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.