Cultural Appropriation an Intergalactic Issue on 'The Orville'

October 26th, 2017 11:26 PM

Cultural appropriation hysteria is an interplanetary phenomenon, in Fox’s The Orville.

On Thursday’s episode, “Majority Rule,” Alara, an alien crewmember of the Orville, attempts to blend in on a new planet by covering her alien head markings with a random hat she finds. Unfortunately for her, the hat she puts on belongs to the (fabricated) Kelvic culture. A Kelvic man demands she remove the hat, claiming “You’re literally pissing on my heritage by wearing that.”

Sargas Four, a planet with parallel species development to Earth, is found to bear “remarkable similarities to 21st century Earth.” The resemblances include clothing, monetary system, technological development, and apparently abhorrence to cultural appropriation.

Man: Why are you wearing that?

Alara: Me?

Man: Yeah, you. Take that neffolo off.

Alara: I'm sorry, the what?

Man: You're not Kelvic. That's traditional Kelvic headwear. It's not a hat.

Claire: Oh, no.
Alara: Uh, I... -I can't.

Man: What?

Alara: I have the deepest respect for your place of origin, but I can't take this off.

Man: You're literally pissing on my heritage by wearing that.

Alara: I have a really bad rash under here. It's disgusting. You'd throw up, so...

Man: I think you're lying. Prove it or they're all gonna upload.

Claire: Uh, you know what? You are absolutely right. We're gonna go and take it off right now. Come on, Alara. We're very sorry.

Whether The Orville creator Seth MacFarlane intended to mock the cultural appropriation frenzy is hard to say—especially given his liberal leanings. Regardless, this scene of a man shouting at a woman he has never met before because of the clothes she is wearing ought to prompt questions of whether or not we want to live in a world where clothing choices are restricted by ethnicity and the opinions of strangers.

But how comforting that even in the 25th century, on a planet galaxies away from Earth, there could still be outrage over so-called cultural appropriation.