Don Rickles dodged being “canceled” in his golden years. Pop culture “grandfathered” in the insult comic’s shtick before his 2017 death at 90, something today’s take-no-prisoners woke mob might not allow.
Is something similar happening to Seth MacFarlane? The multi-talented creator of FOX’s “Family Guy” tells jokes on that show that would get other comics busted, if not officially “canceled.”
Yes, “Family Guy” vowed to retire telling “gay jokes” last year before a quick backpedal, but the program still traffics in yuks now deemed unacceptable.
One recent episode ranked actress Carey Mulligan’s looks as a “5” out of “10.” She’s the star of the new film “Promising Young Woman,” an uber-feminist screed against the patriarchy.
Who risks inviting the PC mob to bang on their door like that? “Family Guy,” that’s who.
Here’s a necessarily incomplete list of other “Family Guy” bits, some dating back more than a decade, that could spark a sudden “cancellation.”
Brian the dog develops a crush on Meg’s teen gal-pal, noting her ample curves in the process. Bestiality AND age-inappropriate attraction, all in a single episode.
“Peter Griffin: Husband, Father… Brother?”
The story finds the Griffins discovering their black roots, a theme that feeds several absurdist detours. Peter hears son Chris talking “street,” and then tries to exorcise the demons out of him.
Later, Peter demands reparations for his family’s historic struggles.
The episode ends with Peter’s sexually obsessed friend, Quagmire, finding a beautiful cheerleader bound, gagged and vulnerable to his appetites.
“Dear Diary: Jackpot!” he writes of the discovery.
“Tiegs For Two”
Peter recalls meeting “Back to the Future” star Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, at a wine-tasting event. That explains the red stain on Peter’s shirt, caused by the actor’s chronic hand tremors. Peter breaks character to acknowledge the joke’s poor taste, but it doesn’t stop “Family Guy” from sharing it.
“No Meals on Wheels”
This blisteringly anti-PC episode, from season 5, features Peter trying to repel Mort, who is Jewish, with a “Scare-Jew” built from an Adolf Hitler dummy.
Later, Peter starts his own restaurant and bans customers with wheelchairs, including his buddy Joe, on aesthetic grounds.
The restaurant’s “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Legs, No Service” policy leads to a farcical battle sequence. Peter breaks a leg in the melee and must use a wheelchair while the injury heals. That gives him a new perspective on how disabled people live their lives.
“When You Wish Upon a Weinstein”
No, not that Weinstein. This button-stomping episode traffics in the hoariest Jewish stereotypes possible. Consider Peter’s big number, “I Need a Jew,” with lines like:
“Lois makes me take the wrap ‘cause our check book looks like crap. And since I can’t give her a slap, I need a Jew.”
“Where to find a Steen or Stein to teach me how to whine and do my taxes on time.”
Team FOX worried the episode had gone too far, but MacFarlane reportedly battled behind the scenes to get it on the air. He won.
“The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire”
MacFarlane once again tempted fate, and angry protests, with a song dubbed “You Have AIDS” sung in barbershop quartet style.
Peter: I hate to tell you, boy, that you have AIDS
Group: You’ve got the AIDS
Peter: You may have caught it when you stuck that filthy needle in here
Group: Or maybe all that unprotected sex put you here
“Baby Got Black”
A typical sitcom might exploit a white character’s racism. Here, it’s a black character, Jerome, who harbors racist feelings toward a white character — clueless Chris Griffin.
Chris wants to date Jerome’s daughter, Pam, but the father steadfastly refuses. Peter breaks into a song about white people’s accomplishments to coax Jerome to change his mind.
It doesn’t work.
In between, Peter congratulates Pam for not being overweight and Jerome gets hassled by the police for, well, being black.
It’s a hodgepodge of racial humor and progressive messaging, all in under 25 minutes.
Herbert the Pervert
Everything this character says, or does, is wildly inappropriate. He’s an unabashed pedophile who lusts after under-18 characters on the show, like Chris. Enough said.
This list only scratches the long-running show’s irreverent surface. The sitcom also mocks famous people in ways that would never fly in a conventional series. Consider how the show repeatedly fat shames veteran actor John Goodman, one of the less toxic examples.
So how does MacFarlane get away with it? To find the answers, it helps to understand “cancel culture.”
The current woke rules change on the fly, and that’s by design. The mob comes for people at select times and for select purposes.
When Jimmy Fallon’s old blackface impression of Chris Rock “surfaced,” he had to make a full-bodied apology. Meanwhile, fellow late-night host, and serial blackface artist, Jimmy Kimmel, [mostly] got a pass.
Fallon is the least political late-night host on broadcast TV, and the woke mob couldn’t stand for that. So by forcing his apology it convinced him to sound more like, well, Kimmel. Mission accomplished.
It also helps “Family Guy” that outrage is part of its comic DNA from day one. Shows like “South Park” and “Tosh.0” similarly get a pass for being consistently rude and crude. The FOX show’s kiddie-level animation softens the satirical blows.
Most importantly, MacFarlane constantly signals the mob that he’s on its side. “Family Guy” routinely attacks Christianity, the GOP and, most of all, President Donald Trump.
One “Family Guy” installment, “Trump’s Guy,” found the President grabbing teen daughter Meg by the you-know-what, among other gross behaviors. That gives MacFarlane enough wiggle room to tell jokes no longer allowed by the PC Police.
“Family Guy” is offensive to its core. That’s its mission statement. Once upon a time, viewers could recognize that and either tune in or tune out.
Self determination is in short supply these days, one of many reasons we rarely see comedy blockbusters at the cineplex (or home streaming).
Love or hate “Family Guy,” the show refuses to follow the new comedy bylaws.
That doesn’t mean MacFarlane is off the hook. Author J.K. Rowling was part of the progressive protected class before she disagreed with part of the transgender community playbook. Cancel culture attacked her with a vengeance, including a shocking assault from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in The Hollywood Reporter.
Should MacFarlane ever say something kind about President Trump, the GOP or a conservative icon, the woke mob might “resurface” past “Family Guy” episodes.
At that point MacFarlane’s luck may finally run out.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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