The NBC sitcom Mail Order Family probably does not sound familiar to you because the show was cancelled before it even had a chance to air. NBC purchased the rights to the show but then made the decision to take a step back and not go forward with Mail Order Family.
So why was the show cancelled before airing a single episode? I think by reading the proposed plot of the show that can be inferred. The show was set to be a half hour comedy that focused on a widowed white father who orders a bride from the Philippines to help raise his two young daughters.
Showcard for Mail Order Family. Courtesy of NYdailynews.com.
The proposed show received enormous amounts of backlash which caused NBC to put a halt on any plans of moving forward with the show.
For me, my initial reaction was that this is an incredibly offensive show about a stereotype. I wasn’t sure if the show was meant to be funny or draw attention to human trafficking. I found it hard to believe a major network would purchase the rights to a show that is so offensive. Mail Order Family sounds more like a step back in time for sitcoms rather than a progressive sitcom of the 21st century.
However, one producer of Mail Order Family, Jackie Clarke, is defending the show by asking people to not be so quick to judge. Clarke says the show is based loosely on her childhood and that people are misunderstanding the intentions of the show. Clarke hoped the show would be a sitcom that would show the important role of the step-mother in a family. She felt people were not understanding the complexity of the show.
Despite Clarke’s efforts to clarify the intentions of the show, NBC made the decision to pull the plug on the show.
Personally, I think NBC made the right decision to not go forward with the show. I admire Clarke’s tenacity to create a show where a step-mother has a central role but I think the context of having the step-mother as a mail order bride is not a step in the right direction for a sitcom. However, I hope Clarke will continue with her idea of a sitcom that has a step-parent playing a central role because I think it is important to recognize all the different family dynamics.