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Worst TV Show of the Week

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Family Guy on Fox


The angst-ridden, tortured teen character is a staple of popular culture.  Unfortunately Meg Griffin, the ridiculed daughter in Family Guy (Sundays, 9:00 p.m. ET) is often literally tortured.  She’s been punched, kicked, farted upon, and shot so many times that her abuse has become a running joke on the show.  In fact, in the PTC’s study Women in Peril, Meg-based assaults accounted for some of the rise in violence toward teenage girls.  On the January 31st episode of Family Guy, Meg tasted some sweet retribution, and the victim became the aggressor.  And while some viewers may have been cheering her on, the disturbing, excessive violence that was depicted has earned the show the title of Worst TV Show of the Week.


Towards the beginning of the show, Meg’s father Peter trains for the rodeo he plans to enter by practicing calf-roping on Meg.  While she’s lying on her bed, Peter – mounted on a horse – throws a lariat around her ankles; he drags her violently down the stairs and into the front lawn where he rips her pants off, takes a red-hot iron from off of the coals, and is about to brand her when he discovers that she’s already been branded by Adam West, who drags her away by the ankles on his own steer. 


During the rodeo, Peter’s bull-riding event takes an unsettling turn when the bull bucks Peter to the ground and sneers, “You know what I am back at the ranch?  I'm a breeding bull.”


“What's that?” Peter asks.


“You gonna find out,” the bull says as Peter starts to crawl away.  “Where you going, fatty?  We're gonna have a party.”


Peter tries to fight off the bull, but the bull rips Peter’s pants off and holds him down.


Later, Peter is shown shivering in a fetal position while the bull stands over him.  Perhaps the scene was supposed to be funny for the sheer ridiculousness of it; but the way Peter desperately fought back and his broken demeanor after the implied rape was nothing less than sickening.


Peter continues to suffer abuse throughout the episode when Meg returns home after a three-month stint in prison.  Meg – sporting tribal sleeve tattoos – storms through the front door and proclaims, “I’m home.  You’re all my bitches now.”  She proceeds to ask, “First question: who’s the biggest, toughest guy in this house?”  Peter raises his hand; Meg throws a lamp at his head and viciously beats him up. She drags him to the staircase and breaks his teeth over the first step.  “My house now, bitch” she snorts. 


In the next scene, Meg enters the shower while Peter is in it.  Meg's breasts are obscured by a loofah.


PETER:  “Meg, what the hell are you doing here?”


MEG:  “Shower time.”


PETER:  “Yeah, for me, not for --- what are you doing with that loofah?”


MEG:  “Don't worry about it.”


Peter screams in pain. 


PETER:  “Ah!  You told me not to worry about it.  I should have been worried about it the whole time!”  


Once Meg returns to school, the popular kids taunt her while she stuffs soda cans into a pillowcase.  The Alpha-Blonde asks, “Hey, Meg, are you gonna take those soda cans to the Shaw-Skank Redemption Center?”  Meg swings the bag over her head and knocks the blonde unconscious.  She proceeds to mercilessly bash the other kids’ heads.  She lifts the blonde’s head and sticks her tongue down her throat before she strides out of the cafeteria. 


Meg undoubtedly will continue to be battered, abused, and beaten as Family Guy rolls on.  It’s sad that on the rare occasion she feels empowered, the level of violence still remains high.  Even when Meg isn’t the victim, the show still rightly deserves the onerous distinction of Worst TV Show of the Week.

Worst TV Show of the Week

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