Fox's new drama Almost Family has a rather wild premise revolving around a group of people sharing a father due to a sperm donor scandal, but what's even more wild is that there are quite a few individuals living in America that are real-life products of such scandals. Victims and children of fertility fraud are now speaking out about the way the show is handling the sensitive topic, and they're not happy.
A group of adults who were products of fertility fraud committed by Dr. Donald Cline and Dr. Kim McMorries have shared their thoughts on Almost Family, and the general consensus is they view the Fox series as "horrifying." Many are upset with the way the show positions the fertility fraud of a doctor as some form of unifying and uplifting event.
Eve Wiley spoke specifically of one point in Almost Family's premiere, in which Emily Osment's character Roxie is thrilled she suddenly has a new family she didn't know about. Roxie later goes on to bond with the doctor who committed fraud and even hugs him and refers to him as "dad." Wiley told Daily Beast she had a far different reaction after learning her sperm donor was not the man her family had been told (whom she connected and bonded with) but their family doctor.
This is the best thing? No, this is the worst thing that’s ever happened. She wants to give him a hug? I wanted to punch him in the face.
Many of the fertility fraud victims are aware Almost Family was based on the Australian series Sisters, but have noted the Fox series takes a far more light-hearted approach to the concept thus far. Of course, it's still early on in the series, so it's possible Almost Family could have a tonal shift as Season 1 goes on. For now, many of these victims are offended, and worried the show's premise could undermine how the public views their cause.
That cause being a push for harsher penalties for doctors who engage or have engaged in fertility fraud by using their own sperm in lieu of others. Julie Manes thought the premise of Almost Family was disgusting, and feels the show tries to present a controversial and criminal act in a flattering light.
I think they minimized fertility fraud. It is medical rape and sexual assault. They made a comedy out of it. It was awful.
Fertility fraud victims aren't the only ones down on Almost Family. Season 1 currently has a 27% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audience reception is notably higher, with around 26 reviews giving it an 88% approval rating. Ratings-wise, the show is struggling in its time slot, even with The Masked Singer as its lead in. There's still a lot of the first season left, though the controversy and disappointing viewership could cause Fox to pull the plug as opposed to renewing for Season 2.
Almost Family airs on Fox Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET. Stick with CinemaBlend for all that latest happening in the world of television and movies.