NBC has pulled the plug on its new sitcom Mail Order Family, less than 72 hours after the show was initially announced. Written and executive-produced by Superstore’s Jackie Clarke, the show was based on her own experiences growing up in a home with the mail-order Filipina bride her father “purchased” from a catalog, just a few years after her mother’s death.
Social media protests against the show—which many perceived as making light of the inherent inequality and rampant dangers in the mail-order bride industry—arose swiftly after its announcement. One widely seen online petition—circulated by Philippine women’s rights group Gabriela USA—outright called for the show to be canceled for what was expected to be its relatively light-hearted depiction of the practice, noting:
“Mail order brides are victims of human trafficking as they are forced into sex slavery and domestic servitude. Mail order-brides are vulnerable to violence because of the fundamentally unequal nature and imbalance of power where money is exchanged for an arranged marriage. Many mail-order brides become vulnerable to violence because they may be financially dependent on their husband, are isolated in a foreign country, and husbands can easily threaten them with deportation.”
Clarke previously told her story—which focused more on what it was like to be raised by a father who would order a mail-order bride, rather than the woman herself—on a 2012 episode of This American Life. (If you want to read the transcript, it’s the third act here.) She was producing the new show alongside Superstore execs Ruben Fleischer and David Bernad, as well as Josh Bycel and Jonathan Fener of American Dad. NBC announced that it was developing the series on Wednesday morning, and announced that it was scrapping it just a couple of hours ago.
[via Deadline; h/t commenter: a quiet storm]