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Worst of the Week

Family Guy on Fox

Christopher Gildemeister

Release Date: 10/23/2014

We are already five weeks into the 2014 fall broadcast television season and the ratings for the first four weeks are in. The most-watched broadcast television network has consistently been NBC, leaving CBS and ABC tied for 2nd place. Due to low ratings, the Fox network is currently in 4 th place, and the network is only holding on to that position because of their exclusive broadcasting of the Major League Baseball 2014 World Series. Even though the Fox network’s ratings have not kept up with the rest of the pack, several of their most popular shows have still garnered loyal viewers from the highly-coveted demographic of adults ages 18 to 34. Four of Fox’s shows have made it onto the list of the top 20 broadcast shows watched by adults, ages 18 to 49. Fox’s comic book-inspired series Gotham ranked at No. 11, leaving the animated shows Family Guy and The Simpsons tied for No. 12, and the cop-comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine ranked at No. 16. As for the top 20 broadcast shows watched by teenagers, four shows from the Fox network also made this list. Gotham’s rank remained the same, but this time the brand new series tied with the long running cartoon series, The Simpsons, for the No. 11 spot. Fox’s Family Guy was ranked at No. 13 and the new teen drama Red Band Society ranked at No. 15.

Is the Fox network losing touch with its audience? Maybe, but the real question is: why aren’t any of Fox’s shows reaching the same number of viewers as the other three major networks’? One possible reason why Fox continues to finish last is that the network continues to create television that appeals to the lowest common denominator, making outdated and derivative humor their main focus. Family Guy‘s creator, Seth MacFarlane, has made no effort to make the animated series more agreeable for families with young children. The latest episode of Fox’s Family Guy, entitled “Baking Bad,” was a prime example of how far the show has actually fallen. In the episode, Peter and Lois begin a cookie store business that Peter eventually converts into a strip club to drum up business. Meanwhile, Brian gives baby Stewie some cough syrup to calm him down before bedtime, but Stewie begins to act drunk and belligerent when he becomes addicted to the medicine. For perpetuating the objectification of women and for depicting alcohol abuse by an infant, Fox’s Family Guy is absolutely the Worst TV Show of the Week.

In the beginning of the show, Lois organizes a blood drive for the earthquake relief effort in Haiti. Lois notices that Peter is the only person who hasn’t donated blood. Peter then points at the mirror next to him and accuses his reflection of not donating either. His reflection steps out of the mirror and Peter trades places with him, Peter then laughs and calls his reflection a “Sucker!”

Peter’s reflection: “Son of a bitch!”

Later that evening, Stewie has a hard time falling asleep so Brian attempts to help him by giving him a small sip of cough syrup. Stewie immediately relaxes and relates the feeling to the time he wore European diapers. In a cut-away scene, Stewie is shown wearing a thong diaper with his butt exposed while grabbing a bottle of wine.

Meanwhile, Peter and Lois are sitting in bed together discussing the prospect of starting their own cookie store with Lois as the baker. The idea excites Lois and Peter makes a suggestion.

Peter: “Now let's turn up the TV real loud so the kids can't hear us having sex.”

In the next room, their son Chris lies in bed with his eyes open while he listens to the sounds of his parents having sex with television on.

Peter: “Aah! Aah! Sex! Sex!”

The next day at breakfast, Stewie continues to drink from the cough syrup bottle. He is obviously inebriated and Brian tells him there is alcohol in cough syrup and that is not for kids.

Later, Peter and Lois go to the bank in order to get a loan for their cookie store. Before their meeting Peter offers Lois a tip about how to deal with being nervous.

Peter: “And if you get nervous just do what I always do, picture your audience naked.”

An African-American man walks up to them and introduces himself.

Peter: “Aah! Get that enormous thing out of my face!”

Meanwhile at the Griffin family home, Stewie is drinking cough syrup while taking a bath. Once again he is clearly inebriated.

Stewie: “Brian, I need your help. I’ve made a series of small poops in my bath, and need you to scoop them out with this fishnet.”

Once Peter and Lois finish opening the cookie store they both find out that business is very slow. A customer walks in and tells Peter that she doesn’t intend to buy any cookies, but instead will just have one of the samples. Angered by her attitude, Peter takes a cookie tin and smacks the woman across the face, knocking her to the floor.

Later at the Drunken Clam, Peter’s favorite bar, Peter and his friends discuss the failing cookie store.

Peter: “The cookie shop is tanking. If it fails, we're screwed. My God, what does it take to get people to buy a damn cookie?”

Quagmire interjects and brings up how he once spent $600 on scented candles just because an attractive woman worked at the store. Peter doesn’t understand his point.

Quagmire: “I'm saying, sex sells. Trust me, you get a few hotties in that cookie shop of yours, I'd bet your sales would go up.”

The next day, Lois pulls up to the cookie shop and is shocked to see a huge line of male customers at the cookie store. When Lois walks in she discovers that Peter has hired several young women to wear bikinis and walk around the store selling cookies.

Lois: “What the hell? Peter, you turned our store into a strip club. And I don’t like what this place has become.”

Back at the Griffin family home, Stewie drunkenly staggers down the stairs and throws his Big Wheel tricycle to the bottom. At this point Stewie is very drunk. He gets on his Big Wheel and rides off even though Brian warns him of the danger Stewie is putting himself in. Another boy on a Big Wheel rides by and Stewie crashes into him knocking the boy to the ground leaving him cut up and bruised. Stewie asks the boy if he is all right and the boy suggests they exchange information.

Meanwhile at the cookie store, Peter changes the store’s sign to include a pair of breasts where two cookies once were. The cookie shop has completely converted into a strip club with a cookie store theme. The bikini-clad women are shown dancing and spinning around on poles as the male patrons watch. Lois attempts to sell cookies to the patrons but she is completely ignored by the men as they stare at the strippers.

Peter: “Yeah, nobody's listening to you. They're all watching Sugar write frosting swears on her jugs. She just wrote ‘vagina’ on her boobs. That doesn't even make any sense.”

Lois: “She's doing what? I told her ten minutes ago to put another batch of oatmeal in the oven.”

Peter: “Oh, that dough is gone Lois. I warmed it up and put it behind those waist-high holes in the wall.”

Mayor West is shown with his arm in one of the holes as he feels around.

Mayor West: “Is it spaghetti? A bowl of grapes? Ooh, this is the best Haunted House ever.”

Lois complains about all of the changes Peter has made and she tells him that she wants the store to still be about selling cookies. Peter responds by telling her that she'll never sell cookies looking the way she does. Reaching over to Lois, Peter rips open her blouse and exposes her bra and cleavage. Lois closes her blouse and begins screaming at Peter and tells him that she doesn’t even know what their business is anymore.

Peter: “It's a strip club that gives away free cookies.”

Sometime later, Stewie arrives home drunk and stumbling toward his bedroom door. When he enters the room he finds Brian sitting in a circle of with all of Stewie’s stuffed animals sitting with him. Brian has set up Stewie’s room and toys in order to give Stewie an intervention.

Stewie: “Oh, crap. I should’ve known something was up when I saw all those cars up front.”

Brian sits Stewie down in a chair and begins to read a letter he wrote.

Stewie: “Oh, please. What is this? What is this, the circle of perfect people? Who are you to judge me, Mister Giraffe, who lets little boys grind on his rump? Mr. Octopus, who let's little boys grind on his rump? Every one of you has your own problems.”

Brian: “Yeah, but you’re the only one who almost killed a kid yesterday.”

Stewie eventually breaks down and admits that he has a problem.

Brian: “Good. Admitting it is the first step. But don’t worry I’ll get you through it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go to Chris' room. We're doing a masturbation intervention. I got a bunch of his friends sitting in a circle in there . . . Oh, dear God!”

Brian quickly runs out of the bedroom.

Eventually, Peter arrives home and tells Lois that he has something important to say.

Peter: “After you left, I ate cookie dough off the stomach of a 20-year-old, and then I vomited and the girls laughed at me, and then it came out that they all think I’m fat and old. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I was wrong to choose sexiness over my wife.”

Peter reaches down and adjusts his belt as he wiggles his hips.

Lois: “Peter, what are you doing? What was that?”

Peter: “Oh, back at the store, I, uh, tucked my boner into the waistband of my pants and now it's sitting weird.”

Lois: “That's your apology?”

Peter: “Well, that and this.”

Peter lifts up a large heart-shaped cookie with “P + L” written on it in frosting. Lois soon forgives him and she asks Peter if he wants to split the cookie with her.

Peter: “Uh, I wouldn't. Butter helped me with it, and she has chlamydia fingers.”

In the final scene, the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street is shown at the cookie store, sitting in a chair while several bikini-clad strippers dance around him. One of the women straddles his leg and he sticks his face in between her breasts while making “Nom, nom, nom . . .” noises.

There is rhyme to Seth MacFarlane’s reason, however crude his creations may be. In the end of almost every episode of Family Guy there is a moral, no matter how convoluted it gets amongst the chaos of the rest of the show’s content. Despite their best efforts to tell a story of substance abuse and addiction, the mere fact that the character Stewie is an infant takes the audience away from the moral message and just leaves them wondering why they are watching a baby getting drunk. Also, Peter’s exploitation of young women for the purpose of making money is especially offensive and it sends the wrong message to young girls and boys. This episode of Family Guy was rated TV-14 for suggestive dialogue, offensive language, sexual situations and gratuitous violence. By depicting a young child becoming addicted to alcohol and promoting an unhealthy view of women, Fox’s Family Guy has earned the title of the Worst TV Show of the Week.


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