Fox's Family Guy , never a stranger to the complaints of fundamentalist groups and censorship advocates, just had a controversial episode pulled from air.
It was announced this week that an abortion-themed episode of the show was produced and set to air, only to be pulled from the schedule by the nervous execs over at Fox.
The episode was/is titled Partial Terms of Endearment , and is said to have featured Lois carrying a baby for another couple as a surrogate. When the couple gets killed in a car wreck, Lois has to decide whether or not to keep the baby.
Sources inside FOX say that the show appears to end with Lois' decision being deliberately unstated, only to have Peter, her husband, pop his head in from off-screen and say, She had the abortion!
Then FOX released a statement saying, essentially, that while they wouldn't air it, they'd be happy to include it on a future Family Guy DVD release. McFarlane confirmed as much in the same interview with TV Guide. So, for all those Family Guy
fanatics out there, you'll get your chance to see what FOX was so scared to f-cking death about.
The Every three months the Federal Communications Commission comes up with its Quarterly Report on indecency complaints, and we sit around scratching our heads. How come the latest stats, in this instance for the first quarter of this year, show the
viewers relatively calm at 578 complaints in January, then 505 in February, followed by 179,997 in March?
179,997? Um, did we miss something? Did television really get that much more indecent in March? No worries. In these situations, we know what to do. We go over and check out the Parents Television Council's website. And sure enough,
there's a plausible instigator—a PTC viewer action alert crusade against a March 8 episode of the animated comedy show the PTC just loves to hate, Fox TV's Family Guy.
Microsoft has yanked its sponsorship from an upcoming half-hour special on Fox featuring Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, according to Variety. The special was set to air on November 8, and was going under the working title Family Guy
Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show. The show, announced earlier this month, was to be commercial free, but would feature Windows 7 marketing messages woven into the fabric of the program.
When it came to time to sign off on the show, however, Microsoft wasn't laughing. Variety reports that Microsoft executives came to view the special's taping on October 16, but got more than they bargained for when MacFarlane and Family Guy
co-star Alex Borstein started doing jokes about the deaf, the Holocaust, and incest.
The special's content turned out to be a little too much for Redmond, and the company decided the show was not a fit with the Windows brand.
Even though Microsoft has passed on the show, Variety says Fox plans on going forward with the November 8 special in partnership with a new, yet-to-be-named sponsor.
The BBC did a good thing last week, which was to broadcast an episode of Family Guy, Partial Terms of Endearment
, on BBC3. This episode wasn't screened at all in the US, because it is about Lois having an abortion. She becomes a surrogate mother for a friend, but the friend then dies in a car crash. So Lois heads to the Family Planning Centre with her husband,
Peter, where she makes a reasoned and thoughtful decision to have an abortion. Peter's all in favour of an abortion, too, until he is shown a pro-life video by protestors outside the centre.
This is all incredibly funny. The video that Peter watches is a heroic pastiche: Science, proclaims the spokesman, has proven that within hours of conception, a human foetus has started a college fund and has already made your first
mother's day card out of macaroni and glitter . At this point, it cuts to a picture of a foetus holding a handmade card which reads, Mom, don't kill me! I wuv you.
It's no surprise this episode hasn't aired in the States, although it is expected to be included in the DVD release of the series.
So three cheers to Family Guy , for having the courage of many of our convictions. And an extra cheer for the BBC, for letting us watch it.
Family Guy: Not All Dogs Go to Heaven
BBC 3, 17th December 2011
The complainant wrote to the BBC saying that he had watched the programme from about half way through until its conclusion and found it offensive. He said it was an unmitigated attack on Christ and Christians. In particular, he highlighted scenes showing
a dog chewing a cross, Christ being portrayed as a rapist and Christians burning books.
In response, BBC Audience Services explained that Family Guy was an irreverent comedy which joked about many topics, including religion, gender, sexual orientation, politics, history and disability. They said that they did not believe any of the
programme's jokes carried the message that one group of society should be openly despised and that Family Guy's humour fell into the category of exaggerated, silly satire. It was not to be taken too literally and the majority of the show's viewers
appreciated that it was not trying to attack a section of society.
Audience Services apologised that the complainant found the programme offensive but concluded that it did not go beyond the bounds of what was acceptable comedy for the BBC Three audience.
The Editorial Complaints Unit then considered the complaint. It said that the context of Family Guy was such that the relationship between aspects of the real world and their portrayal in the series was so distant that it was more a case of fantastical
allusion than portrayal.
In relation to a dog being made to chew a cross, the ECU said that this was an example of an absurd premise that a dog could be converted to Christianity by using a cross as a stick to be retrieved and that in itself rested on the more fundamentally
absurd premise that a dog might be capable of conversion to Christianity when it professed itself an atheist.
In relation to the scene in which the complainant said that Christ was about to commit rape, the ECU said that the scene was capable of more than one interpretation. It could not be said with certainly that Christ was about to commit rape, although it
was clear his intentions were not honourable.
Finally, in relation to the scene where Christians were portrayed as burning books on logic, the ECU said that this was hyperbolically exaggerated.
The ECU therefore did not uphold any aspect of the complaint.
Appeal to the BBC Trust
The complainant escalated his complaint to the BBC Trust, saying that he understood Family Guy was an animated cartoon but nonetheless the three elements referred to in his complaint were offensive because of the fact that they were scripted and
The Editorial Standards Committee noted that the relevant guidelines on Harm and Offence and Religion both allow for editorial justification and audience expectations to be taken into consideration. The Committee noted the background to the series and
this episode in particular which had been provided by the ECU and the Head of Editorial Standards. The Committee agreed that, given the context of the programme and the likely expectations of regular viewers of Family Guy and BBC Three viewers in
general, there was sufficient evidence to show that any risk of offence was editorially justified.
While the Committee was sorry that the complainant had been offended by the programme, it agreed that there was not a reasonable prospect of success for this complaint on appeal.
The Committee therefore decided this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.
A Family Guy Episode at Center of Boston Marathon Conspiracy Theory has been pulled from the Web by Fox.
It all started when some heartless troll saw fit to combine two disparate parts from a single episode of Family Guy to make it appear as through Peter is using a cellphone to remotely detonate two explosive devices, thereby securing his victory in the
Boston Marathon. In actuality, the two scenes occur many minutes apart from each other and belong to two unrelated gags.
Alex Jones, never one to bother with facts that get in the way of his conspiratorial ravings, presented the doctored clip to his readers as proof that the media knew in advance about the government's plans to bomb the Boston Marathon in order to generate
a convenient excuse to take our civil liberties and promote homeland security.
But now it seems that someone is going to great lengths to censor the episode and remove it from the internet. The Episode is Turban Cowboy , Season 11 Episode 15.
US morality campaigners have called for the censorship of a family Guy episode:
It is a violation of Federal Law for broadcasters to air indecent material on the publicly-owned airwaves when children are likely to be in the viewing audience.
Yet that is EXACTLY what the Fox Broadcast Network (not to be confused with Fox News) did this past Sunday, November 10th, with its most recent episode of Family Guy.
The network brags to its advertisers that Family Guy is #1 with Teens ...and because it is a cartoon, the show is watched by tens of thousands of young children every week.
What were children exposed to on Sunday's episode of Family Guy? Unbelievably vile sexual content -- including jokes about child molestation, exploitation, rape, and the sexualized use of food and the perverse internal defrosting of frozen
Beyond the repugnant sexual content, the overall theme of the episode is that it is humorous for a boy to bully and beat up a girl.
This episode aired at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT -- only 8 p.m. in the Central/Mountain time zones.
The moralists of the Parents Television Council are up-in-arms about the jokes in an episode of Family Guy.
In the episode, Quagmire sleeps with what he believes to be a 23-year-old female who ends up actually being 15. A whole slew of situations occur up to the point where Quagmire ends up in court, and his mother gives the judge a fellatio in order to save
her son from jail time.
The Hollywood Reporter got a hold of a statement from the Parents Television Council:
We believe that Family Guy 's description of this explicit sexual terminology violates the broadcast indecency law. And we believe that joking about statutory rape, as Family Guy did throughout this episode, exceeds contemporary community standards of
decency for the broadcast medium. As such, we urge our members, as well as other Americans who agree that the broadcast was legally indecent, to file formal indecency complaints with the FCC.
Sexual assault is an increasingly troubling problem across America. Joking about child rape on TV shows and using such patently offensive sexual dialogue -- especially when they air at such an early hour and when they attract such a young viewing
audience -- is a gross violation of a broadcast licensee's public interest obligation.