Everything has changed because the weather is still good in Philadelphia, but the gang remains the same
Speaking of disconnecting… the second episode of season 15 is “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 7,” a callback to their previous episodes in which the gang made two unofficial sequels to the 1980s action franchise. These episodes were taken from streaming (along with “Dee Day”) due to the characters wearing offensive blackface makeup. In a meta-commentary on the removed episodes, the gang finds out that their “Lethal Weapon” sequels have been pulled from the shelves at the local library citing cultural insensitivity. Mac, played by showrunner McElhenney, had worn blackface to try and look like Danny Glover’s character Roger Murtaugh. He comments that his “heart was in the right place”, but that doesn’t matter because the intention isn’t the important part. McElhenney has been very open about his regrets for some of the missteps of the early seasons, like the blackface, the callous treatment of a transgender character, and the use of slurs. While the series has around five ignorant Whites, the behind-the-scenes team has expanded to include a much more diverse team, to the great benefit of the series. McElhenney explained why diversification was necessary in a recent interview with The New York Times:
“At its inception, it’s a show about five ignorant white people, isn’t it? So at first we were like, well, how does it make sense to have different points? Then we were like, Oh my gosh, sure. Who could better understand what it feels like to be in the wake of ignorant whites than people who aren’t ignorant whites? ignorant, in particular. “
The characters wonder how to create a progressive version of their “Lethal Weapon” sequels, trying to ensure that no one is ever offended. Even Dee’s portrayal of the ultimate “Karen” doesn’t work, and the gang find it boring to play it safe. When other gang members want to go back to their old ways, Dennis explains that they either have to change or they will be stuck in “having sex with old people” because young people today are politically engaged. He then takes three different women on dates only to find that neither of them wants a debate or discussion, only to have their ideas sent back to them. The gang have no idea how they could make everyone happy, so they make it someone else’s problem and try to pass it off as benevolence.
They end up ceding full control to one of their cast, a local black actor they’ve worked with several times before, played by Geoffrey Owens. He turns “Lethal Weapon 7” into a documentary about the gang’s failures to understand privilege, calling it “White Saviors”. It’s a big punishment for the gang, and watching them squirm in a movie theater because they’re misunderstood is great. They complain about not being represented, not realizing that they are now feeling the exact pain they have inflicted on others for decades.