DETROIT — A local TV comedy show that was supposed to be a humorous look at Detroit neighborhoods has offended Polish-Americans who thought they were the butt of all the jokes.
"It was not only an amateurish production, but an offensive representation of our community," said Jean Szulec, national chairwoman of the anti-defamation arm of the Polish-American Congress.
Part of the problem was that the show, produced by and broadcast on WDIV-TV, was titled "Hamtramck," the name of Detroit's Polish-American enclave.
"It was not supposed to be a typical Hamtramck family; it was not supposed to be a Polish family," said station spokeswoman Eileen Wunderlich. "It was intended to be a humorous look at the diversity of Detroit neighborhoods.
"We apologized for offending people, and we are sorry if we did," she said.
The program was about the daughter of an East Side family who marries a young man from Detroit's western suburbs. In the opening scene, a priest describes the family's unending mix of ethnic origins, none of them Polish.
But the locale, the dialogue and the use of "Stan the Man and his Polka Rascals" in a wedding scene reinforced viewers' perception that Poles were the butt of the jokes.
In the scene, elderly women wore nylon stockings rolled below their knees and stole floral centerpieces and family members in garish clothes danced the hokey-pokey to an accordion rendition of "Proud Mary."