Family Guy abortion episode terrifies Fox

Fox is “scared to death” of a Family Guy episode about abortion and has cancelled it (only the second time this has happened for the show). It won’t air on television, but it will probably still appear on DVD later on. While Family Guy can be very hilarious, it can also be very offensive (I find it very hit-and-miss).

What’s most interesting, though, is the pro-abortion takes on the censorship.

The always thoughtful Samhita from Feministing writes:

I guess no one is seeing the real humor in that unless you are avidly pro-life and anti-women’s right to chose, abortion is not really a fringe topic that is so edgy it must be banned from TV. Again not shocking, but maybe they should try something easier like period jokes, until they can get with the really big scary stuff.

But, on Jezebel:

Surely the episode will fit right into the other hilarious takes on women that Family Guy is so fond of, like, say, rape jokes, or shooting prostitutes as a form of “community service,” or punching them in the face as they cry, “I don’t understand! What did I do wrong?” You know, really hilarious stuff.

Yet Amanda Marcotte says, “it’s the most common outpatient procedure in the country, and yet we write it off as fringe,” and Sarah Seltzer echoes the worry about abortion being “taboo”:

Yes, the proliferation of rape jokes can do damage by trivializing a horrible and all too accepted crime. But conversely the lack of abortion jokes creates this hyped-up atmosphere of tragedy and controversy around something that is quite common and needs to be discussed more. Even if Seth McFarlane and the Family Guy team failed miserably to be funny or edgy in their attempts to milk humor from abortion, even if they were crass and sexist, I’d hope the episode would be an opening salvo for more comics, artists and others to talk about this reality in women’s lives that, like all realities, has to contain fodder for humor.

Um, personally, I’m not too concerned that we aren’t comfortable with joking about this (graphic image).

Jill Stanek on why abortion doesn’t have to “contain fodder for humour”:

No it doesn’t. The interesting phenomenon is that the longer legalized abortion is with us, the more unfunny and tabooed it becomes. This indicates an increasing unease by everyone – even liberal Hollywood – with abortion. Ultrasounds show abortion kills children. Post-abortion mothers say abortion leaves deep scars. And how many silent post-abortive fathers – including writers, producers, and directors – know that to be true as well.

Not many cultural experiences grow touchier as time goes on. Usually there is the opposite effect.

If we’re going to be critical of rape jokes (and rape is not funny), why should we try to “find the humour” in dismembered foetuses?

Then and again, the details of the episode are largely unknown. Based on what Family Guy I’ve seen, the episode is probably extremely offensive in all directions. Seth MacFarlane doesn’t tend to let anyone off the hook.

Still, I have a hard time imagining the sort of humour that some of these pro-choicers are hoping for…

1 Comment on “Family Guy abortion episode terrifies Fox

  1. family guy is the best thing to come out of the US in a long time, by far the best tv show!

    i understand why some people can get offended by it but, they just need to lighten up!

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