PASADENA, Calif. — A WB sitcom, long before it even makes it on the air, has already undergone a big change — formerly titled "Maybe I'm Adopted," it has been rechristened "Maybe It's Me."
Which, in this case at least, proves the network listens to its viewers. A groundswell against the title surged up, much to the surprise of the show's creator/executive producer, Suzanne Martin, who based the show's offbeat family on her own family when she was growing up.
And she couldn't have been more surprised that the show's original title was interpreted as some sort of slam against adoption.
"It's actually sort of an odd story," Martin said. "I had called it 'Maybe I'm Adopted' because it was a fantasy of mine as a child, that at some point my real parents would show up and take me back to the castle that I thought I belonged in and tell me all about my royal heritage. I just didn't want to share genes with the rest of my family. And that was all it meant to me. It was more a hopeful thought that — maybe I'm adopted. It wasn't anything against adoption at all.
"And I was completely surprised when the controversy came out."
The first clue she had that anyone would be offended by it was when executives at the WB told her about the postings on their Web site. "There were dozens, if not hundreds, of letters talking about this whole subject matter, and I read a lot of them," Martin said. (Actually, according to the WB, there were more than 8,000 messages complaining about the title posted on the network's Web site within a couple of days of their fall schedule announcement in May — as compared to less than a dozen complaining about another forthcoming sitcom titled "Men, Women & Dogs.")
"I read the letters on the Internet, and people seemed genuinely hurt by it. And I didn't want to hurt anybody," Martin said. "So I was more than happy to change the title, and we got to keep the 'Maybe.' I had no problem with changing it, and we'll get used to it."
Frankly, the protests against the title seem misplaced. The insinuation in "Maybe I'm Adopted" was that adoption would have been a preferable alternative to being the biological daughter in this decidedly weird family — a family that continually embarrasses the teenage daughter. And not only does it raise the issue of whether political correctness continues to run amok, but it's always troubling when people protest against something they haven't even seen and don't really know much about. (And, having seen the pilot, there's absolutely nothing in it that in any way reflects badly on adoption.)
But you've got to give Martin and the WB credit for being willing to change the title — "Maybe It's Me" is probably just as good as "Maybe I'm Adopted," and why offend anyone unnecessarily?
"It's funny. It's just an emotional issue with people that are either adopted or have adopted children," Martin said. "And even if emotions seem irrational, I respect them as real. I mean, people were feeling something that I don't feel and I can't really understand. But they definitely felt it."