BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — It doesn't debut until next month, but the Fox sitcom "Dads" is already taking heat in early reviews for being crass, sexist and exploiting racial stereotypes.
Facing reporters Thursday, its stars and producers defended the show as focusing on human frailties for the sake of laughs and enlightenment. They vowed to refine it, as needed, as the season unfolds, and asked its audience not to rush to judgment.
"In the pilot (episode) we all noticed some things we'd like to change or tweak moving forward," co-creator Alec Sulkin said at the session of the Television Critics Association. He acknowledged they may have "missed the mark a few times" in the pilot.
"The first six episodes, you're improving your pilot," said Mike Scully, another executive producer whose credits include the once-excoriated "The Simpsons."
"I think you're going to notice a change in the tone and balance," Scully said.
Yet another executive producer of the series is Seth MacFarlane, who wasn't present at the session. His animated comedies, including "Family Guy," have won him popularity as well as criticism for their rawness.
"Dads" centers on two friends, played by Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi, whose politically incorrect fathers re-enter their lives and disrupt them. The raucous, loose-lipped dads are played by Martin Mull and Peter Riegert.
"Historically, television has been a provocative medium. It's a medium we look at to observe ourselves," said Green, before noting that the show has "some disparaging portraits of white men."
"Dads" premieres Sept. 17.