make nice.

      Remember how last year’s Guy’s with kids got almost a full season? That was because Fallon was a producer/creator. Fox knows that Seth is a hitmaker. They will give him a season to see if he can get it right.

  10. Sheila says:

    I fear there’s this show is trying too hard to be “insulting and irreverent” and less concerned about “funny”. Enough with the envelope pushing, focus on being GOOD.

  11. nick1372 says:

    “We ideally want to keep it insulting”

    Wow…. What could you possibly say in response to that???

  12. Jasey says:

    I’ve always liked Giovanni Ribisi…. Why is he in this crap?

    • Russ says:

      He needs to fire–and possibly tie up and throw off a bridge–whoever it is that reads his scripts for him. He’s one of the most underrated talents in comedy today, but it isn’t because he doesn’t get good gigs. It’s that he’s never met a bad one he didn’t take.

      • Patrick says:

        Ribisi may be one of those guys who is great in small doses. There are lots of them in Hollywood. But what is great in small doses doesn’t work in large doses.

        Plus, Ribisi is getting to that stage where it is time to sell out. And that isn’t a bad thing. There are a lot of great actors who only do projects they love, that live modestly. If Dads were to get to syndication (which seems unlikely, but it had a great team behind it), Ribisi would be set for LIFE. That would let him pick and choose his projects for the rest of his life. Why not try to get seriously paid?

  13. Steven says:

    Crybabyism wins again. Victory outrage junkies everywhere.

  14. Sheldon W. says:

    Well, you know what’s paved with good intentions. Seriously, the pilot was truly hideous. Not what you want with a cast that should be comedy gold…

  15. Jo-Ann C says:

    I think it is awesome show Dad’s and Brooklyn 9 9 reminds me of Barney Miller show awesome to keep them on to keep us laughing

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