"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Family Guy: Stewie Loves Lois

Question: Was Seth MacFarlane's first priority to offend viewers? Because if it was, he succeeded. The episode for Family Guy pulls as many homosexual and rape jokes out as possible. And the biggest problem with these jokes is that some of them go too far and crosses the line of good taste and revels in the awkward situations.

The plot of the episode follows Peter as he goes into the doctor for a flu shot only to stick around for a prostate exam. In true Family Guy fashion Peter believes that his doctor was trying to rape him. Eventually Peter takes his doctor to court, and gets his medical license revoked. By the end Peter does understand that the exam was just that, and that he was in need of the exam all along.

The other story told in the episode starts with Stewie having his stuffed animal destroyed by a dog, only to be sewn back together by Lois. The combined action of the restoration of his doll and a nice meal show Stewie that his mother is not his enemy but his best friend. After some nice bonding time, Lois finds that Stewie is just too clingy, leading her to homicidal thoughts. In the end things go back to the way they started as Lois ignores Stewie's cries and he hurts himself.

The Stewie/Lois story was really kind of funny. This bit was a nice window in on parenting. Although parents want to be closer to their children, they can find that it isn't as good of an idea as they initially thought. Plus, this new relationship led to a couple great confrontations between Stewie and Brian. As always Brian is working his best to impress Lois, while Stewie's new found love for his mother springs jealousy - what follows are a couple hilarious scenes with the two competing for her (one argument ends with Stewie screaming in Spanish which is very funny).

The other storyline is where my big problem is with the episode. I know that the story comes full circle and Peter realizes that he needs the prostate exam, but that does not excuse the rather frank and explicit rape jokes leading to this revelation. One of the scenes in particular - Peter giving his trumped up testimony of being violated in court - went from creepy and awkward to just plain disturbing. A black and white dream depicts Peter's interpretation of the "incident" which is just graphic depictions of him being uncomfortably groped, probed and kissed. I know that a couple of the flashbacks were direct movie parodies, but it was just wrong. Whereas a prostate joke can be offensive and funny, a rape joke can almost never be both.

I'm a fan of the Family Guy, and I admit that some of the better episodes and jokes are those that are offensive. But it is tough to tell people to watch a television program that treats these real issues with such nonchalance. I'm hoping that the new season is funnier than this episode - please, MacFarlane, think before you write.

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