NYCC 2015: Fox’s ‘Bordertown’ Panel
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Bordertown is a new animated series from executive producer Mark Hentemann (Family Guy). Much like the show it’ll draw its biggest comparisons to, Bordertown is a raunchy, politically incorrect, and yet very socially aware comedy. Joining Hentemann on stage at New York Comic-Con on Saturday night were writer Lalo Alcaraz, and stars Hank Azaria, Alex Borstein, Nicholas Gonzalez, and Judah Friedlander. As a lifelong fan of The Simpsons and Family Guy, being this close to Chief Wiggum and Lois Griffin was a great experience.

Hentemann and Alcaraz wanted to premiere an episode, but rather than show the pilot, they opted to be topical and show an episode titled “Borderwall” in the wake of Donald Trump’s claims that if elected he will build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. South. The show focuses on Bud Buckwald (Azaria), a border patrol guard in the fictional “bordertown” of Mexifornia. He has a traditional animated family, wife Becky and daughter Janice (Borstein), loser son Sanford (Friedlander). Bud can’t understand why he’s worked for the man his whole life, but now has a Mexican boss and his neighbor Ernesto (Gonzalez) is doing better than him financially. When Bud discovers a crashed plane with $10 million in it, he returns it to the chagrin of his wife. He then leads the town in making the decision to spend the money on a wall to keep his job secure. Except”¦ a borderwall renders his job pointless and he’s fired. His options are either to turn to his Mexican immigrant neighbor for a job at his landscaping company”¦ or open up an illegal immigrant tunnel in his basement.

In the 20+ minute episode there were plenty of loud laughs along with plenty of uncomfortable groans from the off-color jokes. Family Guy and South Park fans will know those groans too well. The show will inevitably draw comparisons to other animated shows on TV. When asked on the panel about that, Hentemann and Alcaraz joked they had a strict “No talking animals” clause for all scripts. Gonzalez was teased about portraying all the Mexican characters and he demonstrated the physical nature of voice acting by doing different show voices with different mannerisms. Alex Borstein and Hank Azaria compared voice acting to acting on screen. Borstein, who worked with Hentemann over a decade ago on “3 South,” was asked to do her famous voices from Family Guy and Mad TV. Azaria said it was strange doing only one voice, whereas he voices several key characters on The Simpsons.

When asked if he’ll incorporate characters and do crossovers with Seth MacFarlane’s animated universe, Hentemann hinted in the affirmative and, well, MacFarlane is credited in the cast list on IMDb as Peter Griffin in one episode! FOX has rarely had a problem drawing fans into their animation domination blocks, and Bordertown should slide comfortably into that lineup. It is funny and offensive in ways Family Guy fans will love.

Bordertown premieres in January 2016 on FOX.

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