• Worst TV Show of the Week: Family Guy on Fox

    by  • February 9, 2015 • Sex, Sexualization, Worst of the Week • 12 Comments

    Are child molestation and statutory rape funny?

    Fox thinks so.

    That is the inescapable conclusion given the Sunday, February 8th episode of Fox’s Family Guy (9:00 p.m. ET) — the Worst TV Show of the Week.

    Rape is one of the most sickening and depraved acts possible, and inflicts emotional wounds which may never heal. When it is perpetrated on a child, it alters their entire emotional development, and can warp their entire future life.

    But to Family Guy’s creator Seth MacFarlane, it’s all one big joke.

    For the entire twelve years of its existence, making light of child molestation and rape have been staples of Family Guy‘s so-called “humor.”  So funny does MacFarlane find the emotional devastation caused by sex with children that, some years ago, he boasted that he wanted to devote an entire spin-off series to Family Guy’s child molester character Glen Quagmire. In the event, saner network heads prevailed, and the spin-off series became The Cleveland Show instead – forcing poor Seth to settle for a show centering on racist jokes about the title African-American character, rather than an entire series glorifying a child rapist.

    But this just means that MacFarlane has to push all his rape jokes into the series Family Guy. The show was up to its old tricks during this past Sunday’s episode, which once again made statutory rape the theme of an entire episode’s “humor”:

    Quagmire wakes up in this living room with a girl lying on top of him.

    Quagmire: “Kira, that was an amazing night. Sorry I can’t drive you to work. I gotta go sit in my den until you leave.”

    Kira: “Oh, that’s okay. I’ll just take the school bus.”

    Quagmire: “Wait, what? You drive the school bus?”

    Kira: “No, silly. I take the bus. I’m in high school.”

    Quagmire: “What the hell? You said you were twenty-three.”

    Kira: “Yeah, and you said you loved me.”

    Quagmire: “Well, you got me there.”

    Joe and several other police officers knock on his door.

    Joe: “Hey, Quagmire, sorry to bother you, but we’re following up on a tip. Did you have sex with this underage girl?”

    Quagmire: “I don’t want to go to jail, but I really want to take credit.”

    Joe: “Quagmire, I’m afraid you’re under arrest for statutory rape.”

    Quagmire: “All right, but let me just send the pictures I took of her last night to all my friends.”

    Joe receives a text. He looks at his phone.

    Joe: “Oh yeah! Boom! You’re disgusting. Take him away. We have all the awesome evidence we need.”

     

    Because what could be funnier than not only engaging in child rape, but actually BOASTING about it?

     

    Later, at Quagmire’s trial, MacFarlane “treats” the audience to a discussion of sex practices most sane people have never heard of (and would’ve been happy to NEVER hear of):

    Lawyer: “Now please tell us what Mr. Quagmire said he did with the girl.”

    Joe: “He said he gave her a Frosty Jim.”

    Lawyer: “And can you please explain to the courtroom what a Frosty Jim is?”

    Joe: “Well, it’s when you urinate in a condom and tie it off, freeze it and pretend it’s a man.”

     

    Quagmire throws himself on the mercy of the court, pleading that the only reason he’s a pervert is because of his twisted upbringing. This is backed up by a flashback to his birth:

    Quagmire’s mother gives birth. Her doctor cradles newborn Glen.

    Doctor: “How do you feel?”

    Mother: “Horny. Really horny. Could you put him back so I could push him out again?

    Quagmire: “I was born nine times that day. And things never got easier. The only way I learned my ABCs was by learning the names of all the guys my mom slept with.”

    Cut to: Quagmire is in school singing the ABC song.

    Quagmire: “Art, Bob, Chest, Don, Ed, Frank, Gus…those are just some of the guys. There are lots of other guys.”

    Quagmire also mentions that he didn’t go to his High School Prom, but his mom did.

    Cut to: teenage Quagmire answers the door and lets in his classmate Ronnie.

    Quagmire: “Hey, listen. Have my mom home by midnight, okay?”

    Ronnie: “How ’bout I plow her in the limo and have her home in twenty minutes?”

     

    On the stand, Quagmire pleads for leniency, given his poor upbringing.

    Quagmire: “My misguided carnal instincts are the result of being raised by a sexual deviant.”

    Except that Quagmire’s mother has had a change of heart over the years, we learn; and she is now – what else? – a born-again Christian! Because no episode of Family Guy would be complete without a heaping dose of anti-Christian bigotry. And naturally, given his contempt for religious faith in all its forms, MacFarlane portrays this “born-again Christian” mother as still acting like a prostitute…then imputes the reason for her promiscuity to “Christian” charity.

     

    The judge informs Quagmire that his sentence has been commuted. When he ask why, his mother steps out of the Judge’s car. Quagmire points out that the judge’s fly is down.

    Judge: “Well, let’s just say some new DNA evidence was produced.”

    Mother: “And an impressive amount I’d say.”

    The judge tells him that he’s free to go.

    Quagmire: “Mom, did you?”

    Mother: “Yep, twice.”

    Quagmire: “But I thought you were Christian now.”

    Mother: “Helping my son is the most Christian thing I could do.”

     

    In recent years, Seth MacFarlane has shown signs that he is getting tired of being known exclusively as the rape-child-molester-and-fart-jokes guy. MacFarlane apparently wants to be taken seriously, and to be viewed as someone with ambitions to improve the world – as witness his investment and creation of last year’s science documentary series Cosmos. But until MacFarlane steps away from his sycophantic audience of frat boys and perverts, and actually stops treating rape and child molestation as jokes, no one will ever respect him or take him seriously. It doesn’t matter how many science shows Seth MacFarlane produces, how many Sinatra cover albums he sings on, or how many concerts he hosts. The bottom line is this: Seth MacFarlane makes TV shows that say child rape is funny…and he has made hundreds of millions of dollars airing shows which promote that view.

    Maybe someday Seth MacFarlane will grow up, and will realize there is nothing funny about children being raped. And maybe someday, Fox will exercise some tiny modicum of responsibility towards its young viewers, and stop showing Family Guy during prime time on Sunday nights. But until that day comes, Family Guy will continue to be the Worst TV Show of the Week.

    _________________

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    About

    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    12 Responses to Worst TV Show of the Week: Family Guy on Fox

    1. February 12, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Yes; This episode was humorous but should not be shown to young children.
      Intentional statutory rape is not funny but this woman or girl was understood to be 23 and perhaps was only teasing about being in HS and “catching the bus” just as much as Quagmire teased about “being in love”.

      Honourable parents forbid their children watching the “FG” program already. The FCC complaint process of PTC only increased exposure to “FG”. Complaints generated en mass are wholly ineffective. Effective complaints must be made via wallets to advertisers of FOX and must be measurable and obvious. This type program scheduling is supported by EVERY viewer of FOX news and every person who buys a product advertised on FOX ANYWHERE. Complaining to the FCC is utterly useless and a waste of PTC time and resources and reduces the impact of each complaint to less than zero. I have heart this in United States District Court from Google Inc Counselors with FCC Counselors present who did not object to this allegation.

      I demand the FCC regulate wire communications disguised as “online” and have a pending Motion for Summary Judgment mandating this at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Seeking an order the FCC to enforce the Communications Act and treat wire communications as a Title II common carrier regardless of the device or apparatus used to terminate these 47 U.S.C. §153 ¶(59) wire communications.

      Yes; this common carrier includes enternet, wi-fi, mobile phones, and most communications traveling interstate as well as ALL communications from hundreds of miles away since EMF can only propagate in straight lines.
      The earth is still round and viewing a radio tower marker light from 100 miles away would require the radio tower be 1-1/4 miles tall or over twice the height of the tallest building on earth.

      Without common carrier wires there would be no “online” and there would be no “FG”.
      How about a PTC list of advertisers on FOX to boycott and complain to?
      The FCC complaint process is utterly useless by itself and any FCC fine would be a cost of business.
      What about an online registry of authenticated people promising to boycott FOX advertisers?

    2. Fred Kopp
      May 10, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      It wasn’t long ago that I shared Chris’s opinion 100%. Child rape may be one of the most extreme scenarios to deplore, but there are plenty of other racial, sexual and other exploitations to hate on Family Guy. I wondered how Seth could get away with such, to say the least, politically incorrect nastiness. I watched sometimes, seething with resentment and anger. Then I did a tiny bit of research and discovered that Seth is a big-time Democrat contributor. No decent Democrat would let him get away with his shenanigans UNLESS he makes it their while. And apparently he does.

      Then I took a second look at Family Guy and realized how lucky we are. Comedy is not dead after all. The show could never have been produced by a Republican, but a Democrat gets free reign as long as the money flows. Thank God. Otherwise, we would have been deprived of this hilarious show, and we would have sunk deeper into the mire of political correctness, never to return. Our sense of humor would have received its last rites, not that it’s off the endangered list now.

      So lighten up, Chris. Enjoy our American freedoms while you still can, because the fine line that separates us from censorship and oppression is getting finer by the day, and will soon disappear. Either step away from your high horse and enjoy the satire, or just change the channel.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        May 11, 2015 at 9:57 am

        Our American freedoms, like alcohol, were meant to be used responsibly. It’s possible to enjoy satire, without laughing about children being raped. And “censorship” and “oppression” wouldn’t be necessary if artists used a tiny bit of socially-conscious self-restraint in what they choose to create.

        • christopher
          May 25, 2015 at 8:30 am

          It’s a cartoon tv show that is on late it comes on after the sun sets if your kid of kids are watching it that’s your job to stop them as far as the reast yes it is funny very funny not just because it’s a cartoon but because it’s not real it’s a fake story on tv if you can not see that then your just being stobern an closeminded if it is not real then even the worst thing can be funny have a cens of humor and if the problem is kids watching then stop them that is one of your jops as a you are the adult with them closeminded people please jost stop your s**t tv sucks so bad the past 17 years it’s amazing we have good shows like this left all the shows on tv now are boring or have bad actors or the director or righter and all-around people that are working for the show jost did a bad jod on them if people worked as hard on making a good shows as thay do being greedy we wouldn’t have so much bad tv shows those stuped reality shows an an childish dance an singing shows please is there someone out there that can make something good to watch or is tv truly for now for the blank minded the reason 50s the new 30 talking about age is because 30 year old’s act more like 14 year olds and 20 year old’s well do the mathematics all of you grow up real people are killing themselves because there in this f****ed up world with all you dame child adults P.S. please grow up please please!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Christopher Gildemeister
            May 26, 2015 at 6:49 am

            Um…right.

            Another typical Family Guy fan heard from.

            • Famguy1
              September 8, 2015 at 3:23 pm

              In his defence Seth is a talented individual. Yes his jokes won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The subject matter here is of a serious nature I agree. I am a fan of family guy and yes some things make me cringe on the show, however we need to remember that kids should not be watching it. I believe the DVDs are usually a 15 certification over here in the UK. We also need to remember that it’s just a cartoon that pokes fun at life situations. Seth dares to go in darker areas. Everyone’s different but I find it refreshing that this type of humour can be broadcast. It’s sartical and makes one for half hour at least not take life to seriously.

            • Christopher Gildemeister
              September 30, 2015 at 4:41 pm

              If Family Guy isn’t appropriate for kids, it shouldn’t be on broadcast TV before the watershed. And it ought to have a “mature viewers” certification on it. Neither is true here in the U.S.

              Thanks for your comment.

    3. Tiffany
      August 24, 2015 at 5:23 am

      Seth MacFarlane is not a joke. I, as a fan, watch his serious stuff just as well as the funny. Family guy is not even close to being as bad as Southpark (which I love just as much) and nobody ever has words to say about the horrible stuff they joke about. These shows are funny because none of it is really happening, they are just jokes. If it offends you don’t watch it, it is just that simple. We don’t go off about shows that we don’t like we just simply change the channel. That is the whole point of their being so many types of shows out there. Just like others with Game of Thrones. So many people have a problem with just one thing in the show and it isn’t even the worst that the show has done. That is how it is here.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        September 30, 2015 at 4:28 pm

        Hi Tiffany,

        The thing is, South Park and Game of Thrones each air on cable, where they can only be accessed by those with a cable subscription…and for Game of Thrones, you need an HBO subscription too. That’s why we don’t say much about those.

        But Family Guy plays on the publicly-owned airwaves when kids are in the audience and can easily see it. Worse, in many markets it plays in reruns after school. With all the sexualized “humor” about child molestation, rape, and abusing women on the show, I hope you’ll agree kids don’t need to be exposed to it.

        And, sadly, more and more there AREN’T “so many types of shows out there.” Just about everything is following the trend of Game of Thrones: increased violence, increased sex.

    4. proxmty
      January 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      This criticism doesn’t seem to be about when it’s aired or that children could see it, but purely that they’re making jokes about rape and child molestation. In which case, the only thing left to do is point out to all those who don’t find this funny (and who get a little angry about it) that it wouldn’t be what it is without you and your views. Does that make sense? It wouldn’t be the humour it is, which is a very special branch of humour, if it didn’t generate these responses. So In an ironic but very real way, we need you.

    5. S
      October 25, 2016 at 8:06 am

      There was no real direct assertion that rape was funny here. In fact if you get over all the comic overtones, you kinda get the feeling this was a little dig at how absurd some aspects of this law and stigma can be.

      Rape isn’t funny. And neither is forced sex upon a minor.

      None of this happened in the episode. A girl who charaded as 23 had sex with a guy. The fact it was Quagmire, a guy who involves himself in all major of debauchery, yet if you actually watch the show objectively, would realize is predominately a law abiding guy in that aspect, only serves to make something of a point.

      Of course, any sad sack can watch this and fail to see anything other than “MacFarlane thinks rape is funny”. Luckily, most people have half a brain to find most topics funny while seeing beyond the initial “shock and awe” aspect the show has.

    6. Donny
      November 6, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Chris- I’m not so sure about your logic here. Isn’t the whole point of laughing at a joke about a child rapist that you think they are twisted and wrong? Finding humor and laughing at something is your brain’s response to several things, the two largest categories being absurdity and irony/playing with expectations. If I laugh at a joke about Quagmire having sex with an underage kid, I’m laughing because I think its twisted and depraved, therefore absurd. My problem with you is its like you have the idea that the viewer is laughing at the victims pain. Any jokes with quagmire or herbert the pedophile are suppose to make the audience laugh at how f*cked up those characters are. And they can be especially funny because the things they do are viewed as the height of absurdity/being messed up bymost people. If someone is laughing at those jokes it means by default they think its wrong, you can’t find it normal and think its funny. Like a joke about the fact that a man finds a beautiful woman attractive would never be considered funny because everyone except maybe an extreme outlier would find it normal (yes I know there can be plenty of jokes about his desperation for the woman, if the attraction is absurdly extreme and his jaw drops or whatever, but a joke plainly centered on the fact that a man thinks a beautiful woman is attractive would never even read as a joke)

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