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Worst of the Week

Family Guy on Fox

by Christopher Gildemeister

Release Date: 3/14/2013

During his hosting of this year’s Oscar awards ceremony, Hollywood pronounced itself shocked that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane indulged in horrendous levels of sexism and anti-Semitic bigotry. But as the most recent episode of MacFarlane’s signature sleazy cartoon revealed, such disgusting content is merely business as usual for MacFarlane…which is why the Sunday, March 10th episode of Fox’s Family Guy (9:00 p.m. ET) deserves recognition for being the Worst TV Show of the Week.

Infamously, MacFarlane opened the Oscars show with a song titled, “We Saw Your Boobs,” calling out specific actresses and then naming the movies in which they went topless. MacFarlane’s breast fetish was equally visible this past Sunday night:

Peter: ”I'll be on the look-out for great tits.”

Lois: ”Peter!”

Brian: ”Well, actually, Lois, that's a species of bird that's known to frequent domestic birdhouses.”

Peter: ”It's why I've always wanted a birdhouse. Hey, Lois, let's go outside and see if we can find some great tits. 'Cause there certainly ain't any in here.”

Chris: ”Remember those two we saw last night? One was bigger than the other.”

Peter: ”Yeah, and the bigger one had a hair sticking out of that pointy thing. What do you call that pointy thing again?”

During the Oscars, MacFarlane also went on to call actress Jennifer Aniston “a former exotic dancer," and further sexualized women (and mocked eating disorders in the bargain) by making fat jokes about singer Adele and actress Melissa McCarthy, and remarking, "For all those women who gave yourselves ‘the flu’ two weeks ago to 'get there'? It paid off. Lookin' good." Overall, there was a tone of exploiting and degrading women.

But again, if MacFarlane’s Oscar performance was reprehensible, what of his depiction of housewife and mom Lois as a phone-sex worker? Among other calls, Lois takes one from a man who “wants to double-team you with my son,” and is being degraded beyond belief by caller Quagmire. Imagine young girls encountering this dialogue:

Quagmire: ”All right, let's get this going, sweet cheeks. You got a handkerchief?...Good, ball that up and stick it in your mouth...Now, what else you got there? You got a stapler?...Why don't you go ahead and stick that in your mouth, too...How 'bout a mouse pad?...Go ahead and roll that up and stuff it in there.”

Lois stuffs all these objects into her mouth.

Quagmire: “All right. Now, let's start filling up some other places!”

Anti-Semitic bigotry is also nothing new with MacFarlane. In 2009, Family Guy aired an episode titled “Family Goy,” in which the character Lois learns that she is Jewish and that her mother is a Holocaust survivor (whose last name was “Hebrewmoneygrabber”). In addition to employing bigoted stereotypes about Jews and money, the episode mocked a scene from Schindler’s List by having lead character Peter casually shoot at his Jewish neighbor. The same year, Family Guy aired the episode “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein,” the centerpiece of which was a song titled “I Need a Jew,” in which lead character Peter laments that he cannot manage his family’s finances and needs to hire a Jewish person to take care of his money for him. MacFarlane finished 2009 by sending DVD copies of his show to Jewish Emmy voters, enclosing a note saying, “You have to vote for us – we did a Holocaust episode.” In 2012, MacFarlane circulated an Emmy-themed ad on Twitter, reading “Come on, you bloated, overprivileged Brentwood Jews. Let us into your little club.” And during this year’s Oscar telecast, MacFarlane complained that Jews control Hollywood, voicing his puppet bear character Ted saying, “"I was born Theodore Shapiro and I would like to donate to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever." Indeed, prejudice against Jews seems to be a favorite theme of the demented cartoonist – as was shown again on Sunday night:

After Peter steals a motorcycle, a lawyer appears at his door, stating, “I represent the man whose sidecar motorcycle you stole yesterday. Unfortunately for you, that man is very, very Jewish, and he’s suing you for everything you’ve got.” And during her work as a phone-sex operator, Lois takes a call from a stereotyped Jewish man (with a picture of a menorah on the wall behind him, yet). As his “fantasy,” he tells Lois, “I want you to take your money out and count it really slowly,” and has a orgasm when she reaches “10.”

Laughing at child molestation is another favorite theme of MacFarlane’s. At the Oscars, MacFarlane remarked of nine-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis: "To give you an idea of how young she is, it'll be 16 years until she's too old for Clooney." Unsurprisingly, Family Guy also casts children in sexual roles. In addition to the ongoing “humor” of neighborhood child molester Quagmire, MacFarlane also gives us the following dialogue:

Lois and Peter are making out on the couch in between Meg and Chris.

Lois: ”Oh, Peter. I want you to do me so hard that we have to change churches.”

Chris: ”Gross!”

Chris runs out of the room.

Peter: ”I want to wreck you so bad, you'll look like an exploded Hot Pocket.”

Meg: ”Oh, my God!”

Meg runs out of the room. Stewie enters and speaks to his parents.

Stewie: “Can I interest you guys in a two-and-a-quarter way?”

Note that Stewie is a toddler. Because there’s nothing funnier than a toddler talking about three-way sex, is there?

Unless it’s exposing children to the sex doll Peter keeps on the bed and uses in place of his wife. Or Peter jamming his daughter’s head into his rear and farting directly in her face.

Or other unbelievably sleazy sexual content like:

Peter's falcon attacks Quagmire's rear end after Peter informs him that the falcon eats rodents.

Peter: ”What do you got going on down there, Quagmire? You got a rodent situation?...Admit you got a rodent in there. Admit it.”

A mouse crawls out of Quagmire's mouth.

Quagmire: ”Aw, you scared him out the front!”

That’s right: a gag about a man shoving a rodent up his anus…in a cartoon that airs at 8:00 p.m. Central on Sunday nights, and is watched by millions of children.

And this is far from the worst content Family Guy has shown; in the past, the program has exposed children to other scenes sexualizing women and implying pedophilia, a man masturbating a horse, a baby eating horse sperm, or a character eating vomit and excrement out of a baby’s diaper – all on in prime time, on the airwaves the American people own.

MacFarlane’s misogyny at the Oscars earned him rebukes from everyone from The New Yorker magazine, to the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, to actresses Jane Fonda, Geena Davis, and Jamie Lee Curtis, while his anti-Semitic remarks about Jews “controlling Hollywood” resulted in condemnations from both the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. But the loudest protest against MacFarlane’s identical behavior on Family Guy has been the sound of crickets chirping.

Certainly, MacFarlane’s behavior at the Oscars merited condemnation. But what a pity that, when accomplished actresses who are well able to speak in their own defense are slandered, America’s media machine launches into full outrage mode; but when vulnerable children are exposed to even worse content every Sunday night for over a decade, no one but the PTC protests. While Seth MacFarlane is solely responsible for the content on Family Guy, we have to ask: where is the rest of the Hollywood crowd’s outrage now?

For exposing children (and everyone else) to graphic and degrading sexual content, Fox’s Family Guy is the Worst TV Show of the Week.

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