FOX’s “Bordertown” is a poor example of life on the border. In this poorly drafted comedy, the Latino people and their culture are the punchlines to hit or miss jokes.
I understand stereotypes and racist jokes exist, and FOX was likely trying to be edgy and push its humor. However, this show parallels actual struggles the LatinX community is dealing with.
Large families, Banda music and literal Alien abductions become running gags throughout the series which takes place in the fictitious town of “Mexifornia.”
This regional attitude toward border towns is nothing new. If you say you are from the Rio Grande Valley or El Paso, you’re likely met with the stigmatic response, “Oh isn’t that like super close to Mexico?”
The show centers around two distinct families, the Buckwalds and the Gonzalezes. The Gonzalezes are Mexican-American with a large family which gives the writers of this show plenty of ammo for consistently unamusing jokes. Bud, the patriarch of the white American Buckwalds, is an immigration officer who battles an infamous human trafficker by the name of “El Coyote.”
The two families and cultures clash until their Romeo and Juliet—J.C. Gonzalez and Becky Buckwald—decide to get married, consequentially combining their two cultures.
The first episode centers around a heated anti-immigration law, Prop 7010—a law reminiscent to SB 4 from the most recent Texas legislative session. The law is perceived to be “what will fix things” for the Buckwald family. It too passes by a narrow margin.
I can go on and on about how this show is either a poor or stupid man’s “Family Guy,” in which cut away gags need to be later explained by the characters themselves, but I won’t.
Heavy comments such as race, religion and abortion are apparent, but are often thrown aside in favor of a fart gag or simply dismissed as a social justice warrior comment. Those important conversations are rarely explored or developed.
Apart from the obvious attempts at racial topical humor, conservatives should also take issue. The show represents their ideology in the form of Bud, a white man who is blatantly racist, stupid and whose arguments for immigration policy are laced with logical fallacies.
I was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, only 30 minutes away from another country. Growing up, I did not speak fluent Spanish. I did not worry about violence spilling over. I was not afraid of my neighbor. I think anyone else from the Valley, Laredo or El Paso, just to name a few places in Texas, can agree the people are what the show gets most wrong.
This show had the opportunity to go where no other show has before and tell the story of people living on the American side of the border while showcasing their unique culture and struggles. Instead, the writers, producers and executives opted for something that would average a 35 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, countless 1-star reviews and several thumbs down on Netflix.
– Jakob R. Rodriguez is a journalism sophomore