Family Guy is part of the foul Sunday line-up on Fox. The show is known for its over-the-top crudeness and pretzel-like story lines that provide “commentary” on a variety of political and social issues each week.
The November 18 episode, “Padre de Familia,” was no exception. The plot line twisted from patriotism to immigration and sprinkled the entire concoction with rude sexual humor and jabs at religion.
After attending a Veterans' Day parade (in which an American soldier was shown throwing a beer bottle at a child) Peter Griffin, became patriotic to the point of encouraging a crackdown of illegal immigrants at his company. However, when Peter found out he was actually born in Mexico and was not an American citizen, the episode focused on him living the life of an immigrant. The set-up provided the catalyst for the show's dive into the toilet.
Among the most tasteless scenes was one in which Peter, before finding out he was not an American citizen, proudly announced to his buddies that he “just had [his] penis tattooed to look like a space shuttle and [his] 'nads tattooed to look like launch exhaust.”
Surely NASA is thrilled for the publicity.
Peter's immigrant status was revealed by his mother who said he was born in Mexico because she had gone there to have an abortion. A flashback showed her hanging from a beam while Mexican children beat her stomach with a stick.
Peter's attempt to live as an immigrant served simply to work as many sexual references as possible into the script. Dressed as a hotel maid he entered a room in which a couple were having sex and suggested a threesome:
Peter: "Ok I clean?"
Man: "No! Get out of here!"
Peter: "I clean now?"
Peter: "I stay and watch?"
Peter: "I get involved?"
Peter: "I get involved with lady?"
Man: "What do you think?"
Woman: "Turn around?"
Peter's willingness to live with the servants at his father-in-law's house gave foul-mouthed baby Stewie the opportunity to compare living with “the help” to “going to a strip club on a Tuesday afternoon.” The scene then cut to Stewie at a strip club on a Tuesday afternoon asking, “Is there anyone here who hasn't had a C-section?”
Mocking religion, a favorite ingredient in the Family Guy mix, wasn't overlooked in the episode. Peter, who explained his new-found patriotism to his wife, said, “Boy I never knew it would feel this good to love my country. It's like loving God or a step-parent; you never really feel them love you back but that's OK because they've got other stuff going on and you understand.”
Peter also told his family, “If you're not from here God's going to hunt you down and give you AIDS!”
Family Guy gets away with its crude humor in two ways. First, it's animated so things like the depiction of an attempted abortion or an American soldier assaulting a child is viewed as less offensive. Imagine the outcry if this was portrayed during the 9:00 hour as a live-action show.
Secondly, Family Guy is written under the umbrella of “satire,” a genre in which thoughts and ideas are supposed to be exaggerated to make a point. But what point is made by referencing tattooed male anatomy?
Family Guy serves as a prime example of the inane programming that the liberal writers and producers in Hollywood continue to feed the American public. Crude. Rude. Offensive. No wonder 68 percent of Americans say the media have a negative impact on moral values in this country.
Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.