Every year, producers and companies responsible for TV programs run ads in the Hollywood trade press, urging members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to give their programs an Emmy award. But one producer’s desperate ads have celebrated not only his shows, but bad taste: Seth MacFarlane.
In his depraved Sunday-night cartoons Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show (not to mention last year’s big-screen movie Ted), Seth MacFarlane has built a career on “entertainment” that wallows in misogyny and anti-Semitism; jokes about violence against women, rape, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality; and even ridicules children with disabilities.
That MacFarlane thinks such content is appropriate for a prime-time TV audience filled with children is disgusting enough. But MacFarlane actually thinks his depraved content and hateful attitudes are positive selling points for his series.
One early ad urging the Academy to consider Family Guy for an Emmy featured the show’s character Baby Stewie proclaiming, “I’m smelling a major award. No, wait. That’s my diaper!” In 2009, MacFarlane’s Emmy ad showed Stewie yelling, “Indians and Hispanics don’t live in Scranton!” MacFarlane defended his race-baiting by claiming the ad was poking fun at the NBC series The Office; but he resumed the practice the following year. The 2010 ad featured Family’s Guy’s Peter Griffin character dressed as Gabourey Sidibe, the young, female, African-American star of the acclaimed movie Precious – accompanied by the slogan, “Vote For Us Or You’re Racist!”
In recent years, anti-Semitism has been MacFarlane’s preferred form of bigotry. His 2011 Emmy ad sneered, “You have to vote for us. We did a Holocaust episode!” The inside cover of the ad mailer read, “Celebrating diversity – written by 8 WASPs, 6 Jews, 2 Asians and 1 Gay.” And last year, MacFarlane’s ad blatantly insulted the same group, with the Peter character proclaiming, “Come on, you bloated, overprivileged Brentwood Jews. Let us into your little club.” So offensive was this ad that various entertainment industry newspapers – including Variety and The Hollywood Reporter – refused to run it.
This year, MacFarlane decided to eschew racism in favor of crude sexual content. Making reference to an event that occurred during an episode of the HBO series Girls (in which a man ejaculated on his girlfriend), this year’s Family Guy ad depicts various male characters from the cartoon dressed as women, with the caption, “Here’s a load of comedy to shoot on your chest.”
While Family Guy has won several Emmys in its history, they have typically been in categories like Animation or Sound Mixing. (MacFarlane himself did win one Emmy for his voice-over talents…way back in the year 2000.) Since 2009, the show has not even been NOMINATED for an “Outstanding Comedy Series” award – yet MacFarlane so desperately craves recognition for his filth that he continues to submit the show, even though by now it must be obvious to even to him that it will never win.
Clearly, MacFarlane still believes his mélange of sex, scatology, foul language, and ultra-graphic violence deserves an Emmy. Though the PTC is far from being a fan, we hereby offer Seth a bit of advice: if you want to be considered an artiste, maybe bigotry and toilet humor aren’t the way to go.