For unbelievably graphic sexual language and gory violence, Fox’s Family Guy is the Worst TV Show of the Week.
Last fall was the final broadcast of the Fox network’s “Animation Domination” Sunday night programming. The premise of this primetime block of animated shows was to give audiences a variety of adult-themed cartoons in a single night of television. This programming format was successful for Fox for a number of years because it highlighted the network’s longest running series, The Simpsons, and it also featured Seth MacFarlane’s most successful cartoon, Family Guy. The other Seth MacFarlane cartoons featured on Fox’s Sunday night line-up weren’t nearly as successful as their predecessors and eventually viewership decreased enough that the network decided to completely change their format. Now during Sunday’s primetime broadcast, Fox continues to air new episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy with the addition of the cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the new stand-up sitcom Mulaney, both of which are live-action series. But even after retooling the line-up, Family Guy continues to lose viewership slowly but surely.
This year, ABC has solidified its position on Sundays and has become the most watched (non-football) network during Sunday primetime. With popular TV-PG rated programming like Once Upon A Time and Resurrection to compete with, Fox has become “old hat” and the gimmicks the network once used to establish their brand have become tired and predictable. Family Guy is rated TV-14 DLSV and it is the highest rating a television show can get other than TV-MA, which means it is intended for mature adults only. The way things are going it seems like the Fox network will have to do a lot more than add a few non-animated shows to their line-up if they ever hope to compete with ABC. For featuring offensive dialogue, sexual situations and extreme violence instead of following audience trends, Fox’s Family Guy is without a doubt the Worst TV Show of the Week.
In the opening scene, Peter and Brian are watching television in the living room. The announcer on the TV interrupts the broadcast and states that the movie Glory will not be seen.
Peter: “What? Aw, I love that movie. Aw, man, that’s gonna leave a big hole in their lineup. What’s gonna fill the ‘Glory’ hole?”
TV Announcer: “In place of Glory, we will be showing Shaft, starring Richard Roundtree.”
Peter: “What? You can’t just shove ‘Shaft’ in the ‘Glory’ hole.”
Brian: “Yeah, I know. It’d be better to put in that movie about the two girls who meet Nixon. What’s that movie called? Dick? ‘Dick’ would slide right into that ‘Glory’ hole.”
Peter: “No, no. Dick’s too short for that ‘Glory’ hole. But if you also put Edward Furlong’s movie, Pecker, you got ‘Pecker’ and ‘Dick’ in the ‘Glory’ hole, and you got a tight squeeze, but it ought to fit.”
Peter moves back and forth uncomfortably on the couch.
Peter: “The hell am I sitting on?”
Peter reaches under his rear and pulls out their dog Brian’s rope chew-toy. Peter throws it on the floor in disgust but as soon as Brian begins chewing on it and enjoying himself Peter becomes jealous and attempts to steal the rope chew-toy from Brian.
In his final attempt to steal the rope from Brian, Peter ties a smaller rope to the end of Brian’s chew-toy and he ties the other end to the back of his car. Peter starts the car and begins driving slowly down the street hoping Brian will tire and eventually let go. Brian is forced to run just to keep up with Peter as drives faster. While looking back at Brian, Peter runs over a small child on a bicycle and continues to drive. Peter accelerates so fast that eventually Brian is no longer running but he is still holding on to the rope with his teeth. Peter begins to swerve and Brian is thrown into a fire hydrant face first, causing all of his teeth to shatter amidst a copious amount of blood on both him and the hydrant.
Brian: “Damn it, Peter. What were you thinking?”
Later that night, the Griffin family sit down for dinner. Brian’s face is still horribly disfigured and the rest of the family seems unsympathetic to his plight. Lois tells him that because he is a dog they won’t be spending money for Brian to receive cosmetic surgery. Peter throws the rope chew-toy at Brian and tells him that it’s boring and that he doesn’t want it anymore.
Brian: “Go to hell, Peter.”
Brian leaves the house and goes to the local bar, The Drunken Clam. He is shown sitting with Glenn Quagmire. Brian thanks Quagmire for not making fun of his face.
Quagmire: “I don’t care enough about you to lay into you. But now that you mention it, your face looks like a used condom.”
Brian begins to cry. Feeling sorry, Quagmire recommends that Brian visit his dentist and that he would pay for the surgery. Brian asks Quagmire why he has a dentist that would do this for him.
Quagmire: “He sells me nitrous at wholesale, and I bang his wife.”
Brian: “Those both sound like things for you.”
Quagmire: “And don’t tell anybody about this. Now get the hell out of the bar, you pathetic son of a bitch.”
The next day, Brian arrives home after visiting the dentist and his smile is larger and more pronounced than ever before. The family compliments him on his new teeth.
Stewie: “Yeah, Brian, you are going to get so much sweet tail! Oo-cha, oo-cha, oo-cha, oo-cha!”
Peter: “Brian, you have found your look. That is the best cosmetic surgery in this family since Lois got her boob job.”
The scene cuts away to show Lois with enormous breasts that barely fit in her blouse. She is standing in the living room telling her children that the doctor made her breasts larger than she had intended.
Lois: “I don’t know what happened. I told the doctor C-cups.”
Peter pokes his head out of her cleavage.
Peter: “I told him something else.”
A beaver also pokes his head out from Lois’ cleavage.
Beaver: “I think he did a dam good job.”
Feeling like a new dog, Brian wakes up the next day and goes for a walk. Along the way, he waves at Joe, the neighbor, while he trims his hedges with an electric trimmer. Joe is so distracted that he sets the electric trimmer on his lap and accidentally severs both of his legs without noticing.
Along his walk, Brian runs into a couple who mistakes him for a real estate agent. They begin asking him questions about the neighborhood and he proceeds to tell them about the fire hydrants in the neighborhood.
Brian: “Uh, six fire hydrants, but they are unavailable. They are previously claimed. They belong to some badass.”
The actual real estate agent arrives and he convinces Brian to work for him as a real estate agent. Eventually, Brian becomes the most successful agent in the company. He begins bragging to his fellow coworkers.
Brian: “Yeah. And last night, I closed another big deal. Kim in marketing. She’s a two breast, one ass fixer-upper. The entire property was covered in a thick brush.”
Brian’s boss walks over and begins to congratulate him for his property sales, but he challenges him to sell a condo that hasn’t been sold in two years. Brian is confident in his ability to close so he begins bragging again.
Brian: “Hey, did I tell you about Kim in marketing?”
Brian’s Boss: “You mean my wife Kim?”
Brian quickly leaves. He decides to try and sell the condo to Glenn Quagmire because he is wealthy and easy to manipulate. Brian finds Quagmire at the gym. Quagmire stands in front of a weight bench with his back turned. Both of Quagmire’s hands are above his waist while stares down at his crotch below the screen. He then begins to give his crotch a pep-talk and the weight bar moves up and down for two reps, implying that he’s lifting the weight with his penis.
Quagmire: “Nice job. Let’s get you a rub down.”
Brian convinces him to purchase the condo by lying about the details. He also makes Quagmire jealous by telling him that his rival is also interested in purchasing the condo.
Quagmire: “That son-of-a-bitch!”
In a cut-away scene, Peter is shown sitting in a board room meeting and he is so bored during the meeting that he shoves a pair of scissors up his nostrils causing him to bleed profusely. He uses his bloody nose to excuse himself from the meeting.
When Quagmire and his friends arrive they discover that Brian lied about the condo.
Quagmire: “What the hell! This is a dump. Damn it. Brian screwed me.”
Quagmire and Peter drive to the real estate agency to find Brian but they don’t find him because he is hiding in the air ducts. Brian drives to a motel to hide from Quagmire, but Quagmire is sitting inside waiting for him.
Quagmire: “You are such a scumbag. You know, when you were poor, you were always a douche. But at least you came by it honestly. But now screwing over the people that helped you, I don’t know how you sleep at night.”
Brian begins a long-winded apology to Quagmire, but then his watch timer begins to beep.
Brian: “Enjoy your crap hole, dumbass.”
Quagmire: “You son-of-a-bitch!”
Quagmire reaches behind him and picks up a lamp. He swings the base of a lamp at Brian and knocks him to the floor, causing all of his new teeth to break and scatter across the floor amidst his blood soaked face.
In the final scene, Peter is so bored listening to his daughter Meg prattle on about her day that he shoves a pair of scissors up his nostrils, causing him to bleed profusely.
It’s no surprise that the major broadcast networks have been pushing the limits of broadcast television ratings in recent years, especially when they are now competing with cable networks, premium cable networks, and internet streaming services. The nature of television is changing right before our eyes. But instead of struggling to keep up with the media which have little to no restrictions, like cable TV, the broadcast networks should be building their brand as an alternative to the rest. In fact, it has been proven time and again that broadcast television series that focus on sex and violence just can’t compete with the number of viewers their cable network counterparts earn. It’s about time Fox has realized that the old adage “you can catch a lot more flies with honey” holds true even in today’s tumultuous television environment and that is why, Fox’s Family Guy is the Worst TV Show of the Week.
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