Aug. 20--Weeks before its premiere, "Dads", Fox's new comedy about two adult sons dealing with their aging fathers, continues to be shrouded in controversy due to jokes in the pilot that many critics claim are racially offensive.
But despite the furor, Fox executives and producers of the show are refusing to change any of the elements or dialogue in the pilot, and have turned down a request from an Asian American watchdog group to reshoot what it called "problematic" scenes in the show.
"This is a show that will be evocative and will poke at stereotypes and bigotries -- sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations," said a letter written by Kevin Reilly, Fox's chairman of entertainment, and Chief Operating Officer Joe Earley.
The letter continued: "The series is heavily based on the executive producers' own lives, and the relationships between the fathers and sons on 'Dads' will continue to be the main driver of the show's comedic sensibility. Everyone involved with 'Dads' is striving to create a series with humor that works on multiple levels and 'earns' its audaciousness.
"That said, we do recognize comedy is subjective, and we may not be able to please everyone, all the time."
Seth MacFarlane ("Ted," "Family Guy") is one of the executive producers of the show, which stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as business partners who were childhood best friends. Their lives turn upside down when their fathers (Peter Reigert and Martin Mull) move back home.
Much of the show's racial humor has already sparked heavy controversy from critics.
To impress Chinese clients, the partners instruct one of their Asian female employees (Brenda Song) to dress and act like a sexy Asian schoolgirl who laughs with a stereotypical shy giggle.
Mull, who plays the father of Ribisi's character, tries to interrupt the meeting, telling his son, "The Chinese are a lovely and honorable people, but you can't trust them." He makes other cultural jokes, including a scene where he sees his son watching a boxing match and asks if he's watching "Punch the Puerto Rican."
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