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

    by  • February 19, 2015 • Broadcast Decency, Misrated, Sex, Sexualization, Worst of the Week • 9 Comments

    familyguyFor the second week in a row, Fox’s Family Guy centered on children having sex – which explains why the program deserves recognition for being the Worst TV Show of the Week.

    As we’ve previously noted, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane apparently has a fetish about children and sex. From the Baby Stewie character, who even a decade ago was making lewd references about his mother, to the involvement of kids Chris and Meg in various sexually explicit storylines, to the adult characters Quagmire and John Herbert, who are unapologetic child molesters, Family Guy has relentlessly promoted the intermingling of children with sexual content as “humorous.”

    On the Sunday, February 15th episode (9:00 p.m. ET), MacFarlane and company were at it again. In this episode, teenage son Chris creates a homemade sex doll. Under his father Peter’s guidance, Chris has sex with the doll, to the dismay of his mother, Lois. In addition, there were many other gags involving sex, children, and toilet humor.

    The episode kicks off with a grotesque bit of allegedly “clever” innuendo, as Peter and his friends suggest unbelievably explicit names for their private detective agency, which solves kids’ mysteries:

    Joe: “I guess all our detective agency needs now is a name.”

    Peter: “Well, we’re detectives solving children’s crimes. There’s only one name that makes sense.”

    Quagmire: “Dicks for Kids?”

    Peter: “Dicks for Kids.”

    Quagmire: “But wait. We want people to know we’re grown-ups.”

    Peter: “Okay. Big Dicks for Kids.”

    Joe: “Oh, we don’t want to sound too old. They’re gonna think we’re a bunch of old bald geezers.”

    Peter: “Big Hairy Dicks for Kids.”

    Cleveland: “How are we going to let them know we’re veiny?”

    Shortly thereafter, a kid enlists Peter’s help with a bubble gum machine that stole his money.

    Peter: “Holy crap, it’s a set-up. Time to make a quick getaway.”

    Peter chews bubble gum and blows a bubble that lifts him into the air, where he meets Mayor West, also floating from a bubble.

    West: “You were set up too, huh? …You realize that kid is plowing both our wives right now.”

    And Quagmire shows the other guys footage from a nanny-cam video. In the footage,

    Quagmire enters a boy’s room with the mother.

    Quagmire: “C’mon, let’s do it on your son’s tiny bed.”

    Woman: “Hurry, he gets home at three.”

    Quagmire: “Okay, it’s later than this. Fast forward ahead. Forward. Keep forwarding.”

    Cleveland: “Is that woman gonna be okay?”

    Quagmire: “Yeah, yeah, she’s fine. We’re having brunch after this. God, I look huge on that bed, don’t I?”

    Cleveland: “You think other guys hang out and watch their friend’s naked, gyrating butt?”

    Soon, the episode’s main plot commences, and Peter discovers a life-sized, homemade doll in Chris’ closet.

    Chris: “No! Don’t hurt Heather. Don’t hurt my girlfriend!”

    Peter: “What the hell?”

    Joe: “Chris made a sex doll?”

    After Peter tells his wife…

    Peter: “Hey, Chris, your mother wanted me to talk to you. She doesn’t think it’s healthy for you to be spending all your time with a homemade sex doll.”

    Chris: “Sex doll? I wish. Heather hasn’t even let me get to second base.”

    Peter: “Hang on, what’s second base? Is that touching one of the cabbages?”

    Chris: “Yeah. Oh, but I’m such a loser. She’ll never let me do that.”

    Peter: “C’mon, Chris, don’t sell yourself short. You are every bit as good as that bag of garbage…Look, if you really want to learn how to bang that thing, there’s no better teacher than your old dad.”

    In order to teach Chris how to “attract women” (even though he has an inanimate sex doll), Peter teaches Chris how to act sexy.

    Peter: “Okay, Chris, now women really dig those firemen calendars. So we’re gonna go inside, get some sexy shots of you doing firemen stuff.”

    There follows a montage of Chris’ fireman calendar shots. In one, he’s holding the hose up to his crotch so that it resembles a phallus. Eventually, Chris’s doll falls headfirst into his crotch.

    Chris: “Wow, I’m gonna have to write to somebody about this.”

    Cut to: Penthouse office. A man reads Chris’ letter. Posters in the background show nude women covering their breasts in various poses.

    Man: “ ‘Dear Penthouse. I used to think these letters were fake until my taped-together-soccer-ball-headed girlfriend fell in my lap.’ Hey, do we still have a magazine?”

    But Family Guy doesn’t only associate kids with (anal) sex; it also trashes marriage at the same time:

    Chris approaches the breakfast table carrying Heather. He’s wearing only his underwear.

    Chris: “Good morning, everybody. I think Heather will be eating breakfast standing up this morning, if you know what I mean.”

    Lois: “Peter, I thought you were gonna take care of this. You were supposed to make Chris get rid of that doll.”

    Peter: “I did take care of it. He slept with it, and now he’ll slowly grow to hate it over the next twenty years…I also got you a gift. It’s a Katherine Heigl mask for you to wear while we have sex. She’s perfect because she’s only sorta hot so there won’t be this crazy disconnect of her face on your body, which would totally take me out of it. Also, it’s designed so you can wear it on your butt.”

    Later in the episode, Peter is shown wearing the Katherine Heigl mask on his own rear.

    Peter: “Hey, Lois, I heard Katherine Heigl likes to French kiss…What’s the matter, Lois? Need to get in the mood? How ’bout a little help from Kenny G.”

    Peter swaps Heigl’s mask for one of Kenny G. He sticks a saxophone into Kenny G’s “mouth” (actually, his own anus), and starts playing the saxophone.

    Peter: “I wonder if Cleveland’s gonna want his sax back.”

    Ultimately, Chris abandons the sex doll…but his replacement is no less disturbing. Remember, this is a high-school boy we’re talking about here.

    Chris: “Mom and Dad, I want you to meet my new girlfriend.”

    Chris crawls into the house wearing a dog leash held by Mistress Vita, a dominatrix.

    And all of the foregoing doesn’t even mention the show’s various misogynistic “cutaway” gags, like a Donkey Kong parody in which Kong has torn the princess in two. We see her body ripped in half. Kong stuffs the body into a barrel and Mario seals it shut. They dump the barrel in the ocean.

    Seriously: what is it with Seth MacFarlane and his writers? Is the thought of children associated with utterly graphic, utterly disturbing, and utterly inappropriate sex that attractive to them? If so, why?

    Much of the alleged “humor” in Family Guy seems to be based on the discomfort of associating children with sexual content; and such content is increasing, the longer the show runs. While the writers of Family Guy may think this is funny, millions of parents don’t. Maybe Seth MacFarlane, and Fox, should recall that the public airwaves do not belong to them…but to the American people.

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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.

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

    1. Fahart Aziz
      March 1, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      I’m disappointed that you exist.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        March 3, 2015 at 8:11 am

        The feeling is mutual.

        • August 6, 2016 at 4:26 pm

          Wow. Fans just try and to defend their shows by insulting people who has a HUGE point criticizing the material. So sorry chris.

    2. kh
      March 17, 2015 at 6:03 am

      I really enjoy family guy. I am a big fan. Or at least i used to be. The last season or 2 has gotten disturbing. Its gotten more obscene and it takes away from the general humor of the show. I wish it could go back to the way it used to be

      • Don
        April 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm

        Your kidding me. You considered yourself a fan up to season 10 or 11. Obviously you do not have a problem with gratuitous violence, references to pedophilia, sexual content, incest, rape, etc… Its just that you have a problem with too much. Wow. You should write Seth and recommend reducing, but not removing, those topics. We need to fight this together. There is no gradient. Censorship should be black and white.

        • Christopher Gildemeister
          April 6, 2015 at 8:26 am

          From the original post:

          From the Baby Stewie character, who even a decade ago was making lewd references about his mother, to the involvement of kids Chris and Meg in various sexually explicit storylines, to the adult characters Quagmire and John Herbert, who are unapologetic child molesters, Family Guy has relentlessly promoted the intermingling of children with sexual content as ‘humorous.’ ”

          Not sure where in there you got the idea that I “considered myself a fan up to season 10 or 11.” In fact, I’ve opposed Family Guy since it started. It’s just that the child/sex elements have been getting even worse and more frequent in the last few years.

          And frankly, I don’t see where “only” one child rape joke is that much better than 5 or 10. There should be none, period — especially on the public airwaves.

    3. Marah
      April 7, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Chris, one of your biggest things is tv shows effect children and need to be cencered. I am 17 and have been watching tv shows like this since I was 8. I am fine and it is my opion watching these shows have made me comfortable in my own body. If tv was the way you wanted it I would have no understanding of the reall world. You want tv shows like the middle to be what everyone watched but to me that show is sad. It features an over worked mother children who don’t care about there mom. Teens need to now about sex so we understand what’s going on. Keeping children in the dark is actually dangerous. Hundreds of kids got addicted to drugs because no one was telling them risks they didn’t now what herion was so didn’t know it was dangerous. If you don’t talk about sex when your child becomes sexually active they won’t use condums they won’t know to use birth control.

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        April 13, 2015 at 4:01 pm

        Marah,

        Thank you very much for your response to the article. However, I think there are a number of statements in it you may not have fully considered.

        1) “I have been watching TV shows like this since I was 8, and I am fine.”
        This is what is called a “straw-man” argument. The PTC has never claimed that watching one episode of one TV show will make you a psychotic mess, any more than smoking one cigarette will give you terminal lung cancer. But the cumulative effect — watching bad content day after day, year after year — DOES influence behavior. After all, what is school but forcing “content” on children and teenagers? Society makes you go to school every day in the hopes that you will learn useful knowledge and civilized behavior, and then put them into effect in your life. The same thing happens with entertainment, especially if you watch hours of it every day. Consider this: if what viewers see on TV doesn’t influence their behavior, why do companies spend billions of dollars a year on commercials?

        2) “[The Middle] features an overworked mother and children who don’t care about their mom.”
        Many — indeed, most — moms ARE overworked. And many — indeed, most — children aren’t terribly empathetic about that fact, because most kids are focused on their own lives and on the process of growing up and learning about the world.

        3) “Teens need to know about sex so we understand what’s going on.”
        Teens have managed to find out about sex for thousands of years without pornographic TV shows portraying unhealthy behaviors as normal. And today, we have sex ed classes in schools and elsewhere. Preferable to the kind of “education” one gets from, say, MTV’s The Hard Times of RJ Berger or the rape jokes on Family Guy.

        4) “Hundreds of kids got addicted to drugs because no one was telling them risks.”
        This is true; but by pointing this out, you’re actually making our case for us. TV today is hardly filled with cautionary tales warning kids to be more careful in their sex-related behavior. Instead, it portrays casual “hookups” as harmless and meaningless, during which nobody ever gets pregnant or catches an STD. And TV is barely better in urging teens to adopt so-called “safe-sex” practices.

        5) “If TV was the way you wanted it, I would have no understanding of the real world.”
        If you think Family Guy is an accurate reflection of “the real world”…I wish you luck in life.

        – Christopher Gildemeister

    4. Carol
      April 20, 2015 at 12:46 am

      Family Guy still has ratings of 4 million viewers which is kind of astonishing since it hasn’t been funny for years. The writers kind of stopped trying after season 6.

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