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Microsoft is shocked to find racy content in 'Family Guy' special

Less than two weeks after announcing that it would be the sole sponsor of Fox's November 8 "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show," Microsoft has pulled out.

MACFARLANE According to Variety's Mike Schneider, who broke the story, everything was humming along just fine until the folks at Microsoft went to the taping of the special last week and were shocked, shocked to find racy humor and tasteless jokes about deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest.

All this is par for the course for "Family Guy," a show which knows no taboos. Even the assassination of a president is fair game for "Family Guy" (anyone remember the JFK Pez dispenser joke?). "Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show" is a throwback to the old variety specials of TV's past. It features MacFarlane, who is the creator and a voice on the show, and Alex Borstein, who is also a voice on the show. In between skits and bits would be lots of plugs for Windows 7.

We found it a little hard to believe that Microsoft wasn't aware of what it was getting into when it agreed to sponsor the special. So we called to check if that was really possible. We got e-mailed this canned statement in response:

We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of “Family Guy,” but after reviewing an early version of the variety show it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand.  We continue to have a good partnership with FOX, Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein and are working with them in other areas.  We continue to believe in the value of brand integrations and partnerships between brands, media companies and talent.
--Attributed to Microsoft Spokesperson

We followed up with an e-mail question about whether the company really had no idea just how raunchy the content gets on "Family Guy" and got this response:

I am not in the office on 10/26. Try my mobile phone at 425-XXX-XXXX if you need to reach me urgently.

Fear not, "Family Guy" fans. The special is still a go and Fox hopes to line up some new sponsors who actually know what they're getting into with MacFarlane.

What's really scary about all this is we're pretty sure we didn't leave our e-mail with Microsoft when we called seeking comment.

-- Joe Flint


Photo: Seth MacFarlane. Credit: Michael Buckner / Getty Images

 
Comments () | Archives (36)

What idiot wouldn't know the special would be racy? That's the draw to FAMILY GUY.

As for the deaf jokes, Marlee Matlin was at the taping and had no problem with them.

I guess 'being a PC' means not checking to see what you're getting into.

Family Guy is completely un-PC (politically correct), and now in more ways than one XD

Wow...Who can see this being written into an episode of Family Guy before the season is over?

All's I know is when it does happen its gonna be freakin sweet!!

Bill Hicks had much funnier content about JFK a decade before Family Guy.

"it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand"

Well that's certainly true.
The Windows brand stands for mediocrity, delivered incompetently; Family Guy stands for something rather more ambitious.

Reminds me of Casablanca.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to find that raunchy material is being played here!

"We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of “Family Guy,” but after reviewing an early version of the variety show it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand."
"Micro$oft strikes yet again"

So, they chose those two based off of the "audience composition" and "creative humor"? And an early version reviewed making content not fit?
Shouldn't they know what wouldn't be fit? They have a kid doing Microsoft 7 ads, and Family Guy as a special. "What is wrong with them?" I'd ask, but, there are a lot of things wrong.
Audience - Teens and above, thousands and thousands of people.
As for content, it really is hard to believe they didn't know anything. But, it smells like the truth.

I don't hate Microsoft, this is just funny.

"What's really scary about all this is we're pretty sure we didn't leave our e-mail with Microsoft when we called seeking comment."

Right. Because how on earth could anybody find the email address for such a secretive and private organization as the Los Angeles Times?

Its just like Microsoft - Marketing without understanding what they are doing or selling. More lipstick on Vista = Windows 7.

Whose variety show did Microsoft think they were sponsoring? Ed Sullivan? Lawrence Welk? Major Boles?

Maybe they should check with Apple...

I really hope Apple jumps on this opportunity and picks up sponsorship. I'd love to see a few "PC vs Mac" spoofs on FG.

And I bet that Microsoft is also shocked that gambling is going on at Rick's Cafe Americain. What a waste of a beautiful friendship between Family Guy and Microsoft.

Maybe Apple can fill in at the last minute.

Good for Microsoft! I am no prude, I used to watch "Family Guy" until the episode where Stewie beat Brian to a hideous pulp! That's when I realized that the show was not about "pushing the envelope", but a full-frontal assault on common decency passing itself off as "entertainment"!

Mr. Flint's "didn't they know what they were getting themselves into" argument is obnoxious and disingenuous. It will shock - shock! - him to learn that millions of people have never seen "Family Guy", and that their introduction to it was the clip shown during the Emmys -- of Stewie beating Brian! No doubt Mr. MacFarlane was too busy counting his bazillions to realize that he just lost millions of new viewers -- and millions of dollars! The fact that CBS chose to air THAT speaks volumns!

If "The Simpsons" had an episode of Homer beating the holy hell out of Marge or Bart or Lisa or Maggie, I guarantee NO ONE would be laughing, much less, call it "entertainment" -- except for Mr. Flint, The Infamous El Guapo, and, of course, Mr. MacFarlane! That, too, speaks volumns!

Lisa: I suppose all of the references to child abuse in The Simpsons don't count? The running gag where Homer strangles Bart repeatedly? It's "full-frontal assault" when Family Guy does it, but if The Simpsons does it, it's cute?

Translation: Our marketing people realized that the demographic for this show is already aware of Windows 7 and already has formed an opinion about the product and Microsoft. We figure our ad dollars are better directed at older consumers who don't read Boing Boing every day and can still be influenced by running the same 30 second spot fifty gazillion times.

@dan You are correct.

I know what to know, what Jackoff walked into the meeting with Fox and had zero idea what Family Guy was about.

I find Family Guy offensive toward women and have stopped watching it.

I'd say that for once microsoft did the right thing. FAMILY GUY is for morons, whose i.q. continues to drop every time they watch the show. On a side note the simpsons stopped being cute around 1994. I hate Vista, hopefully Windows 7 is an improvement

They could have just downloaded an episode from Youtube. It doesn't take up that many giggity giggabytes. ;-)

Is Microsoft that out of touch with "Family Guy"?? Hey why don't they sponser The Jay Leno Show

It's their money - they can do what they want.

Apple probably has more class that to sponsor crap like the Family Guy too.

"We continue to believe in the value of brand integrations and partnerships between brands, media companies and talent."

...and what they were really trying to say was:

But we felt that if we sponsored this, all the special interests groups which were maligned would sue the buh-Jesus out of us and you know that our boss only gives money to the UN and Africa and well, we're just not prepared to acknowledge deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest. But the Holocaust...no, most of the survivors live in the United States. Never mind.

LOL! Their statement should've read, "oops! We thought he was the guy behind 'The Wiggles!'"

@Dan -- Homer strangling Bart is "child abuse", but Peter and Lois humiliating Meg isn't? No doubt, you found Stewie beating up Brian "cute"! And you just bust a gut every time Peter and Lois have one of their knock-down, drag out fights! Maybe Stewie and Peter (and Lois) should go on "The Simpsons", and show those posers Itchy & Scratchy how to REALLY gross out the audience! Severed limbs and gooey entrails for everybody! Getting all hot and bothered just thinking about it, huh?

 
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