When Norman Lear introduced All in the Family in the early 1970's, it revolutionized television and helped Americans confront and process the racial and cultural changes that began rocking the country in the 1960s. It is too soon to say what kind of cultural impact Fox’s new animated TV series, Bordertown will have, if any. But Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, hopes that the series will pull no punches. Noorani, a longtime Corporation grantee, works closely with groups from all points on the political spectrum and founded the Forum’s offshoot, Bibles, Badges and Business to advance immigration reform. In his reflection on Bordertown’s debut, he asks the show to punch “in both directions” and confront “a truth that will make us cringe with laughter.”
Bordertown, which debuted on January 3, 2016, introduces the Buckwald and Gonzalez families. Bud Buckwald is a bigoted border guard who struggles to protect his sense of supremacy in the fictional American desert town, Mexifornia, and his next-door neighbor Ernesto Gonzalez, a Mexican immigrant who runs a successful landscaping business. Bordertown’s creator, Mark Hentemann, first pitched the show in 2007, long before the immigration drama of the 2016 presidential campaign began to boil over, but some of the show’s targets are increasingly relevant and absurd; the first two episodes lampoon anti-immigrant legislation, and a massive border wall.