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Family Guy

Family Guy is an animated comedy about the dysfunctional Griffin family. Head of the house is lazy drunk Peter, married to Lois, with dim son Chris, unattractive daughter Meg, evil genius baby Stewie and talking dog Brian. FOX 1999-???

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Episode 8 - Family Gay

22 March 2012

Synopsis: Peter buys a brain damaged horse. He foolishly enters it into the Quahog Derby and he has to pay for the resulting damage. To pay for it he takes part in medical experiments, one of which gives him the “gay gene.” He leaves Lois for Scott and Brian is so concerned for her that he enrols Peter in a “Straight Camp.”

The Good: I suppose the message that people are born gay and should be allowed to live un-persecuted does come across in the end.

For what it’s worth Cleveland falls out of his house in his bathtub again (as he did in 503, 508, 706).

Flashback ratio (good-medium-bad): 1-4-6

The Bad:  Otherwise this is just another horrible episode. Peter becoming gay isn’t told with the tone of tolerance and acceptance that it is veiled with. The tone is much more like, gay guys have orgies and rapacious appetites that can be filled by any random guys. Yes Peter is in a relationship with a man he loves but his fantasy is to have nine other guys involved in sex.

I doubt many gay people watch Family Guy and take it seriously. But on two levels I don’t like it. One is just morality and decency. Yes there can be a place for shock humour and a lot of people will find jokes about homosexuality funny. But there comes a point when there is too much of it and some of it can do damage. It’s not just the endless orgy jokes, it’s James Bond pressuring women into sex, its Herbert (the paedophile) at the racetrack, it’s a man with a very high anus, its President Reagan making gay innuendo and it’s raped by a clown. At some point these jokes cross a line. They become the writer’s obsession. They become offensive because they indicate that the writer’s see gay people and victims of sex crimes as somehow worthy of being mocked.

Even if you disagree with that, the sheer focus on one topic of humour is bad writing in my opinion. If all those jokes were about monkeys I would still be saying that’s too many jokes on one topic. Let it go, move on to something else. It’s not like this episode is an examination of sexuality either, the rape and anus jokes would fit comfortably into any episode of Family Guy.

The other jokes are just the usual Family Guy staples with no wit or intelligence behind them. Random digs at celebrities (Seth Rogen, Matt Damon), random references to things (Dragon’s Lair), mindless violence (the brain damaged horse) and the most basic stereotyping imaginable (Asian families like their kids to become doctors). There’s no real satire or wit here, these things are just mocked because they can be.

Best Joke: Peter says he is as happy as a pig amongst guinea-pigs. Cut to a huge farmyard pig standing with ten of his much smaller namesakes. “Alright I think we’re all in agreement” the pig says, “I’m in charge here.”

The Bottom Line: Family Guy is a badly written show. That makes it far from unique. What makes it unique is its tone. It seems to revel in being offensive, irrelevant and incoherent.

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