I don’t do episodic reviews, but since we’re on hiatus, I thought I’d put in my two cents on a few new shows. This piece: Bordertown, Seth MacFarlane’s new FOX animated series. It follows two neighboring families, American and Mexican, barely co-existing in a town on the Mexican-US border. The pilot revolves around the town passing a strict law against illegal immigrants, but making it easier to target and deport legal Mexican immigrants.
I understand FOX wants another Family Guy: their previous attempts at animated comedies, such as their Animation Domination High Def efforts, Napeleoon Dynamite, and Allen Gregory all failed, with Bob’s Burgers being the only exception to the rule. The Cleveland Show and American Dad, despite being considered failures, at least held their own and are the closest to the Sunday Animation staple. So it’s no surprise we see Bordertown as an attempt to be the new Family Guy.
And they miss.
I just found myself growing tired of the concept from the word “go”. A racist American father who has a daughter in love with the neighboring Mexican college grad, although the American father wants her to marry the inbreed neighbor across the street. His face is at his stomach…his foot is at his face (see pic above, bottom left). Seriously, FOX? Seriously?! Am I watching this?!?
The show wants to have the underlying discussion about race in America, and it just feels like a dirty place to have it. Family Guy does cross the race border (see what I did there?), BUT it has proved it can have serious moments among the stupidity (if you’ve never watched the episode where Brian and Stewie are locked in a bank, your concept of Family Guy is wrong). Bordertown absolutely doesn’t have that capacity. But the more serious problem with Bordertown: it’s limited. For 22 minutes, all that got thrown at me was race, culture, & race again. How about the everyday? That’s an unfair question after one episode (thus why we do the Rule of Three), but I don’t know if I can, or if I remotely want to keep watching. I know shows like this: they attack one type of thing and try to make as many jokes as possible about the thing. How much longer do we make a joke out of the father who’s racist while everyone else around him isn’t, although a town just voted for stricter immigration laws? It’s miserable to watch. Oh, and there’s a whole alien storyline, which, okay, I get it, we’re close to New Mexico. But come on, man. What are we doing out here, man?!
Per usual, I’ll be watching 2 more episodes. But the potential here is small, and the execution is poor. They had the right idea…and that’s about all they got right so far.