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Family Guy on Fox
In the doldrums of late summer,
little original programming is shown on broadcast TV. Instead, TV watchers are
inundated with a veritable flood of reruns. In such circumstances, finding the
Worst TV Show of the Week becomes more difficult. Difficult, but
not impossible; for even in reruns, the misnamed and ever-obnoxious Family
Guy (Fox, Sundays, 9:30 p.m. ET) provides viewers with a toxic brew of
blood, crude sex jokes, and toilet humor. For once again scraping the bottom of
the TV humor barrel, the August 23rd rerun of the April 26thFamily Guy has earned the title of Worst TV Show of the Week.
This episode of televisual
bolus, titled “Stew-Roids,” takes its name from the antics of Baby Stewie. After
Stewie is attacked and beaten with Barbie dolls by a female toddler, father
Peter fears for his youngest child’s masculinity and takes him to a gym, where
he injects Stewie with steroids. Interspersed between Family Guy’s crass,
tiresome pop culture cutaways – a drunken Santa Claus surrounded with bloody,
slaughtered reindeer; Fred Flintstone remarking that “nobody asked you to smell”
his rear; a reference to the now-muscular Stewie’s resemblance to “Lou
Ferrigno’s poop;” and Lois and Brian watching Lady and the Tramp and Michael
Vick, in which both dogs are drowned in buckets of water – are scenes of
Stewie threatening others and beating himself bloody.
One of the most irritating
facets of Family Guy it its conceit that its content is original…a
conceit shown hollow in this episode. The major plot revolves around popular
high school girl Connie’s decision to date Peter and Lois’ disgusting outcast
son Chris, in an experiment to see if she can “make him popular.” In a plot all
too familiar to anyone who has ever watched any family sitcom aired in the last
five decades, Connie succeeds – only to have Chris’ popularity go to his head.
After treating his own sister Meg badly, Chris learns a lesson when he is
humiliated himself. As a story, this plot has been done to death – and done
better – on shows ranging from Father Knows Best to The Brady Bunch
to Family Ties. Apparently, originality is not a requirement for writers
on Family Guy.
Indeed, the only thing
“original” about Family Guy is the atmosphere of sleaze which pervades
every episode. For example:
After Peter remarks, “I'm so
hungry I could eat a horse,” he’s shown in bed with a lipstick-wearing equine
(though after an episode in which
Baby Stewie eats horse sperm, mere implied
bestiality must seem a trifle to Family Guy‘s creators).
Lois sees her friend Bonnie
sunbathing in a bikini, with the following sexualized dialogue ensuing:
BONNIE: “Hey, do you mind
rubbing some of that sunblock on my back?”
Bonnie unties her bikini top
and lies down face first.
LOIS: “Of course, Bonnie. But
I don't want to get any on my shirt.”
Lois removes her shirt,
exposing her bra.
BONNIE: “Ooo, that feels
Lois' hands wander down to
BONNIE: “You're going a little
low there, Lois.”
In the background, Quagmire
cuts an eyehole into the fence, then cuts a
second hole over his crotch.
When Chris brings Connie home
for dinner, Peter reacts with lecherous remarks directed at his son’s
PETER: “You’ve really filled
out. I like what you're doing with your boobs!...You’re all natural. Man, your
dad must be proud.”
CONNIE: “Actually, my dad
passed away four years ago.”
PETER: “Yeah, yeah, he did. He
sure did. You gonna shower before dessert?”
And later, Meg enlists the aid
of an AV club member in humiliating her brother:
AV GEEK: “OK Meg, remember our
deal. I do this for you, and I have your permission to think about you later
tonight when I’m in the tub…I might even go lefty tonight. Stranger in the tub!”
Bestiality. Child molestation.
Masturbation. Just another typical Sunday night’s entertainment, according to
Family Guy. Why Fox feels the creator of this program is worth $100 million
a year is a baffling question; but even more elusive are the answers to the
questions, “Who thinks this kind of thing is funny?” and “How much longer must
the public’s airwaves be polluted with this show?”
Parents Television Council,
Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The
nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting
children against sex, violence and profanity in
entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval,
and Family Guide to Prime Time Television
are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.