Friday, May 18, 2001

Maybe it's offensive

The jungle drums are beating in the adoption community about a new fall offering on The WB. This is probably the most attention a show on The WB has received from grown-ups in a long time, but the fact that the netlet caters to the young is one reason everybody's so concerned. Another is that people in the adoption community tend to be on sharp lookout for things to be offended by. Which doesn't mean they're not right to be offended. I'm just saying.

On the face of it, the show looks promising for a couple of reasons: Julia Sweeney and Fred Willard play the parents, and the executive producer is a "Frasier" veteran. And it looks not-so-promising for a couple of reasons: The main character is an adolescent, there are twins in the cast, and the plot sounds like yet another recycling of "Malcolm in the Middle." I could get offended that there's not more interesting work on the tube for Sweeney and Willard, or that we may be seeing the dawning of another set of Olsens, but that's not what all the other adoptive parents are getting offended about.

They're getting offended about the title, which is: "Maybe I'm Adopted."

An e-mail writing campaign has already started against the title, and The WB's online message board is predictably hopping. Some message titles, to indicate the depth of righteous indignation at play here:

• I am embarrassed for WB
• Tacky and offensive title
• Maybe......this is an offensive title!!!!
• Lose this TACKY title!
• Maybe I'm Adopted....PULEEZE!!!
• Maybe I'm Adopted...YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED WB
• Maybe I'm not Black; Maybe I'm in a wheelchair; MAYBE...
• OFFENSIVE to families formed by adoption!!!
• Absolutely Unacceptable!
• Does Rosie know about this show?
• Did you actually pay someone to come up with this title
• Adoption is nothing to joke about!
• Not a very thought out title
• Get RID of that OFFENSIVE title!!!!!!!
• The title is completly horrible....assuming that a crappy confused life must be like being adopted...

On that last point, I think that actually being adopted is positioned as preferable to having a crappy confused life, "Maybe I'm adopted" being wishful thinking for this young lady. But that's nitpicking. It's a foolish choice for a title, and makes me think that either the creators genuinely didn't know that the adoption community had a hair-trigger, or they did know and wanted to get some publicity for a show that sounds mediocre and unmemorable at best. Personally, I'd say the best policy is to ignore it, and given the fact that it is on The WB, it will most assuredly go away. But then, I'm not feeling particularly righteously indignant this morning.

No comments: