2022 has seen the release of many major series over the years. While some of them have reached great heights of success, others have not done so well. Although trends can give the creators a somewhat accurate projection of how a production might fare in the market, they are not always conclusive. Many other factors weigh in to make a show a hit or a miss.
2022 has been a whirlwind of a year, be it in world politics, the landscape of social media, or even the reception of various television shows. The rise of "cancel culture" has also become prevalent over the last few years. In such situations, controversies have also become quite frequent, revolving around production houses, their productions, or even their cast and crew.
In this article, we list out some of the major television shows that have sparked their own controversies in 2022.
Dahmer, Wednesday, and more—4 TV shows that got marred by controversies in 2022
1) Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is a 2022 true-crime series from Netflix that chronicled the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, one of America’s most heinous serial killers to date. Created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, the show starred Evan Peters as the titular character of Dahmer alongside prominent actors like Richard Jenkins, Molly Ringwald, Niecy Nash, and Michael Learned in supporting roles.
The show was a success with audiences all over the world, debuting at the top of the Nielsen chart in its first week. It also went on to take its place among the most-viewed series in their first 28 days, with 865 million hours of watchtime. However, the show also received a lot of backlash from the public, for quite a variety of reasons.
The series first received backlash from the families of the victims of Dahmer's heinous crimes. They said that the series was making them relive the horrific past and the trauma they had to go through. They also stated that Netflix never reached out to them to see if they were okay with the project happening. However, creator Ryan Murphy denied such claims, stating that he had tried to contact over 20 victim families, none of whom replied.
Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story also came under fire because of its tags. Since Dahmer was a homosexual man, the show was tagged with an LGBTQ tag, which instead angered many netizens. They demanded that the tag be removed, saying that this was not the kind of representation the LGBTQ community was looking for.
Wednesday is a coming-of-age comedy horror series that was released on Netflix on November 23, 2022. Created by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the series stars Jenna Ortega in the titular role alongside prominent actors like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Luis Guzmán, Gwendoline Christie, Fred Armisen, Riki Lindhome, and Christina Ricci.
The series has garnered praise and popularity within a brief period of time and has already become the most-viewed series in its first week of release with 341.2 million hours, passing Stranger Things, which held the record with 335 million hours. However, the series has also received some backlash due to some of its content. With Tim Burton as its executive producer and director of four of the show's eight episodes, it seems his reputation has passed over to that of the series.
Netizens have pointed out that all the black characters on Wednesday have been made villains and bullies, which is seemingly uncharacteristic. They also pointed out that Pilgrim World is owned by a black mayor, which did not make sense, since the museum celebrated pilgrims and colonizers. Many took to social media to call out Tim Burton for his racist outlook.
However, the scandal is soon to die down, as the mean and villainous characters have a change of heart by the end of the season. This literally devalues all the outrage regarding Wednesday having a racist undertone.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was an extremely popular television sitcom on NBC in the 1990s, which catapulted Will Smith's career into television and film. The popular 90s sitcom got a reimagined version this year, titled Bel-Air. Peacock released the first season on February 13, 2022, to positive feedback from both critics and audiences.
The synopsis reads:
"Set in modern-day America, Peacock’s new one-hour drama series Bel-Air imagines the beloved sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air through a new, dramatic take on Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. As these two worlds collide, Will reckons with the power of second chances while navigating the conflicts, emotions, and biases of a world far different from the only one he’s ever known."
The 2022 series has a different take compared to the lighthearted approach that the original had. Bel-Air has a more realistic take on racial tension and culture shock. It was a very outspoken and realistic series that talked about the circumstances and situations people of color have to go through.
Initial reviews pointed this out and talked about how it no longer contained the soul of the original show. However, the series broke through and became a series of its own, beyond the shadow of its predecessor. It even became the most-streamed original series on Peacock.
4) Bob's Burgers
Bob's Burgers is arguably one of the best American animated sitcoms on air right now. Created by Loren Bouchard, the series premiered on Fox in January 2011, and has since completed 12 seasons, with its 13th currently airing. The series received a lot of positive reviews from critics and audiences, who praised its well-done comedy. The show even went on to receive multiple awards.
The impressive success that Bob's Burgers attained warranted a full-length animated feature film, The Bob's Burgers Movie, set for a 2022 release. However, the title became involved in a sort of controversy even before its theatrical release on May 27, 2022.
One of the actors who voiced a recurring character on the series apparently participated in the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021. Jay Johnson, who was the voice of Jimmy Pesto, Bob Belcher's arch-nemesis, was canned from the show and the film following the incident. Although we can see Jimmy Pesto in the background of the 2022 movie, he does not have any lines or much of a screen presence.