I find myself in the peculiar position of defending “Family Guy”

I’ve never been able to last more than a couple of minutes watching Family Guy.  It is, quite simply, way too crude for my tastes.  It takes vulgar, and puts it into hyperdrive.  I’m also out of sync with its liberal sensibilities, but that goes for 99% of what’s on TV nowadays, so that fact really doesn’t distinguish Family Guy for me.

Given the grotesqueness that so frequently pops up on the show, I wasn’t surprised to hear that it’s now decided to offend Vietnam War vets.  After all, at a certain point, the same old targets get boring.  Still, I was curious as to how the show was going to serve up this latest offense, so I hopped on over to the video, here.  And yes, it is true that the segment is remarkably nasty when it comes to Vietnam Vets.  Remarkably.  But still….

Okay, I’m going to hate myself for saying this, but the attack on Vets lives within the context of a larger attack that actually has some merit.  This attack is against an America that, by elevating Obama to a pedestal of alarming proportions, has debased itself in the process.  And in that context, the nastiness of the attack on the Vets is a reminder that America’s slide downward to its current economic, cultural and security abyss started with the anti-War movement.

Just think about it:  the video starts with the statement that Washington, D.C., is the “seat of government for the world’s former most powerful nation.”  It then moves immediately to a visual of the Washington monument, a symbol of America’s freedoms and unique status, dwarfed by an “Obama monument.”  (And we won’t even get into the phallic symbolism of that large, black obelisk.)  It doesn’t take a dodo to figure out that, whether or not the writers intended it, the characters are saying that the mighty Obama presides over a shrunken nation.  Travel from there to a nasty Vietnamese man taunting American soldiers about the war dead, and ending with “Vietnam!  Undefeated!” and you have a pretty scathing indictment of a downfall that began with America’s own Fifth Column, and ended with an artificially inflated president lording it over a shrunken nation — and, worse, one that he continues to diminish.

Honestly, I don’t know what the Family Guy writers were thinking when they wrote this stuff but sometimes the truth leaks out, no matter the writer’s goals.  Whether these writers were planning on ridiculing conservative fears, lauding Obama, or attacking Veterans on the eve of Memorial Day, they managed to create a short vignette that contains within it some very ugly truths about our past, present and future.

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  • http://lookingforlissa.wordpress.com lookingforlissa

    I agree that the shot at Vietnam Vets was nasty.  I’m irritated because it didn’t have to be.  The part where a Vietnamese man is making a “loser” gesture and then crowing “Undefeated!” — it was clever.  That could have been the joke.  They didn’t have to throw in the “I remember him, I killed him, he cried like a bitch” nastiness.  It proves their interest wasn’t in being funny, but in being cruel.
    Do they have the right to put that in a cartoon?  Of course, and duh.  I’m just irked because they could have stuck with comedy, but chose to be obnoxious instead.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    “I’m just irked because they could have stuck with comedy, but chose to be obnoxious instead.”
    Like little kids, they don’t have to take responsibility because they always have the safety net of mommy and daddy.
    Those like us who have to take care of ourselves, or even other people, while only using our personal resources, wisdom, and mind can’t afford to be irresponsible. We can’t talk smack to the police like Ivy League Gates and get away with it with even more prestige than before. We live in the real world. They live in Saddam’s golden toilet palaces. Eventually somebody bigger and badder, like the US ,is going to come in and bomb the snot out of them, but until then, they keep doing what they are doing.

  • Mike Devx

    Family Guy’s always been guilty of laziness.  For a joke to be funny, you have to be able to get it.  But far too often, you can’t, with Family Guy, because what they’re doing can be taken in too many different ways.  so what exactly IS the joke, when you can’t tell for sure what the joke is?
    Is the Washington/Obama monument thing a joke making fun of the myth of Negro size or sexual superiority?  Or is it a commentary on the greatness of Obama?  There’s no way to tell.
    The Vietnam Memorial scene, as lookingforlissa rightly points out, gets completely confused by the “cried like a bitch” commentary inserted into its middle.  It makes it impossible to figure out exactly what they’re up to.  What is the joke exactly?  Is the joke on the Vietnamese guy, or on the Vets?
    Laziness in comedy ruins its humor.  I did like Family Guy through the first half of its very first season, it was a little more pointed and targetted way way back then.

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