Seth MacFarlane is no stranger to controversy, however his latest offensive offering may actually cause him some headaches: the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans (MANAA) is demanding that the pilot episode of the new FOX comedy 'Dads' be re-shot to remove racist elements in the program.
MANAA is awaiting an official response from FOX, having submitted a letter the group sent on Monday. The letter requests that FOX re-shoot the "racist" scenes in the 'Dads' pilot. FOX told Deadline that they were in the process of responding to the request. Apparently, FOX was taking a little too long for MANAA's tastes, as MANAA took the issue to the press and made the entire exchange public record.
'Dads' stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as two best friends and video game developers who have their crass fathers move in with them and upend their lives. Comic legends Martin Mull and Peter Reigert play the characters' fathers, with stereotypical political incorectness dripping from every line of dialogue. Mull’s character, for instance, calls Asians “Orientals,” and says, of Chinese people, “There’s a reason ‘Shanghai’ is a verb.”
If it seemed that FOX had a hit on their hands, they may have been quicker to defend the program; unfortunately, television critics blasted 'Dads' at the TCA conference earlier this month. Could this MANAA controversy spell the beginning of the end of this project?
The scene that MANAA took the most issue with is a scene in which the sons are about to meet with Chinese businessmen and ask their Asian employee Veronica (Brenda Song) to dress up as a sexy schoolgirl. Green’s character suggests she also giggle demurely — “which is more a Japanese stereotype,” MANAA noted. “Supposedly all was made right when the Chinese agreed to the deal after the ‘creepy interpreter’ sent a picture of his penis to Song, who, predictably, said that it was tiny,” the organization complained in its letter, a copy of which was sent to the media this afternoon.
FOX has attempted to defend the racism inherent by claiming that the problematic dialogue only comes from the dads, who are being painted as old-fashioned and out-of-touch. 'South Park' similarly skirts racial controversy, given that the problematic dialogue on that show comes from Eric Cartman, a character often vilified for being immoral and prejudiced. However, in their letter to FOX, MANAA explains that the scene where Song's character is encouraged to giggle like a stereotype features racism coming from the sons themselves, the lead characters.
What do you think? Did 'Dads' take things too far?