Fox's Dads: Did It Live Up to the (Bad) Hype?

dads premiere foxIt’s finally happened: Fox has unleashed Dads onto an unsuspecting a highly suspicious public. But is the critically maligned comedy — which had its producers telling the press that “we don’t want to be the racial-insult comedy show” — as unfunny and offensive as advertised?

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At the end of the day, it depends on your point of view. Not only do the show’s central characters — video-game designers Eli (Seth Green) and Warner (Giovanni Ribisi) — ask their top female executive to dress up like a sexy Asian schoolgirl to seal a deal with some Chinese businessmen, but there are these doozies, to name just a few:

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* Martin Mull (as Warner’s dad) screwing up said business deal with racially charged bon mots like, “There’s a reason Shanghai’s a verb!”

* Peter Reigert (as Eli’s dad) confusing Warner’s Latina-looking wife (Vanessa Lachey, who probably wishes she could be in the IMDb actress protection program) as his “beautiful maid.”

* Green coyly putting his hands over his mouth and tee-hee-heeing to instruct aforementioned executive (Brenda Song, managing to not burst into tears/flames) on how to live the stereotype.

* A rapid-fire assault of jokes about the size and shape of a Chinese man’s penis.

* Unwelcome houseguest Reigert growling this highly original punch line: “Stay outta the bathroom between 3:00 and 4:00 — that’s my go time!”

But enough about what we thought: What was your take on Dads? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Emily says:


    • Plum says:

      These four actors have always been terrific, loved Riegert in Crossing Delancy, Mull is terrific, and Giovanni Ribisi stealing a wedding dress…and then putting it on while drunk on My Name is Earl is one of the funniest things to ever air. So if the writing sucks they need to hire better writers, writers who are actually clever instead of just tossing out insult jokes. The girls on crappy Broke Girls get away with it, barely, because they are girls; Dads shouldn’t try to emulate that, they should be cribbing from HIMYM and The Office instead of aspiring to be the lowest rated insult comedy on the air.

  2. Lynn says:

    Ugh, please fail quickly.

  3. People are just too damn sensitive. I’m looking forward to watching it when I have a chance to.

    • Remember that one episode of Mad About You where Paul kept making inappropriate jokes and everyone hated him for it? They’re JOKES.

      • Percysowner says:

        Which only work if they are actually, you know, FUNNY. Nothing I’ve seen is funny, this is sort of a fail on that criteria.

        • Sam says:

          This is hilarious don’t be so sensitive

          • Eli says:

            Well that’s just a dumb argument. Saying something isn’t funny doesn’t mean you are being sensitive.
            I didn’t find anything truly offensive in the pilot (though the laughing at the tiny asian penis joke got close), but I did find it rather unfunny, boring and outdated.

            Also can someone PLEASE get Brenda Song a good role on a good show. She really does deserve better than this.

          • I think the outdated bit is intentional. I think that’s the joke, The parent’s outdated insensitive sensibilities being out of place in a PC world of overtly sensitive people

          • I think the problem with that argument, Michael, is that it has been done much better many times before. All In The Family comes to mind. More recently on Louis with his racist aunt and trying to explain her N-bombs to his kids. Now that is some funny TV right there.

    • There are insensitive jokes that are actually funny (see Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Howard Stern 20 years ago) and insensitive jokes that are more offensive than they are funny. For me, this show didn’t go near the good end and tried too hard to go to the bad end. It’s just laughless, poorly written, shallow and a waste of the actors. I can’t put this on next week just to check out the Asian girl.

      • Liz says:

        Agree I feel so bad for the actors. They are all so good and could probably get another series. This was horrible I was numb. I found it offensive as Latina among other things. I’ll take a good Latino joke but they were not clever or funny. Please cancel & put on Raising Hope

    • Dano says:

      When you get around to it, you’ll wish you hadn’t. Totally unfunny!

  4. What a shame because I absolutely Giovanni Ribisi and generally like Seth Green. It’s no wonder they have a laugh track since most of those jokes would have fallen flat in front of a live studio audience. 5 minutes into Brooklyn 9-1-1 and it’s already LEAPS and BOUNDS better than Dads.

  5. Tabitha says:

    I didn’t even notice the offensive things mentioned, because I was so distracted by how horribly unfunny this show is.

    • Jake says:

      That was my problem exactly. I actually finished the episode and was like wait, what was so offensive until I realized I was focusing on looking for laughs that never came.

  6. Joel says:

    Sensitive? The only thing I’m sensitive to is bad attempts at comedy. This show is terrible and it has nothing to do with it being offensive. It’s just a bad show.

    • Humor, and therefore, comedy is subjective, so there really is no such thing as bad attempts at it. Some people will like it, others won’t. Some will laugh, others will groan.

      • scooby says:

        Not true. Whether it’s funny is subjective, not whether the effort to make it was good. You can appreciate whether something is done well without it being your cup of tea.

      • ben says:

        What is funny is subjective, but comedies live and die not based on one persons subjective opinion, but the more objective ‘hive mind’ of potential watchers as a whole. If on overall balance the view is that the show isn’t funny, then it isn’t going to survive very long.

        • There’s a cliche in pop culture (which could be true in real life. don’t really know as it’s not a conversation I’ve ever had with anyone. it’s definitely something you can see in plenty of movies and TV shows) that goes “men love the Stooges, women hate them”.

          As per this cliche, men think that the Stooges are hilarious, while women think they’re just stupid.

          Humor, comedy, and everything that goes into it, is entirely subjective. Whether the joke involves hitting someone over the head, or someone tripping on an ottoman, whatever trouble Lucy got into, or whatever happens on a show like this one.

  7. Not great, but not bad. I’ll probably tune in again.

  8. Kristi says:

    Maybe the worst sitcom I’ve ever seen.

  9. joe says:

    Put Rasing Hope back to tues PLEASE I DIdnt laugh once during Dads

  10. Eric says:

    I won’t be watching again. The excellent Brooklyn Nine-Nine deserves a better lead-in. Dads just has a very been-there-done-that vibe about it. McFarlane’s offensive humour just doesn’t translate well to live-action. This show failed to interest me at all, despite the great actors. Oh well. Here’s to hoping it gets banished to Fridays and Raising Hope takes it’s place.

  11. Sheldon W. says:

    Worst pilot of the 21st century (so far…)!

  12. JAB says:

    Watched for 5 minutes. Then watched an NCIS repeat.

  13. Wrstlgirl says:

    Not for me.

  14. Was as bad as I heard it was. Still chuckled a couple times. I’ve seen much worse. And come on, that Shiite joke was done on Murphy Brown like 25 years ago.

  15. Allyson says:

    Awful show! I predict the show will be cancelled soon. After 5 minutes I had to change the channel. So unfunny and boring! What was Fox thinking with this show? Proabley the worst pilot ever!

  16. Eliza says:

    Yes, can I have Raising Hope back, please?

  17. KAD says:

    You need an “Oh God, I can’t unsee that!” category below F.

  18. Francine says:

    It just wasn’t funny. At all. The only thing I’m sick of hearing though is that “so and so” deserves much better. I’m not denying that but all the actors signed up for it (why I don’t know) so they have no one to blame but themselves. It’s a shame too because there is a lot of talent on this show but that isn’t enough to save this show.

    • Lala says:

      The actors could have expected the premise to be better executed. They sign on based on very little info and scripts can change and there will be new scripts TV shows change over time. Once they are under contract they can’t just walk away. I’d think Seth Green would have some influence though. They are also getting paid a lot more than most of us.

  19. Dads is one of top contenders for the “first new show of the Fall TV season to get canceled”.

    • Eli says:

      I don’t know, even bad press is better than no press, and it might get some people watching who otherwise wouldn’t have even know it exists.

      I think shows like The Millers or Betrayal will do worse simply cause nobody cares about them either way right now.

  20. Keith says:

    Yet Ben and Kate got cut

  21. Zach says:

    I was thoroughly surprised by this. I expected very bad things. I mean, it has a 15 on Metacritic. I’m also not normally a fan of Seth MacFarlane, but that’s more because of his poor animation. I didn’t find it offensive, and actually laughed a lot. It helps that I’m a big fan of Seth Green and Martin Mull. The set was gorgeous BTW. I am looking forward to next week’s episode.

  22. Sandra says:

    This is the worst thing to happen to Brooklyn Nine Nine. That’s a quality show that didn’t deserve this lead in.

  23. Kristina says:

    It wasn’t great, but I didn’t find it offensive, just not that funny. I’ll give it another episode or two to see if it picks up, since I love Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi.

  24. Austin says:

    Please let Raising Hope replace this.

  25. Dan says:

    I didn’t laugh once. I was so disappointed I didn’t give the show after it a shot at all. I just turned the tv off.

  26. derek says:

    It was exceptional sub-par. The jokes were somewhat lame and uninspired, some scenes ended to abruptly, the laugh track is the worst it’s ever been, and there doesn’t seem to be a straight man who the audience can easily relate to.

    It can be fixed, but it’s certainly not off to a good start.

  27. GTS says:

    OK. We all know that Seth McFarlene produced or wrote this (don’t remember which). So, it’s gonna be a toned down Family Guy.

  28. stephen says:

    i thought it was funny. and aside from the asian school girl thing. The rest was mostly about the dads making there kids lives miserable. It was funny get over yourself. I think its so funny when white people get upset for others.

    • JOey jo jo says:

      The tone of this board isn’t “offended by racial jokes” The tone I’m reading is, yeah this show is NOT FUNNY. I agree, not funny.

  29. TV fan says:

    Cancel this now!! awful!!

  30. Christopher says:

    Not very good. Looks like someone copied the lame premise for 2 Broke Girls and decided to make it about 2 dudes who aren’t broke with dads.

  31. Erika says:

    The jokes just made me roll my eyes. Insensitive, sure… but nothing new in television. But the show just wasn’t any good. That is a mountain it has to climb to gain any kind of regular audience.

  32. Jay says:

    -2 and a half men show women as sexual objects. Women should be offended. Show should be cancelled.
    -Big Bang Theory pokes fun at Geeks and Nerds. They should be offended. Show should be cancelled.
    -Homeland depicts Muslims as terrorists. Muslims should be offended. Show should be cancelled.
    Walking Dead depicts Zombies as monsters. Zombies should be offended. Show should be cancelled.
    -Family Guy makes fun of everyone. Everyone should be offended. Show should be cancelled.
    -Just watched a rerun of Friends with an overweight young girl dancing on Ross’s shoes and Ross made an expression that she was too heavy. Obese people should have been offended. Show should have been cancelled.
    All of you easily offended people by stuff on TV that doesn’t even relate to you should just relax. It’s entertainment that you do not have to watch. Just turn the channel. Words cannot hurt you. Settle down. If a show is bad and no one watches, it will get cancelled. There is a lot in the world that can offend you, so just toughen up. It’s just a TV show. I am conservative, republican, white, and Christian and Family Guy tears into Republicans and God all the time and I love the show. One of the funniest shows on TV. Just relax. It will all work out.

    • nickmaniac says:

      Well said!

    • Francine says:

      I get what you’re saying, but it seems like the majority of people aren’t offended by the jokes- they just find them not funny. Several people even commented that they have no problem with crude or offensive humor if its done in an original or funny way. This show didnt have that for a lot of people. I’m one of them. I didn’t even notice anything offensive in Dads but I just plain thought it was unfunny.

    • Betsy says:

      yeah, nice try there.

  33. Merissa says:

    I literally did not laugh once…on the bright side, it made me that much more excited for Brooklyn Nine-Nine

  34. Tania says:

    That was really bad. Forget the offensiveness of some of the jokes… it just wasn’t funny. I’ve been known to laugh even when it’s politically correct not to do so. That wasn’t issue. It just wasn’t funny. It’s too bad; I like Giovanni Ribisi, and it was nice, after having to watch her on The Suite Life, to see Brenda Song get a more adult role. But she deserves better.

  35. liz says:

    I expect better from Seth Green. I mean, Robot Chicken is offensive and frequently disturbing, but its not a cruel humour. And the frequent celebrity participation helps offset the potential for cruelty. And even the racist/sexist humour on RC is done with the point of them trying to undermine something in a critical way. Dads is not that. Its humour thats meant to be demeaning; making fun at people’s expense because they are too lazy to think of something more creative.

  36. nickmaniac says:

    I’m Asian and I didn’t find the Asian jokes offensive, just downright lame. Come on, show. At least make an effort to make us laugh. Laughing at stereotypes doesn’t always have to be something that is frowned upon, especially if the jokes are are genuinely funny and intelligent within context of the story that’s being told. But ‘Dads’ made no attempt to be either funny or intelligent. Fail.

  37. Nicole says:

    Wow, everyone is being hard on this show. I only watched this show because I was waiting for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and expected to completely hate it. I really am not a fan of Seth Mcfarlane, but this show was OK. It was definitely lacking in some parts. I did laugh at a few things, it wasn’t offensive at all, just a bit stupid really. I am surprised to say I will check out a few more episodes before making a final decision on this show. On a side note: Does Martin Mull ever age? He looks the same as he ever did!

  38. Sara says:

    I quite enjoyed it. And frankly, I can get offended pretty easily but I wasn’t offended by this. I’m more offended by shows like The New Normal and Mike & Molly.

  39. Ron says:

    Horrible. Just horrible. I don’t get offended easily, so I have no problem with “offensive” jokes. I have a problem with offensive jokes that aren’t funny. Nothing about this was funny. And like I said, it has nothing to do with the nature of the jokes. It’s just that they were so cliched and unimaginative. I mean seriously, aren’t we over the small Asian penis jokes? It’s so unoriginal at this point. My prediction is that this will be the first or second cancelled show of the new season. Fox needs to rescue Raising Hope from Fridays and put it in this time slot, giving Raising Hope a respectable timeslot and giving Brooklyn Nine-Nine a worthy lead-in.

  40. Paulo Alm says:

    I really thing that if this post was about how good the show was, the comments would be a lot different. But unfortunately, people still agree with everything they read. and can’t make their own mind about this kind of stuff. It’s all about how good are your sense of humor. This are jokes, they don’t have to be polite, they have to be funny. And I really think that it was a success in this aspect. But let’s see how this goes…

    • Way to be condescending while displaying your complete lack of standards simultaneously. I watched it. I gave it a chance. I like the actors and am a mild Seth MacFarlane fan. I felt this show was beneath the talent of all of them. And I felt this without having read this article first, thank you very much.

      • Paulo Alm says:

        Well, i’m not criticizing the way people think that this was unfunny, because that’s personal. What i’m saying, and you would understand if you tried, is that people think this was offensive. You, as a Seth MacFarlane fan, obviously does not think that this was offensive at all. Then it’s not a problem if you don’t think it’s funny because you have seen it only as a comedy. The problem is people forgetting this is a comedy and watching it as a political debate.

        • I get that it’s supposed to be a comedy, and I don’t have to ‘try’ to understand that. There’s a laugh track and everything. It just fails at being a comedy, even though it is one. It aims low and still misses the mark. You wanna keep watching this, all the power to you. But don’t you dare accuse people of having issues of any kind for not sharing your particular taste.

  41. Laura says:

    Of course this show is horrible. Seth Green is one of the most annoying actors out there and when he is cast is anything, its destined to fail

  42. Bob says:

    People laugh at most of the jokes on ‘Family Guy’ because it’s a cartoon. You have a tendency to give a little more of a pass to an ethnic or racist joke because it’s cartoonish. ‘Dads’ isn’t a cartoon. McFarlane doesn’t have that luxury and doesn’t have the flashbacks he’s so fond of to fall back on. This show will die a slower death than one would hope, but that’s where it’s headed.

  43. Philly In DC says:

    Brenda Song was pretty… but that won’t save the show. Send her back to Scandal, please and put Col Mustard out of his misery. (And I really like him a lot)

  44. Nichole says:

    Given the talent on this show, would have expected a whole lot more. They all seemed to come across very wooden in the performances, many because the writers seemed to try and cram the entire episode with jokes, so had no other substance. I know it’s a comedy, but some form a storyline would have been nice. Only part I found amusing was when Ribisi went to confront his dad and turned to see the dog sitting there, that was a good one lol. The rest was just not funny, Ribisi especially is much much better then this show and wasted here.

  45. PEL says:

    I am one to laugh and even make offensive jokes. And I find it offensive and racist, because it wasn’t funny. A good offensive joke is when you laugh despite yourself. When you say “I shouldn’t laugh because it’s racist, but man that one is funny”.
    Dads never offers that. That’s why it fails !

  46. cas says:

    I love offensive jokes and comedy, hence why I love Tosh and even Seth McFarlane (if that is how you spell it). I also love the leads in this show, but hearing all the reviews and negative comments I probably won’t watch it.

  47. Annie says:

    People are just too dang sensitive these days…what happened to just watching TV and having fun?? Why is everyone so PC that it kills them unless everyone is more PC than they are. Lighten up people, bring back the fun in your life. TV is Fictitious, if you don’t like it you aren’t being forced to watch it. Change the channel and stop being such a baby about it!! You can’t please people all the time, and we shouldn’t have to!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Two says:

      What are you talking about? The vast majority of people talking about this show here have said they were NOT offended by the material.

  48. Bella says:

    Not everybody finds the same things funny, which is way I like some comedies on t.v. and not others, even though the ones I don’t care for are beloved by other people. There’s really no need to say other people are stupid or crass or don’t know what’s funny. As for me, I read all the negative reports in advance, and while there were a lot of things in the episode I didn’t care for, I think it has potential.

  49. Sandy says:

    I watched about 10 minutes of this and knew it was not something going on my must see TV list. It really was just horrible.

  50. windy4292 says:

    just all around bad show not funny and I love the Seths, Martin Mull etc and was hoping it would be but it wasn’t..I also wanted to turn the channel because I was embarrassed by the bad acting from them..what a disappointment..