At what was supposed to be an event to promote their new show, "Dads" creators Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild took the heat for racial jokes in the pilot. TV critics found a scene, which sees an Asian-American woman asked by her bosses to dress as a "sexy Asian schoolgirl," and another which features a comparison of boxing match to "Punch the Puerto Rican," offensive and were not pleased with them.
Insisting that "we don't want this to be the racial-insult comedy show," executive producer Scully promised that there would be a "noticeable change in the tone and a [better] balance" after the first episode. He stressed, "It's a comedy about fathers and sons, and you want to strike that relatable thing."
Fellow EP Sulkin added, "We all noticed some things we'd like to change or tweak moving forward." He claimed, "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."
Addressing the scene featuring Brenda Song dressing as a sexy schoolgirl, Sulkin said, "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."
Song herself wasn't offended by the scene. "Veronica is a go-getter [and] she'll do whatever it takes to get the job done. 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," she explained. Star Seth Green also tried to justify racist jokes on the show, telling reporters, "Just to be fair, this is a disparaging portrayal of white men."
"Dads" is also executive produced by Seth MacFarlane, who wasn't present at the show's panel at TCA. The new comedy follows two successful guys (Green and Giovanni Ribisi) in their mid-30s, whose relatively stable lives get turned upside down when their pain-in-the-neck fathers (Peter Riegert and Martin Mull) move in. It will premiere Tuesday, September 17 at 8 P.M. on FOX.