Saturday, September 26, 2009

Group 5 - Amanda

Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Family Guy can easily admit how offensive and peculiar the show is. However, those that are offended by the show usually do not see how it draws on real life situations faced by everyday Americans to provide its humor. Antonia Peacocke was one such viewer. She was offended by Family Guy when she first saw it that she was adamantly opposed to the program (258). However, once she gave it a chance, she began to see that Family Guy’s purpose was not to insult viewer, but to educate them about the social structure of the country we live in. Peacocke uses her piece to show specific examples of how Family Guy intelligently satirizes modern American society.

Peacocke explains her standpoint with many different examples, one of her first coming from an episode in which a mock fifties instructional video is used to show the sexism that was once prevalent in these types of videos. The example given features the voice of a narrator instructing viewers of the video to frequently tell insecure women how great they look every day, and that nothing says “Good Job!” like a firm slap to the behind (260). To people watching a show with no background knowledge of sexist 1950’s videos, this would not seem humorous. However, after finding an ancient video from the 1950’s about how a happy marriage should run, I can see the humor in MacFarlane’s satire.

The second example Peacocke uses is a bit more obvious. For this example, she cites an episode in which the dog, Brian, and the baby, Stewie, are talking about books and reading. Brian tricks Stewie into explaining that heonly reads books that are on Oprah’s book list (262). This episode provides a comment on America’s obsession with celebrities. This is seen anywhere – if a celebrity has an object, suddenly it’s popular for everyone else to have it. And if the celebrity is Oprah, then no more explanation is needed. Oprah rules as the Queen of American talk shows. Once she tells her royal subjects about something that she finds to be good, they have to have it.

Family Guy also uses satire to take jabs at the Federal Communications Commission, which censors shows that are seen on the air. In one particular episode the main character, Peter, sets up his own television show from home. The FCC steps in and begins to not only censor the program, but soon they begin to censor the neighborhood in which Peter lives. Soon, black boxes are places in front of characters when they are seen in “crude” positions, and the FCC blows foghorns whenever they curse. Macfarlane puts his explicit argument into the mouths of his characters, having Brian explain that there are plenty of things that are worse than television for children (264). When you think about it, it’s completely true. I’m not saying that children should go watch the goriest show they can find and that all will end well. But a gory, hypothetical show compared to an actual violent event? I’ll take television, please.

Peacocke also takes the time to in her piece to respond to one other author in TSIS.. She speaks of the similarity of her piece compared to a work written by Douglas Rushkoff about The Simpsons. She thinks that her and Rushkoff’s pieces are similar because they both comment on the aspect of humor of their respective television programs. She says the one main difference between hers and his piece, however, is one distinct line where Rushkoff says that The Simpsons creators do “not comment on social issues as much as they [do on] the media imagery around a particular social issue” (296). Peacocke thinks that Family Guy does just the opposite; the creator of Family Guy relies on his viewer’s ability to analyze what they are watching and to understand the shows pokes at the defects of the modern American society (263).

I think that Peacocke would really enjoy Fred Allen’s “Reality Television: Oxymoron.” The piece, like Family Guy, makes social commentary on America’s culture. However, it reviews relity television instead, explaining that Americans have become targets of “shock culture.” We are constantly waiting to be shocked by what we view, but we are desensitized to sex, violence, and degradation that nothing effects us anymore (Will 295). I’m sure that Macfarlane has targeted this in some episode of Family Guy before. However, Family Guy is one of those shows that Allen is talking about. It relies on shock value to satire society.


Peacocke, Antonia. “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious.” Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein and Russel Durst. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2009. Print.

Will, George F.”Reality Television:Oxymoron”. Washington Post (2001). They Say/I Say with Reading. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein and Russel Durst. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2009. Print.


  1. Amanda I like your article, you do a nice job restating the thesis of the original article. I noticed just a few mechanical errors that you may want to fix, you need a couple spaces between some words. I like the way you state Anotonia Peacocke's original take on Family Guy, that she too wasn't a fan and found it to be crude, but soon realized that it is just mimmicking real life situations and kind of saying to people that this stuff does really happen and we can talk about some of these "taboo" issues. You gave great supporting detail to your piece and I agree with your stance that sure some of these shows may not be the greatest examples of TV for young kids, but I would rather them see it on TV in cartoon form then to witness it first hand, that would without a doubt cause way more damage. In addition, we as adults have the capacity to censor, the best we can, what is suitable for our children to be watching and what they are doing with their spare time, I feel that is a duty we have as a parent. Nice job!!

  2. Amanda, you did a great job with this assignment. It was really thought out and through. The way in which you wrote it made it very easy to understand. I liked how you didn’t outright state what the thesis was, but just added it in like it was your own thesis. The youtube video was very impressive. When I first opened the blog page, I was like WOW someone got creative! It was nice to see thinking outside of the assignment. There were a few minor mechanical errors, but overall a great job!

  3. Wow, you did a great job. You analyzed your article very well. It was very easy to follow. When you talked about the other articles, you made good connections to your article. I like how you stated that Family Guy hits more on social issues, and thats why it is more offensive. Its true that people get really offend by someone telling them what is happening in reality. You made your post very appealing with the youetube video. It shows you did research, which helped shape your post. Well done.

  4. Hi, I agree with everyone here that you did a great job. I like the flow in your post, and I see that you have gone an extra mile to research and present the movie clip. For the things that I would want to improve, I would like to see the topic sentences of question 2 are stated right at the first sentence in each paragraphs of three paragraphs that you have for the question so that it can underscore the answer: you did it in the first paragraph, then on the second one, you change the topic sentence to middle of the paragraph.

  5. Well done, The post has very good transitions, and valid support for you stance. What you did by enbedding the thesis was great. The post also was easy to follow, and enjoyable.
    Good Job

  6. I really liked your group's blog post. The thesis was stated clearly, and the points the author made were explained in detail. I was also very impressed with the embedding of the YouTube video, however, I would have liked to have seen a video from Family Guy, instead of this one from the fifties. I see the inequality correlation, but I think this particular video did not match up with this essay. I also think that your group did a great job with the counter points of other essays. I understood, and agreed with your assesment

  7. Amanda- I really enjoyed reading your article. Your transitions were very effective. It was very interesting for me to read the perspective that you gave the author of the Family Guy article. I read the Simpson's article and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the authors. When I was reading through I noticed that a lot of your main points were the main points that my group also found by reading the Simpson's article. Your counter points were great and very easy to ready and follow. I also liked that your whole response wasn't based off of summaries and paraphrases from the readings.

  8. I really enjoyed your article, you did a good job with stating your thesis and supporting it with good information. I loved how you put the video clip in your article. You had a few errors that you might consider correcting, but other then that I think you did a good job. I agree that family guy does make fun of our social structure thats in our society today.

  9. I really liked your blog, as it seems with most every person that commented. Good Job! I was very interested when I was reading it and “BAM”, there is a video to help support your information. I was very fond of that and thought I wish I had thought of that. Your paper was very easy to read and flowed nicely. I agree that Family guy is a little on the extreme side, but if people actually give it a chance its so funny because they bring up real everyday family issues.

  10. thanks for the information on this blog! I find it very interesting and entertaining! hopefully soon have updates that I love your post! I thank you too!
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