New Animated Series Spoofs Ongoing Immigration Debate

As the march towards the 2016 presidential election continues, some of the candidates vying for the nomination of their respective parties continue to spew vitriolic anti-immigration rhetoric. And, as these provocateur candidates continue to dominate the media, Americans who support comprehensive immigration reform are nervous about the political future of our nation. But a new animated comedy series aims to ease the tension with a satirical viewpoint of the immigration debate designed to make viewers laugh, as well as think, about our current political issues.

Bordertown, which premiered this past Sunday night on Fox, focuses on a fictional U.S. desert community, called Mexifornia, and two families who live there: the Buckwalds, a family who is distrustful of immigrants and the changes they will bring to their community, and the Gonzalezes, a thriving immigrant family from Mexico, living the American dream, who also happen to be the Buckwald’s next door neighbors. The resulting culture clash is compounded by the fact that the Buckwald patriarch, Bud, is a border patrol agent who is envious of the Gonzalez family’s success after having settled in the United States only ten years ago. A supporting cast of diverse characters rounds out the show and adds to the plot points of the series, which also touches on other issues while pulling no punches and unapologetically exploiting stereotypes. [A Cartoon Series Brings Laughs to Raging Immigration Debate, by Frazier Moore, The Washington Post, 30.Dec.2015.]

In a recent interview with The Washington Post, series creator Mark Hentemann compared the character of Bud Buckwald to Archie Bunker, the family patriarch from the iconic 70’s sitcom All in the Family. Bud, he says, is “a white guy who feels he’s losing his place in the world. He’s contrasted with an immigrant who’s building a life for himself in the United States.” Hentemann himself is the son of German immigrants, but also felt it was important to hire Latino writers for the show. Among them is Lalo Alcarez, a well-known cartoonist, film consultant, and radio talk show host. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Alcarez noted that even though the show is intended to spoof racism and homophobia, he hopes that it also will create a serious dialogue among viewers about some of the issues facing our nation. “I hope people enjoy and appreciate the spoofing of Border Patrol, and our broken immigration system … but mainly I hope we get to write even more Mexican family stories in the future. This is what differentiates this show from (others). We get to tell these stories and talk about meaningful current issues at the same time.” [See No Walls Here: Lalo Alcarez Discusses The New Fox Animated Series ‘Bordertown,’ by Daniel Olivas, The Huffington Post, 29.Dec.2015.]


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