December 5, 2012
Family Guy and America Seth MacFarlane’s hit TV show Family Guy encompasses nearly every aspect of a traditional American’s life. The humor of Family Guy is largely based on profanity, racial slurs, and ridiculing others for self-enjoyment. Family Guy also does a good job of portraying today’s American family. Compared to shows of the past 50 years, Family Guy is a lot more open and liberal on topics such as racism, religious views, gender issues and political issues. These topics are also touched upon and the show knows no boundaries to exploit these ideas.
Family Guy does a great job of addressing gender issues through inequality. In today’s society, promiscuous women are given the name ‘slut’. For example, in S4 E4, Lois offers Meg to buy her a shirt that says “Little Slut” which epitomizes sexist slurs given to these promiscuous women. Meg however is doing this in hopes of becoming accepted by her crush. Meg is a good representation of a teenage girl trying to fit in the popular clique. Meg desires to be that popular girl and is willing to trade her pride and any sense of female empowerment by announcing her desire to do anything to please a man. In the same episode, Family Guy portrays the typical high school jock as Craig Hoffman, who is handsome, blonde, and wears a classic black leather jacket. In today’s society, this is an example of social construct and how children see masculinity and femininity. Children may see Craig as someone who is cool because he is rebellious and good looking. In addition, heterosexuality is assumed when all the girls at the table comment on Craig. Family Guy tells us that heterosexuality is assumed in today’s culture and often promoted. However, when Meg asks Craig on a date, he refuses saying “I don’t date dudes.” In today’s society, a girl is called a tomboy if she features manly traits. Meg, a victim of this, gets a complete makeover and becomes accepted by Craig as well as Peter. However, Meg isn’t the only child suffering to fit in. Chris also has his moment in S5 E4 when he joins a metal band and develops a rebellious attitude and disrespects his parents. Chris’ role model, Marilyn Manson, visits Chris and tells him it is important to respect and obey your parents. Manson also suggests that Chris should spend quality time with his father fishing. Family Guy portrays the typical American father and son relationship seen in today’s society through the fishing advice Manson gives Chris and Peter as well as the importance of honoring your father and mother. In addition, it is common in today’s era for teenagers to act rebellious and cool to gain attention. In S4 E4, P. Diddy says “We gotta get her [Meg] half naked…it’ll make you billionaires. America loves hot white jailbait ass” and Meg, exclaims that she wants to be exploited. Family Guy has no boundaries in exploiting their satirical ideas and here we see a perfect example of how some teenage girls willing to exploit their bodies for fame and popularity. Quagmire is another character of the show that exploits the idea of men wanting to sleep with any women they see. Men of society today are seen as more promiscuous as women and Family Guy portrays Quagmire in this fashion.
Racism has been a hot topic since the Civil Rights Movement and even today, there are many shows that incorporate racism seen in today’s society. Family Guy uses racism in many different occasions and targets every ethnicity and stereotype that is seen in today’s society. In S4 E4, Brian Griffin, the dog of the family, barks at P. Diddy and asks for forgiveness saying “Are we good? Are we cool?” Brian does this a few times in an effort to make Diddy feel comfortable again. Brian then explains that his racism came from his father who was from another generation; perhaps from a time when black people still did not have the same rights white people did and were of the lower class. The show uses the apparent