Too Soon?

In the fifteenth season of Family Guy, Seth MacFalane has delved into the emotionally-exhausting and hotly-contested 2016 Presidential Election. One of the episodes features a parody of the Access Hollywood tape that records Donald Trump making uncomfortable references about women. In the Family Guy version, Peter Griffin is edited into Billy Bush and Donald Trump’s conversation. In my own opinion, the content is fair game to be parodied, but I was shocked to see Family Guy pounce on it so quickly. I typically view sitcoms as having a time lag when it comes to addressing breaking news scenarios.

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-10-05-40-pm

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Still from Family Guy, “American Gigg-olo” (Season 15, Episode 3, 2016).

If you watch the version of the episode on Hulu, instead of the political reference there is a different joke about cats and DUIs. But if you google the episode, you can find the episode with the Donald Trump joke in the beginning. After researching I cannot figure out if the original joke was swapped late with the Donald Trump one, or if the backlash was so great that they swapped the jokes. One thing is certain: many Donald Trump supporters were enraged. But Family Guy has a similar creative license that SNL utilizes, and I do not watch Family Guy without knowing inappropriate jokes will be made. The same episode also conveniently deals with character of Glenn Quagmire being laid off from his airport job and resorting to becoming a male escort to pay for his bills. In turn, the plot and the Donald Trump joke deal with the issue of sexual exploitation of vulnerable individuals. Perhaps that, by using humor, the sitcom analyzes gender politics and sexual encounters, or maybe the whole show is a cheap joke. The decision lies within the viewer. Did Family Guy pounce too soon on a situation that was still developing? Or did the creative staff make an well thought, political statement?

View the entire scene here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNxfeDQDgH4

by Andrew Guido

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2 Responses to Too Soon?

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I think the purpose of satirical shows is to push the envelope. If you can’t take a joke about any of your actions, regardless of timing, maybe you should rethink your actions. –Serena Daya

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with Serena. Also the fact that this tape (and most other breaking news about Trump) caused an instantaneous media frenzy made it so that joking about it would be time sensitive. I think it was important for Family Guy jump on this as quickly as possible because it not only adds to the conversation but perhaps puts pressure on other comedy shows to step their game up on an important piece of material. -Kristina Kokkonos

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