At this point, if you’re offended by Family Guy, allow me to welcome you out of your coma. The show’s been on the air for going on a decade, filled to the breaking point with jokes about rape, the Holocaust, and child molesters, yet still people seem to surface with each new episode claiming that they’re stunned at what they’ve discovered Seth McFarland and his merry band of pranksters are up to over at FOX’s “Animation Domination” Sunday-evening block of programming. The latest group to get their panties in a twist over Family Guy? The Parents Television Council (no, really, that’s their name), who took offense to some poo-related material on the show’s 150th episode. Keep on reading for the sordid details, my gentle Examiner readers…
The Parents Television Council (I know, I’ve never heard of ’em, either) is outraged at some material that aired Sunday evening on the 150th episode of Family Guy, a series that’s not known for pulling its punches when it comes to scatalogical humor. What’s more is, the head of the PTC seems to think that Seth McFarlane– the mastermind (ahem) behind Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad— has done it all on purpose. Speaking to the L.A. Times, president of the PTC Pete Winter had this to say:
It seems as though ‘Family Guy’ creator, Seth MacFarlane, carefully reviewed the legal definition of broadcast indecency and set out to violate it as literally as he could,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
So, what’s he all bent out of shape about? Well, apparently the episode in question featured a scene wherein Brian– the family’s dog– ate excrement from Stewie’s diaper (Stewie is the unofficial mascot of Family Guy, a football-headed baby with a penchant for matricide). According to Winter, this is precisely the sort of behavior that one of the FCC’s laws seeks to keep off the air. The rule states:
Material is indecent if, in context, it depicts or describes sexual or excretory organs or activities in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium.”
Again: is Pete Winter– or anyone else at the PTC, for that matter– really shocked that something like this happened on Family Guy? The L.A. Times points out that the show has garnered thousands of complaints to the FCC over the years. Furthermore, supposedly this isn’t the first time that the PTC has thrown a hissy fit about something Family Guy has done. One would think that, eventually, the folks at the PTC would just stop watching, but that doesn’t sound like an option they’re considering:
Besides the FCC, Winter said the PTC will go after the corporate sponsors that “underwrote this feces-eating broadcast, ironically a number of which were restaurants.”
Yeah, that’ll teach those stupid restaurants and FOX. You go after ’em, PTC. Please issue another press release once you’ve made it safe for all of us to turn on our televisions again. You’ll get there sooner or later, of that I’m sure. Somewhere, Seth McFarlane is surely feeling very guilty and depressed, perhaps crying his eyes out and wiping away his tears with wads of hundred-dollar bills.
What do you think, Examiner readers? Should the PTC leave well enough alone, or do they have a point? Is there a place for this sort of humor on television, or should Seth McFarlane be forced off the air? If you’ve got something to say about all this, feel free to leave it in the comments section below. You can also tune in to WheelhouseRadio.com this evening to hear the Comedy Examiner discuss these shenanigans (and more) at 8pm Eastern. Or, if podcasts aren’t your thing, hit the “Subscribe” button up top to get all future Comedy Examiner articles delivered straight to your email, free of charge, the moment they’re published. Just look at all the fun you’ve been missing:
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(photos: top– myspace.com, bottom–FOX.com)