Family Guy, Friend or Foe?
Family Guy, Friend or Foe?
Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious In Antonia Peacocke article “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious,” she discuses the show created by Seth MacFarlane, stating how she loves the show and how she can even recite several episodes by heart. However, when she first started watching the show she did not care for the type of humor that was expressed. Peacocke goes onto explains that she is not the only one who has these same feelings on how the show is bigoted and crude (Peacocke). Evidence to this was when the show was cancelled not only once, but also twice, in 2000 and 2002. Soon after the show was band, complaints from so many viewers to Fox Television Network, the producers were forced to start airing the show again (Peacocke).
However, as she continued to watch the television program, she noticed that there was more than just racist, sexist, and bestiality jokes to be taken from the show (Peacocke). She even goes on to state how she gave the show a second chance and realized that it actually had a purpose and portrayed the stereotypes many people use today. Family Guy is one of the most disgusting, cruel and racist shows I have ever laid my eyes on, that is what I first thought after watching the TV show, Family Guy, for the first time, now that I look back on it, it is simply not true. If you look into the show more deeply and get what Seth McFarland, creator of Family Guy, is trying to portray you realize there is a lot more to it. I took the same view of the show as Peacocke, at first I did not like it, but I was forced by my family and friends to watch it. After watching several episodes, I stepped back and took a deeper look at the racist and sexist jokes said on the show, and I realized there was more to learn and see then just getting a chuckle out of the cruel jokes.
Family Guy can be one of the most sexist and demeaning television programs out there but if you take a step back and look at what Seth MacFarlane is trying to get at, from the women of the 1950’s to the censorships of the FCC, you can learn the true meaning of Family Guy. Anyone who has ever watched an episode of Family Guy will agree that the show is very offence and often time sexist, but most people do not really get the true meaning of the show and how it relates to the stereotypes in our day to day lives. In one occasion in Peacocke essay “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious,” she states that in an episode “I am Peter, Here me Roar,” there is a scene of an old 1950’s work place where a business man is talking about how women are very insecure about their appearance().
He explains that men should be sure to complement women on how they look, even if they are ugly, because they will believe it (302). Then the businessman goes on to say that a firm slap on their butt will let them know what good of a job they have done (302). I take this not to be a sexist skit but how the women of the 1950’s were mocked in the work place and how normal it was for this to happen to them. This is just one of the many examples of people misunderstanding Family Guy. Peacocke also includes in her essay how celebrities influence the way we think and what we do things in our everyday lives. This is shown in one episode of Family Guy, mentioned in Peacocke’s essay, when Brian and Stewie, are talking about Stewie’s choice of reading material (304).
Brian then goes on to explain to Stewie that he only picks what he is going to read based on the books presented in Oprah’s Book Club on the Oprah Winfrey show (304). However, Stewie is quick to deny any of his accusations. Soon after Stewie’s denial, Brian is able to get Stewie to admit that he really is reading the book simply because Oprah suggests it. Here they are trying to demonstrate how Americans are willing to listen to the suggestions of celebrities and do what they tell us to do, without thinking twice about it. I agree with Peacocke on this because I have first hand experiences with my family. One example of this is my dad is a huge Payton Manning fan. When he saw that Payton was endorsing the brand Buick, he just had to go run out and get one because he wanted to be just like Payton. When I asked him about it, he said that it was a nice car and had nothing to do with Payton. But in the back of my mind I knew it was because of Payton. This goes to show that people are willing to follow the instructions of celebrities but don’t really want to admit that they do (304).
An episode of Family Guy, PTV, as mentioned in Peacocke’s essay, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is trying to shut down Peter’s Griffin’s own television show because it is not censored and appropriate enough to be put on television (306). Then the FCC takes it to a whole other level and tries to censor the town where they live, Quahog, later the FCC puts black bars over nude Griffin’s and uses a frog horn when they are using a swear word. The point MacFarlane is trying to depict in this episode is that no matter how much you try and censor media, you can never change the unforgiving nature of humans and therefore, in trying to do so, would be virtually impossible. Peacocke also states in the essay that it is the parent’s responsibility to watch over their children and there is more to worry about in this world then television (306).
This reminds me of one of my own personal experiences with this as a child. One of my favorite shows that my dad let me watch growing up, The Three Stooges, got banned because the FCC thought that with them beating each other up and getting hurt every episode that it promoted violence, even though it was just a funny show to watch and get a laugh out of. Similarly, in Family Guy, they are not promoting hurtful racial or sexist slurs; they are showing the true stereotypes that exist in people today. At the end of the day, I have first hand experiences on both sides of the story.
I have a reasonable understanding of the side, which does not care for Family Guy, and the side that knows the true meaning behind the television program. If the people who think this show is a disgrace would just take a step back, they could that Family Guy really has much more to offer then just racist, sexist and bestiality jokes. There is a distinct difference between what many people believe is sexist and what is simply just what the creator of Family Guy is trying to show us how people stereotype. I think that people are much more willing to listen to a message about discrimination and sexism if it is delivered in a funny way and they can make themselves believe it is really not them.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 29 December 2016
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