Since 2005, Nicole Bernard has been Fox Television's senior vice president for standards and practices. Someone should put her face on a milk carton, because anyone who watches Fox must suspect she's never shown up for work.
Exhibit A (and through Z, and back again) is "Family Guy," Fox's animated Sunday night spectacle of mind-numbing garbage. The March 8 episode, titled "Family Gay," was absolutely riddled with revolting scenes that would make people wonder about if anyone at Fox has an ounce of decency, or taste.
Here's what anyone who would dare publicly state, "I work for Fox," knows his company produced:
Peter Griffin, the show's idiotic lead character, decides to buy a brain-damaged race horse as an investment. He also decides to participate in medical experiments for cash, including an injection with the so-called "gay gene." Any one of the following scenes should have waved a red flag inside Fox; all got the All Clear from the standards and practices folks.
1. Horse Love. Peter's horse wanders into his bedroom, where he lays naked next to his wife Lois. The horse licks Peter in the behind, causing Peter to say "Mmm, what made you come around, Lois?" If that isn't disgusting enough to ruin dinner, try...
2. Baby Eats Horse Semen. As Baby Stewie sits eating a bowl of cereal, Peter walks in and announces "Everyone, some of the milk in the fridge is not milk. It's horse sperm. I'm a horse breeder now." Stewie hesitates as he lifts a spoonful of cereal to his mouth, but then keeps eating it anyway.
This is funny? This is taste?
This is vomitous. The show's creators are clearly toying with what they have told the media: that the baby is bisexual. They cannot just say it. They must define it - this way.
3. Gay Ronald Reagan? Once Peter is injected with the "gay gene," he refuses to stay with his wife. When she grabs him in the crotch and asks for sex, Peter declares that many married men are gay: "Tony Randall was married, Lois. Rock Hudson was married. Ronald Reagan was married." The cartoon cuts away to a press conference with President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. A reporter asks: "Mr. President, did you reach a missile pact?" The cartoon president replied: "Well, you could say that. There was a missile and something definitely got packed."
Take a much-beloved president who recently died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease and mock his followers by blatantly lying and suggesting he was homosexual. Fox didn't see anything insulting or wrong with that.
4. Jesus Camp. Peter is then sent to "straight camp," where he is told Jesus Christ hates homosexuals most of all. A counselor tells the campers to grab a baseball bat and beat up a boy to change his "choice of lifestyle." As the campers head off camera, the counselor yells at them to stop using the bats "that way." He asks them to use their fists, and then yells "Not like that!"
This Jesus-bashing is offensive, but it isn't so surprising - it's a "Family Guy" staple. Now add the allusions to anal penetration, and we're on another trip down Grossout Lane.
5. The Gay 11-Way Orgy. Peter's new gay partner announces to Peter that he organized his fantasy come true: a gay "11-way" orgy. Nine men walk into the room stripped down to white underwear. But after some moaning and giggling, the gay gene "wears off" and Peter runs out of the room naked.
It's quite clear that Fox and its public-relations team must just like the sound of a headline the next day with the words "gay 11-way orgy" in it.
6. Murderous Horse Rampage. Peter's horse is used for more sick laughs when it runs off the racetrack and tramples the audience. The announcer protests he cannot describe the death scene that was so "unfathomably ugly and heart-rending," but then he describes how the horse trampled a class of deaf second-graders. That was allegedly funny - the announcer said you couldn't hear them scream as they died, but they were "signing frantically" in "dread and terror."
Remember: There really does exist a person working at Fox who is in charge of "standards" and "practices."
Fox isn't the only corporation to blame for this rotting barge of garbage. Thank the sponsors who made it possible: not just the movie studios of Fox, Universal, and Miramax, but Toyota, Volkswagen, Burger King, Taco Bell, Boost Mobile, Verizon, Chase Bank, Stride Gum, and Diet Mountain Dew.
I wonder how many of the corporate executives running these companies allow this program to be aired in their own living rooms.