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‘Cavemen’ About Race, Just Not the One You’re Thinking Of

July 25, 2007 3:17 PM

First “Cavemen” took knocks for not being funny, and now critics are attacking the ABC sitcom for being racially insensitive.

The show is supposed to explore race relations through the trials and tribulations of the cavemen characters, but some critics say the cavemen stereotypes—athleticism, dancing, sexual prowess, laziness, etc.—remind them of one race’s stereotypes in particular. Critics ask the panel if “Cavemen” is actually a show about African Americans.

“We never saw them as a stand-in for any one group,” says executive producer Josh Gordon.

“Is it something we’re aware of?” asked executive producer Mike Schiff. “Yes. Could it be an issue? Yes, but it’s our job to make sure it doesn’t come off that way. If you pick an offensive stereotype of any kind it’s going to bump up into some ethic group, it’s going to happen.”

The critics are skeptical. The panel consists of eight white men. Soon the producers are defensively rattling off the ethnicities of various crew members.

“We have an African-American man, an Indian-American guy, we have an Asian-American writer…”

“Three African American directors…”

“And a Latina...”

After several questions on the topic, Schiff suddenly slams the breaks on the entire “’Cavemen’ as a metaphor for race relations” premise that ABC has touted since first announcing the show (a premise McPherson upheld during his executive session just a couple hours ago).

“Is the show about race relations? No,” Schiff says. “Is that a background to the show? Yes. But it’s not the driving force behind it.”

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Comments (9)

Jo:

Oh for heavens sake! Why can't something just be funny and intertaining without insuting anyone? I've been waiting for this show and I never once thought it copied any particular race. Maybe it actualy mimics rednecks-anyone think of that? It could fit! Except the Cavemen work and don't keep five sonner honds under the front porch and 5 rusted cars in their yards.

stephen:

Even a caveman could figure out what this program is all about.

Lee:

Gez Louezzze, I love the caveman commercials... every time I see them I think they should make a program about them. Now it has turned into a racial thing? Toughen up people, too many thin skinned people around now adays. Why do we have to do the racial thing? Why does everything need to be picked apart? Why cant we just accept that they are cavemen and not try to make it more? Does everything need to be picked apart? Dont we have real racial problems going on that we can address?

Ed:

Let's just enjoy it. Even Freud once said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." And if he didn't say it, he should have.

hub:

I think I'm more appalled by the fact that people actually think the premise itself is a good idea, regardless of all the crap about racial stereotyping.

"every time I see them I think they should make a program about them"? ...really? ...*really*? I'm not sure whether to weep or perform some kind of exorcism. Then again, I guess "According to Jim" is still on the air for some reason. /wretch

Kasey:

Good grief lighten up people. Just because your ancestors were cavemen doesn't mean you have to spoil it for the rest of us!

Watcher:

I love the commercials too. Geico only dealt with the stereotypical low intelligence of cavemen, "so easy a caveman could do it."

Download the ABC pilot and THEN pass judgment (google is your friend). While it had humorous bits, the episode is definitely overloaded with racial content.

Simonalee:

Pick! Pick! Pick! I thought the Cavemen was a great Idea but someone else just can't leave it alone. It's just human nature to find fault but come on. Do you have to find something wrong with this? They just have to go around sticking ugly labels on every thing. I love the commercials too. I was looking forward to seeing this, please don't ruin it before it even comes out! Besides, I already have a favorite caveman.

lines:

The show is about all Minorities. Well educated people are a minority. Artists are minorities. Many Religious groups are minorities. Many Races are minorities. Homosexuals are minorities. The show is poking fun at all the hardships that face ALL minorities. In Fact, The show is empowering minorities. Remember, the smallest minority on the planet is the tiny group of people who are enlightened and appreciative of the great Earth Mother. This is who cavemen speaks to. The people who are fed up with technology. All it has done is increase our population towards chaotic atmosphere of competition. I love this show. It reminds me of the Rock Band Nirvana which stood for this kind of innate intelligence. God Bless Cavemen.

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