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NBC Is Not Moving Forward With #MailOrderFamily

The network has nixed the sitcom about a Filipino mail-order bride.

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Deadline reports that NBC is developing Mail Order Family, a half-hour sitcom about a widowed white father who purchases a mail-order bride from the Philippines to take care of his two daughters.

The project — which could very well never make it to air, as the network has not yet ordered it to series — comes from the trio behind Superstore: Jackie Clarke will write and executive produce, Ruben Fleischer will direct and executive produce, and David Bernad will executive produce.

The premise of Mail Order Family is based loosely on Clarke's own life: When she was in first grade, her mother died and her father ordered a wife from the Philippines.

"My dad was in the dating scene for like two seconds and then decided to order my stepmom from a catalog. Yes, from the Philippines. I’m so serious — it’s so insane," she told The Observer in 2002. She told the same story on an episode of This American Life in 2012.

After people got wind of the prospective NBC sitcom, they took to Twitter in outrage.

Today in terrible ideas: NBC buys "family comedy" about widowed white male who orders a Filipina mail order bride https://t.co/f2f6w7hcE0

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Who thought this was a good idea? -- NBC Buys ‘Mail Order Family’ Comedy From ‘Superstore’ Trio https://t.co/zLzBusJyBh via @deadline

Just when u think AsnAms are making progress, @NBC does this sht https://t.co/9ynL6lI43L Mail-order brides?? u fckn kidding me? This passes?

FINALLY. A BREAK FROM ALL THOSE STEREOTYPICAL THREE DIMENSIONAL ASIAN ROLES. https://t.co/ii6WXRgKxm

I didn't realize #HumanTrafficking was such a laugh riot. Maybe only to White Guys Whose Dad's purchase people https://t.co/K4wVRO3Tf1

Laura Sirikul, a writer for The Nerds of Color, condemned Mail Order Family for "making light of human trafficking" and for perpetuating harmful stereotypes about Asian women.

"Human trafficking of a woman to be married off to a man she doesn't know should not be a laughing matter. The unregulated mail order industry and the men purchasing the brides exploit the needs of impoverished women," she wrote. Sirikul added that the show could also "encourage the stereotypes of the subservient, docile, and exotic Asian woman."

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While Mail Order Family may never make it to series, people are already urging NBC to #CancelMailOrderFamily.

This is a petition against the new @NBC show from the @NBCSuperstore creators about the Mail Order Bride https://t.co/ZvxLq0KO1q

Men harassed my mom & me because they thought we were 4 sale.your story trivializes it #CancelMailOrderFamily @jackieclarke @rubenfleischer

When Y people shit on POC culture, cash out on our struggles then act like we are just being dramatic over a "joke"… https://t.co/i0KQyDqsoW

joke's on @nbc cuz there are over 3 million filipinos in the US and we are mad as hell #FilipinaNot4Sale #CancelMailOrderFamily

Clarke has responded to critics on Twitter, explaining that she intends to make the Filipino woman a "fully realized" and "complex" character.

@TazzyStar @originalspin hoping to make the stepmom a fully realized strong activated character. Only so much complexity from a press rls

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@kulturewatchdog @rubenfleischer just an element of the show. Going to create a complex character here.

@keithofthesea that is truly all I ask. I want to make her a kick ass feminist bad ass. I wanna invert the stereotype!

Clarke did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News's request for a comment.

UPDATE — An NBCUniversal spokesperson has issued a response to BuzzFeed News, revealing that the network has decided not to move forward with the project. The full statement is below.

"We purchased the pitch with the understanding that it would tell the creator's real-life experience of being raised by a strong Filipina stepmother after the loss of her own mother. The writer and producers have taken the sensitivity to the initial concept to heart and have chosen not to move forward with the project at this time.”

Susan Cheng is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Susan Cheng at susan.cheng@buzzfeed.com.

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