Anyone who has watched the program Family Guy would agree that it is definitely not a “family-friendly” show. However, that is the point of the show’s title: it is supposed to be a satire! Not every family is perfect, and this cartoon is meant to expose this in a humorous and sometimes extreme fashion.
Consider the opening: Lois, the mother of the family is playing on the piano and sings, “It seems today that all you see is violence and movies and sex on TV”. Then her husband Peter chimes in, “But where are all those good old-fashioned values on which we used to rely?” This part of the opening is reminiscent of the opening to All in the Family, where Edith and Archie Bunker are reflecting on the past (“Those were the days”).
Viewers usually have one extreme opinion or the other: you either love the show for its craziness, or you hate it for its offenses and immaturity. However, some who hate the show seem to have a great problem with it and want it off the air. This happened in 2000, and Fox was forced to bring it back in 2005, due to the fact that reruns on Cartoon Network proved to be so popular.
So if you didn’t do your homework and the title “tricked” you into thinking Family Guy is great for the kids to watch, consider the ratings: each episode is at least TV-PG, the majority being TV-14. This should be your first clue that the show isn’t meant for young children.
With that being said, is the show appropriate for older children? As a parent, this would be up to you. Personally, I was an older teen when the show debuted and absolutely loved it. It is silly but can be clever at moments. I have to say, that I turned out pretty good, even if people think that TV shows are to blame for corruption in our society. Although, the first three seasons were the best before the show was cancelled and then returned in 2005. I have to even agree that some newer episodes are a little too raunchy and immature for my tastes.
The show brings up interesting issues in both family life and society, sometimes touching upon topics that we might be uncomfortable discussing amongst each other, such as: sex, religion, the existence of racism, drugs, alcoholism, abuse, sexism, death, and many more. As controversial as some of the scenes may seem, it is all done in satirical fun. It is important to keep an open mind. I think Seth Macfarlane, the show’s creator and main voice, gets a kick out of how many people take the show to heart. After all, it is still just a cartoon, just aimed at an older audience!
Some people are distraught with newer cartoons and are wondering what happened to the good old days of Looney Tunes. However, cartoons were originally for adults anyway. During the depression, Warner Brothers launched Looney Tunes as a way to cheer up those who were suffering in this country. Besides, if you watch them now, there is violence and racism in some episodes; everyone just looks so cute so we miss it.
Before you spend family night watching Family Guy, consider whether you, as a parent, believe it to be appropriate. If you haven’t seen the show, look up some clips on You Tube or on the TBS website. This will give you a taste (whether good or nauseating) of what the show is about. Don’t be too upset with the “misleading” title; relax; it is all supposed to be a joke!