September 12, 2013 3:12pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Fox Using Negative 'Dads' Reviews to Promote 'Offensive' Series (Video)
Following a summer filled with critical jabs, Fox is trying to use Dads' bad press to its benefit.
A new promo for the freshman comedy from Seth MacFarlane and the writers of Ted urges viewers to ignore media, which have been less than kind with their early reactions. Interspersed in the 30-second spot are review blurbs that describe the show as "offensive," "reprehensible" and "morally wrong."
"I don't see how you could be offended by this; you just laugh," one woman says following what appears to be a screening or taping of the comedy starring Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as a pair of successful guys whose lives are turned upside down when their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them.
Speaking to members of the Television Critics Association this summer, Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly urged members of the press to be patient with the series, which marks an important step in the network's multicamera push.
Early buzz on the comedy has not been kind, with critics singling out the show's offensive nature. THR's chief TV critic, Tim Goodman, called the pilot "terrible" and noted that "critics haven't stopped tweeting snark about it since the screeners arrived. Not only is the show not funny, it has heavily racist overtones for Asians."
Producers defended the series while still acknowledging that there were some things in the pilot that they'd like to "change or tweak" moving forward. "If we missed the mark in the pilot, we're shooting to hit it better in upcoming shows," EP Wellesley Wild said in July. That said, they plan to keep it "insulting and irreverent."
Pressed by the Media Action Network for Asian Americans to reshoot "racist" scenes from the pilot, Fox declined to alter the episode. "This is a show that will be evocative and will poke fun at stereotypes and bigotries -- sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations," Reilly and Fox COO Joe Earley said in a statement in August. "The series is based heavily 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."
Fox's Dads promo comes a few months after ABC used the early negative reviews for then-rookie comedy The Neighbors to encourage viewers in a late-season ad to give the series another shot.
Check out Fox's new Dads promo, below, and hit the comments with your thoughts. Dads will premiere Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. on Fox.