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‘The Orville’ controversy: Seth MacFarlane’s new show tackles gender inequality

This week’s episode of The Orville, titled “About a Girl”, kicked off with Bortus and his partner, Klyden, requesting a gender reassignment surgery for their newborn daughter. Since the Moclans are a single-gender species of men, in their culture, being born a female is considered a birth defect. However, when Bortus approached Captain Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) about the procedure, Mercer refused to permit it, which then shifted the episode into a heavy discussion of gender inequality and cultural norms.

While the members aboard the Orville suddenly found themselves debating the topic amongst each other, a couple of Borus’s crew members visited his quarters to throw back some beers and watch an “Earth flick”, 1964’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The movie’s ending became a monumental epiphany for the Moclan father as he realized that what was believed to be a deformity became a supreme advantage.

Bortus rushed back to Klyden to tell him that they needed to reconsider the surgery. “Klyden, you must hear the tale of Rudolph. You will rethink your conviction, I promise you.” However, in a major plot twist, Klyden revealed that his conviction will never change because he was born a female.

After a lot of disagreement by everyone involved, the decision went to a formal trial on the Moclus planet to determine the fate of the child and, surprisingly, it didn’t turn out how we thought it would. The episode ended with the arbitration council stating that they did not find sufficient cause to prevent the procedure and, in the end, the baby girl was turned into a baby boy.

Although viewed by some as controversial, the latest episode of MacFarlane’s new show proves that the series has the balls to tackle subjects that are culturally relevant while daring to be unconventional by breaking the mold that is a predictable happy ending.