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Seth Macfarlane’s Bordertown Tackles Immigration


Seth Macfarlane is adding to the immigration conversation in a 2014 with the animated show Bordertown. As of now, 13 episodes of the show, which is set in a fictitious Texas border-town, have been ordered by FOX. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how long it’ll be before FOX greenlights a Michael Vick cartoon about animal rights. I kid! Macfarlane’s humor is best known for pulling no punches, so we can expect to see all characters and topics properly lampooned and treated with the same lack of respect. Whether or not the jokes in Seth Macfarlane’s Bordertown are fiercely satirical or ridiculously cliche remains to be seen.

If you’re like me, you’re probably going to check out the first episode just out of curiosity. And if you’re like me, you’re probably going to attempt to turn this into a drinking game. Anytime we see someone illegally cross a border, take a shot. Any time a character says, “pinche gringo,” take a shot. If a Latino baby speaks with a perfect English accent, take three shots.

Lalo Alcaraz

One definite mark in the plus column for Bordertown is that the show’s producers (aka three white guys) have hired Lalo Alcaraz to write for Bordertown. For those of you who don’t know, Alcaraz is the subversive mind behind the social commentary of La Cucaracha, one of the first Latino daily comic strips in the United States. The cynic in me can’t help but feel the hiring of Alcaraz was a political move by the show’s creators to provide some kind of legitimacy to the show. You know, like when someone says, “it’s okay, I can make that joke because I have a (insert ethnicity here) friend.”

The optimist in me hopes that Lalo will be allowed to bring heart and intelligence to the characters in Bordertown, which will give viewers something of substance to take away. And I hope the trend of hiring Latino writers continues in the upward direction. These days, the Latino demographic accounts for much of FOX’s Sunday viewing audience, so it would only make sense that the network gives back to its audience with a genuine viewing experience. As Lalo said, “The writers’ room is actually pretty diverse, and we are focused on doing political and social satire with some meaning.” And isn’t “some meaning” why we go to Seth MacFarlane in the first place?

Lalo Alcaraz

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