If a girl broke up with Family Guy, it wouldn’t be because it’s too sensitive.
The controversial Fox animated comedy has made a name for itself by being brash and daring, but others would deem it callous and crass. Whatever you call it, creator Seth MacFarlane is proud that it’s an “equal-opportunity offender.” Here’s a look at just a few of the most outrageous forbidden subjects Family Guy has tackled for better or for worse over the years.
1. God and Jesus It’s nothing new to take shots at Christianity or any religion for the sake of comedy, but Family Guy reduces God and Jesus to the level of the crudest, wildest, sex-driven frat boys (no offense meant to frat boys). While Jesus has been portrayed as a con man (such as when he pretended to be a virgin to sleep with Lois) or cocaine addict (how he really died, according to Stewie), God is shown to have created the universe in a rather, um, flatulent way:
2. Anne Frank Although Family Guy has been known to mock Jewish people, especially with the stereotype-filled song, “I Need a Jew,” many feel that the show crossed a line joking about the most sympathetically tragic of war victims, Anne Frank, with one of its cutaway gags. Check out this black-and-white flashback clip to see how:
3. Pedophilia Allusions to child sexual abuse and child pornography are frequently played for laughs on the show, but the character of Mr. Herbert “The Pervert” is the creepiest of all. The elderly neighbor has an unnerving fixation with young boys, especially Chris Griffin, whom he often tries to lure into bed or get naked.
4. Terrorism In the episode “Turban Cowboy,” Peter befriends a Muslim named Mahmoud, who is secretly a terrorist and tricks Peter into detonating bombs off-screen whenever he uses his phone. In an unrelated, but poorly timed coincidence, the episode also included a cutaway gag of Peter killing people by plowing his car through the Boston Marathon runners. Although it aired more than a month before the Boston Marathon bombings, pranksters on YouTube edited the clips together to make it appear that Family Guy had predicted the real-life terrorist attack.
5. Rape The show has often joked about rape, such as with the gags about plant rape and Peter’s bug rape, but when Family Guy crossed over to The Simpsons, a trailer that included a rape joke created controversy, especially among fans of The Simpsons who were not used to this brand of humor. A spokeswoman from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, however, said, “I think the show is making it clear that rape is not funny by how they are positioning the joke.” Check out the gag below around the 0:53 mark when Bart teaches Stewie how to make a prank call:
6. Abortion / teenage pregnancy The episode “Partial Terms of Endearment” was never shown in the U.S. (although it did air in the U.K.) because of its controversial story line in which Lois becomes pregnant as a surrogate mother but then gets an abortion when the biological parents are killed in a car crash. In the episode “Airport ’07,” Family Guy demonstrated the worst-case scenario flip side of an unwanted baby with its song-and-dance number, “Prom Night Dumpster Baby,” which you can see below:
7. Physical disability Peter’s friend Joe, a cop who uses a wheelchair, actually proves to be not just able, but more physically powerful than almost anyone on the show, even when he’s not combining with other handicapped friends to create the giant robot Crippletron. That doesn’t mean that Family Guy exempts Joe’s handicap or other physical disabilities from its satire though. Check out this disturbing and painful clip of Peter driving a car after he’s had a debilitating stroke:
8. Mental or developmental disability The show features a character named Obie who is the “developmentally disabled cop” to Joe’s “good cop” routine and also cutaway gags of a mentally challenged rooster, horse and terrorist. But the show drew Sarah Palin’s ire when introducing Chris’ date Amy, who has Down’s syndrome and who reveals her mother is the former governor of Alaska. Palin thought that this was a jab at her son Trig, who has Down’s. It should be noted that Amy is portrayed in a positive light, and that the actress who plays her, Andrea Fay Friedman, has Down’s syndrome herself. Check out more on the controversy below:
9. AIDS A man learns that he is not only positive for HIV but that he has AIDS in the worst possible way… through barbershop quartet:
10. Domestic violence The episode “Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q” is perhaps one of the most disturbing and controversial in its depiction domestic violence. In it, Quagmire’s sister Brenda is constantly physically, verbally and emotionally abused by her boyfriend Jeff to the point that the men in her life decide to kill him. The episode was criticized for not only trying to tackle domestic violence in an nonconstructive way (i.e. murder) but for also being so grim that it’s unfunny and thus, misses the power and point of satire.
11. Transgender Years before Orange Is the New Black and Transparent depicted transgender people respectfully, Family Guy clumsily tried its hand at the subject with an episode in which Quagmire’s dad transitions into a woman. “I can safely say that the transsexual community will be very, very happy with the ‘Quagmire’ episode,” MacFarlane said at the time. “It’s probably the most sympathetic portrayal of a transsexual character that has ever been on television, dare I say.” The trans community disagreed, pointing in particular to how Ida (formerly Dan) is referred to as “it,” a comparison of trans people to sex offenders and finally, Brian vomiting profusely after discovering that he had just hooked up with a trans woman.
12. The FCC As if every religion, sensitive subject and minority stereotype imaginable weren’t enough, Family Guy thumbed its nose (and other naked parts) at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in this catchy song-and-dance number:
Family Guy airs Sundays at 9/8c on Fox.
View original Nobody’s Safe! 12 Taboos Family Guy Has Dared to Mock at TVGuide.com
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