‘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.”