We covered “adult” or R Rated cartoons briefly in my Media Studies class last year, but it has been brought to my attention once again.
I was watching the seventh season of Family Guy – thanks to my brother’s loyal collection of the TV series – and after watching a good few hours worth of episodes, I reached the final disc: “the making of the 100th episode” where Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy) interviews people who have recently watched an episode of Family Guy for the first time… and hated it.
Of course, they did not know that the person who they were complaining to was the creator, and divulged that they were appalled that a cartoon could be so offensive to almost every community.
One of the questions asked by MacFarlane was “would you let your kids watch Family Guy?” and everybody who was asked said absolutely not.
But that got me thinking. Despite being a TV series based on fictitious characters which are not played by ‘real’ actors in the flesh, it is still a very violent and graphic (and a frickin’ hilarious) series. So, of course you wouldn’t let somebody, say, under 15 or 16 years old watch it. It’s not like it’s actually aimed at that age group…
A cartoon of this rating is no better than a gory horror, yet parents appear to be more outraged that a cartoon such as Family Guy, South Park or American Dad! can be aired rather than something like… Scream (which was on TV not long ago).
Comedy is typically about somebody taking the mickey out of a minority group, something that’s different or a stereotype. Family Guy picks on all of the above and more. I can understand if something may appear offensive but I’m wondering if we’re just being too “PC” and thin-skinned about most things… Of course I could say what all Family Guy fans would say; “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it”.
But I think it ought to be addressed that they pick on women, the typical white American male, typical American lifestyle, African-American people, English people, homosexual people… and so on. It’s not a straight-laced lecture or one person’s true belief.
But yeah, if you feel hurt or offended by a stereotypical portrayal of a group or community you belong to or that you feel strongly about, you probably shouldn’t watch it. However, I think it’s good to make fun of yourself and not take it so seriously sometimes. As Macfarlane put it; “”Family Guy likes to hold a mirror up to society and say, ‘Society, you’re ugly.'” and sometimes you may not like what you see!
As I was doing the vacuuming just now, I was thinking about why I like Family Guy‘s humour, and I concluded that I like how it is smart and shocking. I mean, Family Guy is the only cartoon I’ve seen that includes scenes from war and major events that have shaped society for the worse and turned it on its head to make it… well, funny. That sounds so mean saying that… But that’s what sets the series apart; they go where no other cartoon has gone. And they’ve paid for it – being cancelled twice!
They parody songs, popular sayings, celebrities and other cartoons (such as The Simpsons… And how it’s not been funny since you were 13 – sad but true).
They say what you’ve always thought, but were too polite (or conservative) to say. They use the timing of gags and jokes to their absolute advantage until the only reason something is funny is because of how long the scene has been going on for.
I think we should lighten up. Really. And if you don’t like it, don’t watch it because it’s not hurting anybody. It’s not like factory farming where farmers can say; “if you don’t agree with how the animals are raised, don’t buy it” because although you would be boycotting the company, the animals would continue to be living barbaric conditions.
What I’m saying is, that Family Guy is not a practice that inflicts torture on others for an individual’s gain or does anything similarly evil to others.
I don’t believe violent video games or cartoons make innocent people murderers or that they give anybody ideas to copy what a character did. So, no I really don’t think Family Guy is damaging our society and doesn’t set out to offend people. I think it’s a really smart cartoon made by extremely talented people who look like they have so much fun!
But hey, that’s just me.