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'Family Guy': Superfriends

Cleveland_DaDoggone_0050F I’m still getting used to the idea of having new episodes of “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show,” and “American Dad” each week. Seems like it’s been so long. Though now it kind of feels like watching a Seth MacFarlane movie once a week. I’m not sure if it’s going to get tiring after a while, but for now, I’m fully enjoying it.

This week, Cleveland works to win over his new stepchildren in a perfect metaphor for “The Cleveland Show” trying to win over the 8:30 p.m. Fox time slot, which is much like the stepchild of the Sunday bloc. Of course, Cleveland only had to deal with killing the family dog, whereas “The Cleveland Show” killed “King of the Hill.

“The Cleveland Show” still feels a little like an extended “Family Guy” B story. It still needs to find its own voice. Though, “American Dad” was still making cut-away jokes in the first couple of episodes, and it seems to have found what makes it unique. I will say that “The Cleveland Show” did have some link-worth references. There was Cleveland’s version of Halle Berry’s Oscar acceptance speech, some ghost-riding the whip, and the ad for Men’s Warehouse. All funny. I guarantee it.

FGuy_FamilyGoy_sc335_0044F “Family Guy” took another look at Judaism this week. The first try didn’t do so well. Back in 2000, producers came up with the episode “When you Wish Upon a Weinstein” in which Peter falls in love with the Jewish faith and tries to get Chris a quickie Vegas bar mitzvah. That episode got shelved for fears that it might be seen as anti-Semitic, but it got leaked on the Internet back before everything got leaked on the Internet and finally aired on Cartoon Network in 2003 --and eventually made it into the syndication rotation.

Peter manages to take his feelings about Judaism to two extremes. First, he embraces it to a fault, going so far as to buy a Star of David necklace and the chest hair that comes included. Then, after a dream of his dead Catholic father, Peter decides to ban anything Jewish from his home for fear of going to hell. Luckily, Jesus shows up to say that he’s Jewish and that Judaism and Catholicism are not that different. When Peter asks what religion they should be, Jesus tells him that they are all complete crap, earning a “thank you” from Brain (appropriately the closest voice to Seth MacFarlane’s own).

AmDad_MoonOverIslaIsland_Sc397-0053F Finally, “American Dad” goofs its way through the plot of “Moon Over Parador.” In the Richard Dreyfuss original, an out-of-work actor finds himself impersonating the dictator of a banana republic. Here, Roger impersonates the dictator of a country he renames Bananarama. “American Dad” is coming out strong with its film parodies. Last week’s re-envisioning of Vietnam War movies and “First Blood” was pretty spectacular too. But the all-time best still has to be the send-up of Bond movies, “Tearjerker.”

At the same time, Steve and Snot had an escalating competition over who could get the most sexual accidental touching from the other’s mom. Unfortunately for both of them, it ended with the line “I can feel your heartbeat.” Too bad Chad isn’t around anymore. Everyone can use a little help from Chad now and then. Remember Chad forever!

Obscurest reference – While searching for Meadowlark Lemon behind the chicken gizzard factory, Cleveland says it smells like Chloe Sevigny. Rallo asks who that is, and Cleveland says she’s just a “gross indie porno actress.” This being a reference to 2004’s “The Brown Bunny,” a film that garnered some controversy at the Cannes Film Festival for its unsimulated sex acts. It managed to get her dropped by the William Morris Agency, but it didn’t keep her from “Big Love” two years later.

Most possibly offensive joke of the night – Nominees are “The Cleveland Show” with Kurt Cobain taking the easy way out (with a nice cameo from Seth Green), Peter suggesting that breast cancer might be looking good after Lois found out her mother was Jewish, and “American Dad”… come on “American Dad.” You’re really going to have to bring it next week if you want to compete.

Through lines – I almost wonder if the shows were trying to reference each other. Most notably “choking on a corn dog.” During “The Cleveland Show,” high schoolers used it as an insult against Cleveland Jr. after they saw him kiss his dad. Then in “American Dad,” Gen. Pequeno actually choked to death on a corn dog. How can that be a coincidence? It’s so specific. Any one else notice through lines between the three shows?

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo credit: Fox Television

Comments () | Archives (9)

This Family Guy episode was the most offensive Anti-Semitic thing created in the last 40 years. Amon Goeth??? Are you seriously telling me that MacFarlane thinks it is funny to show Peter re-enacting the scene from Shindler's List where this Nazi butcher shoots and kills Jews from his balcony as if they were not even human? Then the "Jew" jokes one after another after another...Jews are money grubbing, jews are short and hairy, Jews killed Christ. Then he likens a Jewish prayer to the Indiana Jones scene where the crazy guy pulls out people's hearts, then he has a mock crucifixion and finally he has Jesus show up and prove he is Jewish by calculating a small tip. I mean WOW!!!! Last week they made fun of Walt Disney for being anti-semitic (which is just a rumor), and here we have one of the most anti-semitic shows I have ever seen in my life....It is too bad beacuse last week the season looked really promising...Now it seems that Seth MacFarlane has lost his mind.

The antisemitism in this episode was shocking. I couldn't believe what I was watching.

Unfortunately for a lot of people who see this episode (or all the other jokes about Jews made in Family Guy) as offensively Anti-Semitic, they fail to realize that the jokes are all tongue-in-cheek....or how else should I say it...when Sarah Silverman or Adam Sandler or Judd Apatow makes a joke about Jews, no one gets offended, as if an Anti-Semitic joke is no longer Anti-Semitic if a Jewish person tells it. Do you really think Alex Borstein (the voice of Lois, one of the head producers and head writers of the show) would stand by while someone made an honest attack on Jews? No, of course not. And if you're still offended, did you NOT see the end of the episode, where Jesus shows up and reminds everyone HE'S Jewish? Peter's an oaf, an idiot. Pretty much everything he does is meant to be an example of what NOT to do, to think that someone would try to promote an Anti-Semitic agenda through his actions is painfully laughable.

Appalling anti-Semitic tripe. And not in the least funny. Family Guy deserves to get canceled, and deserves the scorn of right-thinking people everywhere.

I love how everyone here is so incensed, yet where were all of you when Family Guy made fun of Catholics, or Muslims, or literally every other religion?

The thing you need to pay attention to is not whether or not they're taking shots at a particular religion, or group, but which character is taking shots at them. Characters like Peter and Mr. Pewterschmidt are designed to be profoundly ignorant and thus cling to racist ideas. Characters like Brian and Lois are usually inherently reasonable, but they too are far from perfect and sometimes submit to stereotypes, which is indicative of their imperfections and thus humanity.

Also, I find it kind of ironic that such uproar should result from a parody of a MOVIE about Amon Goeth. Not that the logical progression isn't obvious, but it is flawed. This episode could have depicted a shot for shot reenactment of something that Amon Goeth actually did, and no one would be any the wiser because we're aware only of the movie representation of the man. Thus, the scene is more of a reference to an iconic scene in a movie than a reference to a profoundly evil man.

Come on the Jews, all these people want to deny the Holocaust, and the best defense against them is logic. Don't let that logic serve you sometimes and desert you other times.

Nick, it's Family Guy. The least subtle or deep show ever. I'm pretty sure the intentions aren't lost on anybody. But, I don't really give a crap about intentions when you spend half an hour trotting out every stereotype about Jewish people there is.

I'm curious, what about the part where all the little Jewish kids can't kick a soccer ball? How does that show the folly of man? Where's the stupid character to let us know they mean the opposite of what they're saying? Nowhere to be found. It's just a Jew joke, made so you'll sit back and laugh, thinking "man, I'm so cool and un-PC that I can laugh at this and not be a bigot". But it's still just a tired stereotype with nothing added and no layer of satire behind it.

The intent was to offend, and I think they succeeded on that point. That's the intent every week, with a new target every time.

Family Guy is to TV, what Eminem is to music.

Both are not afraid to say anything, and both get off making fun of anything and everything. Which I find hilarious.

Eitherway, family guy sucks.


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