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Sarah Palin vs. 'Family Guy': Seth MacFarlane responds (sort of)

It was the half-sentence of dialogue heard 'round the world.

If you missed "Family Guy" on Sunday, chances are you still know what we are talking about because Sarah Palin has made it hard to miss. The episode featured the dim-witted Chris going on a date with a young woman with Down syndrome, who refers to herself as the daughter of "the former governor of Alaska." Palin's son, Trig, has Down syndrome.

Palin took to her Facebook page to protest "Fox Hollywood," her term of endearment for the broadcast network — not to be mistaken with cable network Fox News, where she currently works as a paid commentator.

"People are asking me to comment on yesterday’s Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut," she wrote.  "Bristol was one who asked what I thought of the show that mocked her baby brother, Trig (and/or others with special needs), in an episode yesterday. Instead of answering, I asked her what she thought. Here is her conscientious reply, which is a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make about an issue that begs the question, 'When is enough, enough?'"

She then pasted her daughter's reply:

“When you’re the son or daughter of a public figure, you have to develop thick skin. My siblings and I all have that, but insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent. People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you’ll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? As a culture, shouldn’t we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn’t we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks."

The Times asked "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane for an interview regarding the matter. But he opted to send a statement via his publicist: "From its inception, 'Family Guy' has used biting satire as the foundation of its humor.  The show is an "equal-opportunity offender."

Perhaps he was concerned his reply would be longer than the scene in question.

— Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

Video:  Musical number in the "Family Guy" episode in question. Credit. Hulu.

Comments () | Archives (60)

Dear Ms. Palin,

As a mother of child who was born with DS, it really bothers me that everytime Sarah Palin steps out into the spotlight, she focuses on our kids as "less fortunate" or something as ridiculous as that. People are not making fun of our kids, they are making fun of her own ignorance about their potential. So the next time you see her hurling some of that political mud, please ask her to take her kids out of the arena before they get really hurt. What kind of mother would do that to her own child?

FOX News = FOX Hollywood! Just do the math Palin!

As an avid fan of the Family Guy, and no fan of Sarah Palin... I was a little disappointed that the Family Guy "went there". I absolutely understand that boundaries can be pushed, and that is what makes shows like the Family Guy funny. I honestly felt a little bad for Mrs Palin, even though I sincerely believe she is an idiot (or at least shouldn't be idolized by much of the country). For some reason I was more bothered by the Family Guy episode than i ever was watching South Park's Timmy and Jimmy characters. To be honest, the episode wasn't even that good. I'm a bigger fan of Stewie, Brian and Peter episodes anyway. They should stick with what works.

Obviously, Sarah Palin and her family didn't watch the program. The show made the young, Down's Syndrome lady that Chris Griffin was in love with a confident and strong. Her line that if Chris "wanted to enter this temple (pointing to her body), he had to pay tribute" was friggin' hilarious.

Bristol Palin should know that Family Guy is far from a "pathetic cartoon show." Seth said it perfectly. His show is an equal opportunity offender. If you're famous (or infamous) or news/note-worthy, you're fair target for this show.

Sarah needs to lay off the hypocrite juice. She pitches a fit about something Rahm Emmanuel said in private months ago, gives El Rushbo a pass for saying basically the same thing because it was "satire" and now pitches another fit when a show that is 100% satire does the same thing. What a joke she is.

But Palin said on tv it's ok to use "retard" in satire...so she's still angry with Rahm, but should be laughing at Family Guy.

hmmm...so as long as you keep the scene short you can attack all the special needs groups you want? nice...

At the end of the day it comes down to the material presented. In this case the character in question, i.e the girl with down syndrome, came off as a complete bitch. Being narcissistic, demanding and all around unappreciative to the labors of the character of Chris. As far as the Palin tie in is concerned, that comes off more as a quick knee jerk joke to eat up a couple seconds of time and has a bit of satirical charm.

Seth MacFarlane is a typical child-man who gets off on cruelty as does his low IQ audience. There are millions of young guys like MacFarlane (with just as much "talent") and this latest thing is nothing more than the millionth retread of who and what they are.

I'm actually more offended that the episode wasn't funny.

i dont see why she finds herself so offended. Being in the spotlight requires strong will to take criticism and jokes such as this . She still sees herself as president for 2012 . She gets too carried on by her emotions.

People, get a sense of humor for Christmas!
You're killing the world with your seriousness and PC!

Used to be a fan of Family Guy. No more. 'Nuf said.

It is unquestionably heartbreaking when society not only finds it appropriate to assault the disability of another human being, but when it is reckoned as acceptable.
Stooping this low indicates that America is not only failing with education, but indicates why America will continue to lead in global job loss – it is simply due to our arrogance, ignorance and stupidity. Our loss of ethics and morals will surely lead to the demise to a once great nation.
It is this complete unawareness of others that has lead to the political environment we live in. Politically correct to appease a few or so they say.
America needs to wake up – this lack of civility will only accelerate the waning power of the United States of America. We turn our backs on our elders, our homeless, and our hungry, and now it is appropriate to assault those individuals that are different. It is truly becoming a sick society.
Consider how you would feel if this were your sibling, your child, or even parent. To say that a human being brought this upon themselves, to have their child belittled like this is sickness beyond comprehension.
Time to move to a current third world nation to join the ranks of human beings that hold respect for other human beings. An animal in the wild would not stoop this low. Thank you Seth for showing me how low we can go as a race and a culture. It has truly awakened me to the illness in our society.

Seth MacFarlane knew exactly what he was doing. He planted an obvious taunt against Sarah Palin in an otherwise nondescript episode of Family Guy. All too predictably, she rose to the bait. She could have said, something like, “Although I did not see the episode, I welcome anything in the media that brings attention to, and promotes discussion of, Down Syndrome.” She didn’t. I’m sorry, but Sarah is a moron.

Face it, this is a shameless attempt at satire against Palin's child. If you want to satire her, that's one thing, but leave her children (special needs or not) out of it.

Disgusting liberal trash. If Macfarland did this to me, I'd get violent with him.

When will the attacks stop? Our country will never come together if we continue to attack Down's Syndrome people, Sarah Palin, Democrats, Republicans, Rahm Emmanuel, the past 8 years, Congress... I'm tired of it!! We are all in this together! WE ARE AMERICANS! What happen to the hope and change?

The one thing that all of us know about children with Down's Syndrome is that they are especially caring, compassionate and loving. That makes me think the one I should feel sorry for here is Seth MacFarlane- as he is not as "advanced" or "evolved" as Sarah Palin's children! The laugh is on HIM!
I was especially infuriated that the song called her a "whore". Did you catch that?! It's no wonder the ratings for these channels are so low. I am all for laughing at ourselves....but this was out of the realm of "comedy". It was not funny, it was merely pure ugliness.

For the idiots who can't distinguish the difference between someone who works for the Office of the President of the United States "Rahm Emmanuel " and some shock jock "Rush" should consider getting an education on real world events.

To Chris Macfarlane:

"An equal opportunity offender" is a pathetic excuse for an explanation. What a coward. That show was just down right mean. Now I know why I don't watch it - and never will. As a teacher of special needs students - they have more class (and love) in their little fingers than you will ever have.

I agree with "Mark": If you want to satire her, that's one thing, but leave her children (special needs or not) out of it. Disgusting liberal trash."

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