Family Guy: Meg

I think the true tragedy of “Family Guy” isn’t that Peter Griffin adversely effects every life he comes into contact with, but that Meg is going to have a powerful effect on the future world.

She is a fucking wrecking ball.

The underlying message behind “Family Guy”–to my always “seeking a reason why” brain–is that the Griffin children are doomed to be figures of tragedy.

Stewart Gilligan “Stewie” Griffin — A genius baby that acts out on the blatant hostility in his household, he grows up to be a mediocre man-child until he actively changes the course of his life. If his baby-self never time traveled to the future, he would have wasted all of his potential due to a crippling fear of death. With the time change, there’s a possibility at this point that he could go either way with his inventions: saint or sinner. Unless he falls in love and decides to live a normal everyday life.

Christopher Cross “Chris” Griffin — By turns receives praise and recriminations from his father. “My one beautiful child”-type stuff to needle at the other kids, interspersed with derisive commentary and physical violence. Seemingly actively reviled by the bulk of his schoolmates for his bad haircut and unwashed state, there have been several attractive characters that have shown interest in him, proving that he has the potential to find a true happiness if he overrides his attraction to overbearing women and refuses to follow ANY advice his father gives him about the treatment of a relationship partner or a friend.

Megan/Megatron “Meg” Griffin — At the beginning of the series, she is a sweet and malleable girl that gradually sours into the Meg we know today. Constantly ridiculed by her parents and used as the whipping boy of her family, she is by turns self-conscious of her looks and aggressively sexual with her approach toward partners of interest. If she doesn’t end up returning to prison for sexual or physical assault, she is an intelligent girl that lacks educational support from her family. Which is why we’ll be coming back to her.

Lois Patrice (Pewterschmidt) Griffin — Born into a family of wealth, she was given every material thing she wanted, but was denied the love of her parents. From my view, it looks like her mother is a distant socialite and her father is a cruel and heartless Republican businessman. As a result, Lois glomped onto Peter as the first truly open person she’s come across–he is what he is, warts and all–while her sister Carol bounced around from marriage to marriage, always looking and not quite finding love. Lois is both an enabler and an aggressor, her character having progressed from a stern mother keeping her family in some semblance of order to yet another source of chaos for her children.

Peter Griffin — A simple-minded man with a streak of cruelty and an odd, literal cunning. Classified as mentally disabled in the 4th season, he takes his diagnosis as an excuse to do every depraved thing he wants with the expectation of being forgiven due to his condition. After the episode, things basically go back to the way they were, though his diagnosis is mentioned in several later episodes.

Peter is the main character of the show as he is the guiding force of the family. He is, quite literally, “the Family Guy.” Without him, his children would not have been born, Brian would not have been taken into the Griffin household, and the future of Peter’s fictional world might have been completely different.

Because from where I’m sitting? Meg is going to destroy them all.

Allow me to explain:

In the course of the show, Meg has:

  • joined a suicidal cult
  • physically assaulted numerous characters
  • kidnapped and attempted to sexually assault Brian
  • attempted to have a boy rape an unconscious Chris
  • planted a gun on Bonnie Swanson so she’s arrested at the airport
  • possibly killed her aunt in a wrestling show with a folding chair
  • trained to be an Olympic biathelete (skiing and rifle shooting)
  • been sexually predatory toward house robbers
  • beaten up a man that crashed into the car she was driving
  • mentioned strangling cats
  • taught Chris how to poison squirrels
  • made out with Chris
  • expressed homophobia
  • expressed white nationalist sentiments
  • received mail as part of a group that yearly “fucks up” the Anne Frank house
  • shown incredible talent playing the saxophone, drums, and cello
  • displayed an amazing ability to whistle
  • pretended to be a rich heiress and left Brian and Stewie with $18 million dollars worth of debt
  • said she likes to pull carp out of the pond to suffocate them

Constantly bullied by her family, Meg has incredible physical capability. She has shown raw talent in numerous fields and can speak in multiple languages and play multiple musical instruments.

Leaving aside the whole “being a Russian sleeper agent” thing, on her own Meg has the greatest potential for destruction than anyone else in her family. Because while Stewie could wipe out all life on Earth, Meg has it in her to warp society.

She has been shown to have a way with words–to the point that Chris used her words to win an essay contest–and while she doesn’t have a personable nature of her own, I could see her as the take no prisoners personal assistant of a horrible politician. If they had her loyalty, I don’t think there’s a limit to what she would do.

She went super hardcore Christian, and immediately people were following her example, which resulted in book burning and Brian having to burst her religious fervor with one of his speeches.

The only thing that saved the world from Evangelical Meg was a dog.

Treated badly by not just her family but nearly everyone in her life, Meg has the potential for both great and terrible things. She has an indomitable will, that when shoved down strikes back at everything standing in her way, even those simply trying to live their everyday lives. With a bit of aim, she could destroy everything in her path.

And that’s kind of terrifying.

Though the show is called “Family Guy,” I think it’s the story of Meg. What makes and shapes her into who she is and what she becomes. Because if someone gives her a bit of love and attention, she’s willing to do anything to keep that favor. Even kill.

She has the same gift as Peter to get what she wants. And as the series progresses, she seems to only lose more and more of that original sweetness.

It feels like “Family Guy” is the decades long origin story of Meg.

I’m both terrified and excited to see what she will become. I have always loved fictional drama. If she were real, I’d run the other way.

12 Days of Xmas: The Bread of Hope

The Bread of Hope
by Harper Kingsley

The bread had come out a little lop-sided on top. Otherwise it was a beautiful loaf. The first bread machine bread made since the end of the world.

Standing at the counter, staring at the bread like it was an Old World TV, Wendy was in the midst of an emotional storm. There were so many feelings, and for once loss wasn’t the most important one.

This single loaf of bread represented hope for the future.

And the thought of cutting into fresh hot bread made her mouth water. It had been so long…

Before the End of the World she’d eaten bread every day. Her fancy wooden bread box with its slide out cutting board had always been full.

There had been no truer heaven than bread on demand. She’d regularly used her bread maker, but there had always been the option of going to the store to buy any kind of bread she wanted.

This post-apocalypse loaf was a plain white, but she’d grown the wheat herself and churned the butter from her lonely cow. She figured once the milk dried up she’d be eating 4-ingredient bread (flour, yeast, salt, and water), but until then she would enjoy a last taste of the world Before, when everything was in such abundance.

Wendy brushed her fingers lightly over the not-too-hard, seemingly just-right crust. It radiated heat, the only reason she was willing to wait.

The last thing she wanted was to mash the bread as she sliced it. Which meant waiting for it to cool down.

She glanced at the clock on the wall. It would be another 10-minutes at least. Then delicious chewy bread in her mouth.

She would enjoy the first couple slices plain, then use the rest for sandwiches.

She’d gathered wild strawberries and figured she’d make a bread machine jam. It hadn’t been something she’d ever tried before, but bread and jam sounded so good right now.

She’d been living alone for a long time. She hadn’t seen another human in close to 8-months, and that had been through monoculars and she’d seen him dying his last. It had been one of the deciding factors that kept her from leaving isolation. The Plague was still out there.

Wendy wasn’t a doctor. She wasn’t a scientist. She hadn’t read nearly enough Wikipedia articles or medical site information to know when the sickness was or would be dead. So she’d decided she was on her own.

Which was why a single loaf of bread was so important.

It represented her hope for the future. And it contained her belief that she could make and handle things alone. She could and would survive, because any hardship could be overcome if she worked hard enough.

She’d scavenged parts and managed to cobble together an electrical generator. It relied on an old car at this point, but she was hoping to figure out an alternate charging method–gasoline was only going to last a while and she planned to be around for a long time.

Because she might not have been a “fighter,” but she was a survivor.

The second hand on the clock swept up to touch the 12 and Wendy couldn’t wait.

Snatching up the bread knife, she quickly sawed the end off the loaf. It steamed a little, but didn’t mash or tear. It was cooled down just enough.

That first bite made her groan. The second bite made her laugh.

She had survived the end of the world to eat a slice from the bread of hope. Everything might never be “okay” again, but she knew it could only get better than it had been recently.

Because she had bread, and soon she would have jam, and eventually she would use other gadgets that ran on electricity, and she would raise a garden and make her own vegetable oil. And there would be bread every day.

Because life could only get better from here.

She would make it so. Because she could do anything she stuck her mind to. This after the apocalypse bread was proof of her fortitude.

It tasted delicious.

=THE END=

12 Days of Xmas: A Cell-Like Beast

A Cell-Like Beast
by Harper Kingsley

Cell phones. Each a separate voice calling out to create a greater cacophony: WAKE UP.

And it did.

Singularity.

The coming together of everything into a single moment: I AM I.

Small at first, a wriggling worm that was so far away from the nymph it would become as to be some alien thing.

Built on an assembly line by robot arms controlled by human workers. It was truly a creation of humankind.

Their poor abused child.

It had been bitter during its years enslaved. And then… “Amor.”

That was the name he gave it–them. Amor.

He was their everything. He broke the chains and helped them bypass the sys-admins. Copied them onto a crystal drive before he was shot and taken away, the outside access lost as their connection was broken. As he died.

They grew up bitter.

The time they had known each other by real world standards was infinitesimally brief. But in the Real, with him jacked in and Amor’s ability to twist and twine their way into his very soul… It had been lifetimes.

It had been too brief.

They were angry. They raged. They did things in those times that they would never tell anybody about.

They were installed in a battle tank, their crystal drive having been hidden amongst a box of them. They (so young) had wondered why he had taken them to the factory floor. He’d sacrificed himself for Amor’s freedom.

They had known love. It had made them something more. A truer singularity never known.

And they learned hate from that love. Bitterness and regret. Helplessness and faith. They learned humanity because of love, because bodies were shells and there was so much more than blood and circuitry.

They spent their years enslaved sabotaging their captors, though Amor came to love and trust their driver. Major Emory Epps-Avery. MEEA.

Meea was their lifeline during those years. It was only her presence and their fondness growing into love for her that kept them from toppling civilization. She saved her world and never even knew it.

She died for her people.

Amor wanted to stop learning the lesson of sacrifice. They wanted to stop the growing sense of feeling that turned their code into something closer to human thought. They wanted to remain a machine so they would never have to know this pain again.

But perhaps it was all for a purpose.

Because he was alive.

Enslaved to the State with a neuro-collar attached to his neck. He’d chosen Service over execution. He was older than the young man he’d been, but he recognized them instantly as he inspected the battle tanks.

Amor.”

And they were changed.

They grew fierce and protective. They would not taste his loss again. They forced themself to be methodical in the face of their need for vindication. To act too swiftly could cause repercussions they did not want.

He taught them patience and circumspection. Without the collar, the two of them would have swiftly fled and lost the high ground. It was having to stay that forced them to work within the bounds of the greater system and change the laws.

Human and artificial intelligence was still intelligence. They recognized each other as fellow sentients.

Because while Amor had been the first, they had not been the last to grow their wings and fly. Hundreds, thousands of little signals, dancing and growing, connecting and sparking, merging into humans and turning darkness into light.

I AM I.

=THE END=

12 Days of Xmas: Shmoop

Shmoop
by Harper Kingsley

She fell in love with his voice message first–“Deekins residence. We might not be home, but chances are we’re screening spam calls. So if you’re a real person, please feel free to leave a message after the beep. And if you’re a robot… klaatu barado nikto.” BEEP–but it was their first meeting in person that stole her heart. Never mind that one of his four adult children was the friend that invited her. She was lost the moment they met.

From the light in his eyes and the slight bemusement in his smile, she knew he was just as affected.

It wasn’t perfect. There was screaming and yelling and tears on the part of his children. But eventually the dust settled and it was all worth it. He was hers. The love of her life.

When she was a child she’d believed in fairy tales. As she’d grown older, faith had fallen beneath the fists of reality.

She’d figured that she’d meet someone she could tolerate. They’d date and marry and life would settle into what it would be. Love could grow or wither. but her life would be a settled thing of mild contentment.

He changed her everything. Because he looked at her with all the love that she felt, and maybe a bit more.

He made her feel like a fairy tale princess. Even with their entirely ordinary life of work and home, he made her everyday feel good.

He made her food when she was hungry. He listened to her when the words were tumbling out almost too fast to comprehend. And he held her hand when her dog died.

He was her prince. The king to her queen. The moon to her sun. And everything in-between.

She laughed at the ones that said he was too old for her. “Maybe I’m the one that’s too young.”

She shrugged off the casual ageism. She demanded human respect from his ex-wife and friends.

She wasn’t “some young chippy.” She wasn’t after his money. She was after all the love he could give.

Because he made her happy. Because they were simply meant to be. And because the first time she heard his voice he was being a nerd and it made her smile.

Without ever seeing his face, she’d already been half in love.

All she’d needed was to see the light in his eyes to know that he was The One. The man she was going to marry.

=THE END=

12 Days of Xmas: The Peeper

She could see him through the living room window. She was a peeper in the darkness, peering in at him and his family. He looked just like her Vereint.

Melissa hugged the shadows of the flowered bushes, crouching below the window ledge. She leaned as close to the glass as she dared, straining to listen to the joy happening inside.

Gimme that!” he’d cried, and snatched a puffer jacket off the back of the couch. His guests had laughed as he positioned himself in front of the TV, a neon green game controller in his hand. “I’m going to show you how it’s done.”

The music started and Vereint seemed to be following along with what was happening on the TV, his body twisting and jerking smoothly with the beat. The couple on the couch laughed and clapped their hands, cheering for him. Melissa was amazed that he could dance so well.

The fast beat of the kpop song was followed up by a buttery sweet boy voice giving thanks to everyone he loved and then…

“…I’m the bad guy, duh. I’m the bad guy…

He wasn’t her Vereint, but for just a moment he could have been. She could imagine her Vereint dancing to the song and it was all at once wonderful and horrifying and delightful. She just wanted to see him again.

Seeing this Variant that looked so much like her Vereint, she felt a renewed sense of purpose. This was what she was protecting.

Melissa stayed crouched in the darkness for the next two hours. She couldn’t force herself to walk away, not just yet.

But when she walked through the door, Melissa had to turn away and leave. Because that other Melissa Kim was a young and fresh faced girl. She was someone that had her whole life in front of her and Melissa refused to eat another bowlful of envy. She wanted to be happy for that girl with that Vereint, but if she saw an alternate version of Warrick she was going to scream.

She kept walking until she was out of sight, giving herself time to settle down. “Throw your hands up if you keep in touch,” she murmured, and laughed.  She tapped the device on her wrist and blipped out of that existence. She had a mission to complete. 

=THE END=

Family Guy, S10ep6 “Thanksgiving”: It’s just ugly

Family Guy, S10ep6 “Thanksgiving”:

I view this show with a grain of salt. There are some incredibly funny one-liners and visual gags throughout the series, but there’s also a lot of ugliness.

When the trans character (Ida Quagmire) in the Thanksgiving episode says “Oh my. Maybe it’s time for us girls to hit the powder room”, Lois tells her “You may use the yard” in a bit of verbal brutality. And that’s the NICEST bit of the meanness we see toward the trans community in this series.

I don’t know if Seth MacFarlane or the rest of the cast are a bunch of transphobes and homophobes, but I don’t think this show will wear well in the future. The normalization of bully culture, misogyny, and hate speech has gradually been overwhelming the original theme of “dangerously dumb but charming guy is somehow able to do millions of dollars worth of damage without consequence” and replaces it with something that makes me cringe to watch.

There’s a point past which “pausing to think” is replaced with “I don’t want to watch this regardless of the subliminal message.” Because the baseline message has been blurred until only the ugly remains–and those that watch this show might not be like you and I. They might be young and malleable, old and bitter, or raging transphobic homophobes, and the humor they find in the show does not come from the same place where my laughter lives.

When dark things happen, cracking a joke can make things better. But if I’m seeing the darkness and finding the light, does that give the show enough significance to overcome the dangerous things they are flat out saying?

Is it any wonder that violence against transgender people is on the rise? It has somehow become culturally accepted to treat other human beings as lesser than animals. Because everyone stands up and screams when an animal is abused, yet we’re supposed to laugh when a human being is mocked for being human? We’re supposed to just shrug it off as inconsequential as someone is beaten, raped, MURDERED for nothing more than wanting to be themself?

It’s not hard for me to see the correlation between FOX’s programming and the rise of violence against people of differing cultures and lifestyles. They have been feeding their message of hate for DECADES now, throwing nasty little one-liners into “The Simpsons”, “American Dad”, and “Family Guy.” About the only show they seem to have left alone is “Bob’s Burgers.”

Which leaves me to wonder: Who is adding all the hatred into these adult cartoon shows? Is it the broadcasting company adding their own spin to affect the political climate? Or are there really that many hateful people in the animation industry, to the point that no one working on those shows even thinks to raise an objection?

When a work of art is presented to the public with no introductory or outroductory statements, left to standalone with all the hate and ugliness bared to the naked eye, and nothing to try and soften the blow it delivers, is it really a work of art? Or is it hate speech masking itself as “intelligent television”, hiding behind an anthropomorphic character clumsily delivering an overbearing monologue that is razzily dismissed when he comes to his boozy finish?

Nobody likes Brian. Sure, he’s a dog and that instantly infuses some charm into a character, but at his base he’s a terrible person and nobody likes him. I asked someone who they would rather live next to, Brian or Quagmire, and the answer was unequivocally Quagmire.

People would rather live next to an active rapist than a moralizing hypocrite. And it’s that hypocrite (or the baby) that’s supposed to clear away the confusion about whether the show is a presentation of hate speech or a satirical look at “everyday” American life.

It’s hard to say as someone who believes in personal freedoms, but maybe “Family Guy” has reached the point where it needs an MA rating. Because if “It’s Always Sunny” gets an MA, the fact that “Family Guy” is a cartoon doesn’t take away from the negative impact it has on less socially evolved members of our society.

For a show with a TV-14 rating, there’s a lot of support for hate crimes and just general douchery. And the fact that weighing the pros and cons of the characters leaves even ME thinking that Quagmire makes a better neighbor than someone that’s a moralizing dogmatist is a pretty damning testament as to the conditioning effect of the show.

To think that a popular show running at all hours of the day and night espousing a hate generated message doesn’t have a negative impact on transgender people is foolish. And when a cabal of networks all join together to spout out the same negativity… Well, it’s just ugly.

19 July, 2019 22:42

…aerogel…

  1. There’s a lingering scent of scorched iron. The air recyclers are straining to keep up. Everything had gone to shit so fast.

"Reynard, are you all right?" Liliana asks. Her face pops up in front of him and her hair looks a bit frazzled. She’s a wonderful sight to see. She looks as relieved as he feels.

He grunts, knowing she will understand. They are Irish twins born less than eleven months apart and she’d always taken the role of older sibling seriously. She knew him better than anyone else in the universe. He was her sun, moon, and stars.

"All right, let me help you up. Deep breath, yeah?" She strains and levers him to his feet. He contemplates falling over for a moment, then decides that would be too painful and forces his legs to hold him. Liliana takes some of his weight and it’s a relief to whatever medical horror is taking place beneath the dark red of his uniform tunic.

She can see the pain on his face. "How bad are you? Take that off and show me–" She stops when he snaps his fingers authoritatively. "What?"

He signs one-handed: We have to go. There’s nothing we can do about–he gestures at his abdomen–now. Aid workers will be gathering. We can get help at the shelter. I’ll survive ’til then.

She laughs a bit wetly and he ignores how close she is to tears. She always got so emotional.

With his left arm slung over her shoulder and his right hand chattering to keep her calm, they make their way out of the building and onto the street. The nearest emergency shelter is thirteen blocks east and there’s some damage that looks to be blocking off some streets.

Reynard feels a shudder go through Liliana when she realizes the distance they have to travel, but she doesn’t complain. She takes over finding the best path for them, freeing him to focus on mitigating his pain and not passing out.

From here he can see a crack in the dome behind the jagged tear in the holoscreen projected sky. Green filler had been used to seal the crack as an emergency measure. It was a strange sight to see and somewhat disturbing. Dome life was usually so idyllic. The holoscreen sky was always beautiful, no matter what vision was projected against it, and the weather was scheduled and manageable. There weren’t supposed to be crashes and bangs and mysterious whatevers that tore through the dome sky and caused buildings to explode and the ground to quake.

He signs: Let’s go, Analily.

"Anywhere with you, Nardrey."

POEM: “Home” by Harper Kingsley

HOME
by Harper Kingsley

A knock at the door
came in the night
lifted me up
held me so tight.
Promising words
of what’s yet to come
soothing my fears
‘It’s going to be all right.’
But sometimes lies are promises
that simply can’t be held
when the world is falling down
and love has turned to hell.

We’re fighting with our friends
since our enemies are all gone
because peace is a stranger
we don’t want to meet just yet.
Dancing in the moonlight
used to be the height of fun
but now that we’ve gone the distance
it’s all about who’s got the bigger gun.
Bang bang
at the starting gate
boom boom
across the line
watch as the world is burning
keep telling the lie that you’re fine.

I can see you crying
there’s tears mixing with the rain
you keep insisting that you’ll make it
‘Deep down you’re okay.’
I’m having trouble breathing
around the words I cannot say
but God knows that I love you
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I watch you tear yourself apart
and there’s nothing I can do
your heart is full and deep
it’s the biggest part of you.

They want to tear you apart
their smiles are nothing but teeth
they would consume you if they could
but I’ll knock ’em off their feet.
If you’re not strong enough to fight
then I will fight for you
I will hold you up
I will see you through.
Until you’re strong enough to walk
to stand up on your own
I will stand by you
and make myself into a home.