Family guy

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Family guy is a show that is surrounded by controversy. The jokes that are made could be considered ‘satirical wit’ or ‘offensive trash’. The show highlights many controversial issues such as paedophilia and racism through comedy. The show was taken off air after complaints about the amount of offence it caused people, but after a rise in DVD sales from people who thought the show was obvious satirical wit. So which is it ‘satirical wit’ or ‘offensive trash’? An example of where there is controversy over the jokes in Family Guy is in the episode Brian Does Hollywood.

Peter is driving down the freeway and he is pulled over by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). We then see two Police officers beating Peter while Lois is recording it. This mirrors the Rodney King incident of 1991. Apart from the funny side of the joke Family Guy points out the serious issue of racial discrimination in the LAPD today, this shows how the show is satire because it passes across a serious message through the use of comedy Another quote which might be considered a racist comment made by Peter is “I’d like to propose a toast to our neighbours.

Sure they might be black, handicapped, and a heartless sex hound, but hey, if they moved out some smelly Hawaiians might move in. ” By this Peter is saying that he does not like his neighbours particularly however he is still thankful that they are his neighbours as if they moved then his new neighbours could be worse. Also this shows a dislike within Peter towards Hawaiians. This is clear as he is saying that he would prefer to live next to a “heartless sex hound” than a Hawaiian.

This could be deemed as offensive because Hawaiians may not like to be given the label “smelly” or compared to disliked neighbours, however the post-modern nature of ‘Family Guy’ could perhaps allow Hawaiians to laugh at Peter for making a stupid comment. The many attempts at wit are not always completely kosher and many jakes are based on things that are taboo. Throughout the series there are references to paedophiles, perverts and religions. Jesus is often depicted wrongly, in a way that could easily cause offence to Christians.

Also in the episode from method to madness, there is a family of nudists who are thought of as ‘weird’. This could be offensive to nudists. That scene is also one of the many that could be unsuitable for the younger audience it is targeted at. However there is also some humour that is harmless and ‘clean’, for example in a very special Family Guy freakin’ Christmas, the mother, Lois is shot by a tranquilizer dart after she has climbed to the top of the Christmas tree in a fit of rage. The last scene sees her rocking gently in a rocking chair, clearly sedated because she is drooling and has a very absent expression on her face.

Also in stuck together, torn apart, the dog, Brian has to look after the baby boy, called Stewie. They are in a warehouse and the two of them are accidentally glued together by an industrial adhesive. Whilst this is happening, the father, Peter finds a keyboard. He makes it play one of its preset tunes and pretends that he is playing it. Someone compliments him on how talented he is, but when Peter tells him he is only just pretending, the other man starts calling him a phoney and following him everywhere screaming at him.

Although Stewie and Brian’s being glued together is mildly entertaining, it only happened because Stewie wanted to abuse the adhesive by sniffing it. Solvent abuse is a very serious issue and it should not be used so casually as a method of creating humour. This is especially bad because he is only a young baby and babies should in no way be connected to drug abuse, even if it is only as a joke. In ‘Family Guy’ religious figures are often compared to people. Stewie compares God to an evil genius with the following quote “You know, I rather like this God fellow.

Very theatrical, you know. Pestilence here, a plague there. Omnipotence … gotta get me some of that. ” Stewie has the misguided opinion that he is an evil genius. He is referring to the characteristics that God has and thinks that they would be ideal for an evil genius. This could be very offensive to Christian believers again, as God is thought of as “all good” in their religion and ‘Family Guy’ portrays him as the complete opposite. However, many Christian believers will laugh at Stewie’s comment and the stupidity of it.

As in the joke about Jesus’ miracles as magic tricks, information has been carefully selected to show the irony of the stories in the Bible as an example of how to behave. Irony is common when television programmes are used as humour in Family Guy. In the ‘Smurf’ scene at the start of an episode, two Smurfs are talking about rude things. Every time there is a word which is rude and that a young child should not hear it is replaced with ‘Smurf’. This is ironic because it is implying that children’s programmes deliver bad messages to young children but this is something which ‘Family Guy’ is widely accused of doing itself.

There are also many jokes in ‘Family Guy’ which have nothing to do with what is happening with the storyline of that episode. Family Guy often uses some quite advanced techniques such as intertextuality and post-modern humour. One good example of the aforementioned intertextuality is in Emission Impossible, where Stewie tries to stop his parents from having a baby by entering his body and destroying all his sperm in a very star wars esque manner, where Peter’s testicles represent death stars, and the sperm are the space ships protecting them.

The offensiveness of family guy is often what causes younger viewers, mostly adolescents, to like it so much. The often offensive jokes give it a rebellious nature and adolescents could find themselves attracted to that. This could be coincidental, or maybe Seth McFarlane deliberately used the type of wit that could cause offence, just to boost viewings from younger audiences. That said, much of the satire used is by no means suitable for viewing by younger audiences, and many parents feel that the series could quite easily have a negative impact on younger audiences.

These unrelated scenes are used to make the cartoon more unusual and humorous. One of these scenes is when a chicken gives Peter a coupon to buy something from a shop but it is expired. Peter then jumps through the window of the shop and starts to fight the chicken. This ends up like a ‘James Bond’ sequence as Peter and the chicken end up fighting on top of a lorry and even hanging from the bottom of a plane. These random scenes are definitely satirical as they do not offend anyone and they are very unusual and funny.

Family Guy’ also often ridicules things that people have done to give viewers a different perspective on those peoples actions. One of the most controversial points in ‘Family Guy’ is a clip ridiculing Osama bin Laden threatening America. Osama bin Laden has just started to threaten America when he says a word wrong and starts to laugh hysterically. He eventually starts playing with a rubber chicken. ‘Family Guy’ as an American cartoon is shown in this scene encouraging Americans to laugh at their enemies. They have done this in a very clever way by using post-modern humour and ridicule in one scene.

Overall, Family Guy is made to be comedy, it is not intended to insult or offend people. However in trying to be satirical, it can easily cause offence by insulting some people’s way of life. The main downfall of Family Guy is that it uses taboo issues far too freely when it tries to be humorous. This, however, can also be seen as one of the best points. This proves how easily things can be interpreted so differently, so easily. This is also the very reason that many people like it so much, while many others despise it.

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