November 08, 2010

Halloween joke in Family Guy

In Sunday's episode of Family Guy, titled Halloween on Spooner Street (airdate: 11/7/10), son Chris dresses up in mod clothing and blackface to go trick-or-treating as Bill Cosby. His mother Lois chastises him:LOIS:  Chris, you can't just walk around in blackface. It's racist. Now go upstairs and put on that Indian chief costume I bought you.Sounds like creator Seth McFarlane has been reading Newspaper Rock!

McFarlane has rightly equated blackface with redface--i.e., dressing up as a phony Indian. Even as a "joke," this makes a valuable point seldom seen in the mainstream media. Almost no one gets that one practice should be as socially unacceptable as the other.

Of course, the joke was subtle enough that viewers still may not get it. And I'm not sure McFarlane believes believes both practices are wrong. He might claim he was satirizing political correctness and thinks both practices are okay.

After all McFarlane has given us The Cleveland Show with a white guy voicing a buffoonish black character. And Mort the Jewish pharmacist is about the only ethnic character on Family Guy. Otherwise it's pretty much a bastion of whiteness.

Proving McFarlane's insensitivity, he has Quagmire claim he's part Japanese in this episode. This provides an excuse for several racist "jokes" about Asians. And in the latest degradation of daughter Meg, he has Chris and Meg commit incest by kissing and groping each other in a closet.

For more on the subject, see Nanookwaffe in Family Guy and Rapacious Cavalryman in Family Guy.


Wild One said...

I lost interest in this show after they had Brian (the dog) eating the poop out of Stewie's diaper while they were trapped in a bank vault. Disgusting and not funny.

Burt said...

Family Guy is known for its shock value comedy and it has too many episodes to name pushing racist ideals and acts that can be seen as offensive and going too far.

I live in a household that owns some of this shows DVDs and can only brush this show off as too ridiculous to start a serious thought process.

South Park has an episode dealing with Indian Casinos that I thought was clever and offensive by equating tribal economics to that of WalMart, how does the worlds largest retailer compare to tribes that face more regulation and scrutiny than a 24 hour supercenter that sells Christmas lights and prune juice?

Or another SP episode about mascots that has PETA as terrorists over the use of animal mascots has the school enlisting students to choose a "Indian" or "warrior" (I think) rather than an animal. As one student asks, "but those are real people, isn't that being racists?"

"PETA doesn't care about people, they just care about animals!" is the teachers response.

Anonymous said...

I think it was blatantly obvious, but whatever. Another example was South Park's joke about Indian mascots. "PETA won't protest the Redskins because PETA doesn't care about people." (Let me introduce you to Funny Aneurysm Moment: A year later, "George Bush doesn't care about black people.")