Brought to you by the Parents Television
Fox’s Foul Family Hour
Every night, ten
million children on average watch television during the first hour of prime time
(8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 7:00-8:00 p.m. Central and Mountain time).
None of the broadcast networks consistently respect this Family Hour; but few
display the brazen disregard for young viewers shown this past week by Fox.
On the November 5th two-hour episode of the network’s horrendously brutal drama
Prison Break, Fox treated children in the viewing audience to gory
violence and disturbing themes and imagery. For starters, the abusive Bellick
demands of a fellow prisoner:
Bellick: "I gave you food yesterday. I gave you a place to sleep. You wonder
why? What the hell's your problem?"
prisoner: "Look, I just don't want to have sex with you, OK? Is that so hard to
But exposing young viewers to the nuances of prison intimacy was only the
beginning. The episode went on to show the luckless prisoner’s bloodied,
lifeless corpse being carried about by other prisoners, blood graphically
dripping down his chest. And later in the episode, crime boss Lechero (who runs
the prison) brutally murders yet another inmate. Thrown to the floor by Lechero,
the inmate lands on his hands and knees. Lechero grabs the man by the hair and
yanks his head back, then savagely cuts his throat, causing blood to spurt out.
To send a message to the other prisoners, Lechero has the dead man’s corpse
strung up by the wrists for all to see in the prison’s courtyard. Blood gorily
drips from the dead man’s hand and slashed throat.
Disgusting and graphic as this violence is, the episode contained another scene
perhaps even more frightening to children. Lead character Lincoln’s son LJ has
been kidnapped and held prisoner by the mysterious Susan, in order to compel
Lincoln’s cooperation. Enraged that Lincoln has not obeyed her, Susan plans to
murder LJ. Before LJ’s eyes, Susan spreads a plastic tarp around his chair,
planning for it to catch his blood. Susan then pulls out a large knife, bottled
chemicals and some duct tape, and says menacingly:
Susan: "Once I cut the spinal cord and sever the nerve endings, you won't feel
A terrified LJ begs, "No! Please, NO!” but Susan nevertheless prepares to kill
the boy, placing her knife to his throat. LJ’s murder is prevented only because
Lincoln happens to phone Susan at that exact moment.
That children watching TV at 8:00 p.m. should be exposed to bloody, murderous
violence is bad enough; but how many went to bed with visions of a boy near
their own age being threatened with murder still in their heads? How many
nightmares did children have as a result? And how many are learning from
television every single day that the world is a dark, terrifying place where
adults are waiting to torture and kill them?
The violence on
Prison Break is terrifying, brutal and realistic, and has no place in the
Family Hour, yet at least that program is honest about what it is: a darkly
intense drama intended for adults. What then can be said about an even more
depraved program which, because its graphic violence and gratuitous sex are
animated instead of live-action, pretends to be light-hearted, fun-filled family
Yet this is
precisely what was shown Family Hour viewers on the night of Sunday, November 4th.
Fox usually has the good sense to confine the fetid Family Guy to the
post-9:00 p.m. hour, but this week the network made an exception. To the joy of
its fans (and the horror of parents), Fox “celebrated” the 100th
episode of Family Guy by airing a special version of the program at 8:30
p.m. ET. This half-hour retrospective, compiling creator Seth MacFarlane’s
favorite moments, highlighted the properties which have made the program a monument to depravity.
In the course of
the half-hour special, Fox treated America’s children to all manner of violence,
kinky sex and other revolting behavior. The following is just a sample of what
pre-teens saw displayed in Fox’s version of the Family Hour:
Peter hits his
daughter Meg with a baseball bat.
Lois is shown
sitting in a car smoking a cigarette, then putting it out on her wrist.
Lois: "Oh my God, that was such a rush! Yeah! I'm alive!"
Peter rocks Baby
Stewie to sleep. He undoes his shirt and Stewie
nurses at his father’s breast. He is almost asleep. Stewie wakes up and realizes
something is not right. He pulls a hair out of his mouth and realizes he is
sucking his father's nipple. Stewie gags.
Peter and Lois are shown wearing bondage gear as they prepare to
Stewie punches the bloodied dog Brian repeatedly.
Peter vomits on the floor. Brian then vomits. Chris vomits.
Stewie continues to vomit. Stewie and Peter vomit some more. Chris and Brian
continue to vomit. Brian throws up again. Stewie also upchucks again. Peter
throws up on Brian. All of them lie covered in vomit. They had all decided to
drink ipecac to see who could go longest without vomiting.
Interviewer: "So Peter, where do you see yourself in five years?"
Peter: (to himself): "Don't say 'doing your wife'. Don't say 'doing your
wife.'” (to the interviewer): “Doing your son."
The program proudly tops off this parade of perversity with a rapid montage so
crude that it would cause the attendees of a drunken fraternity party to cringe
in embarrassment. The sequence shows Stewie, Peter and Brian wearing lingerie;
Stewie riding on Brian and hitting him with a paddle, both wearing bondage
gear; Brian and Stewie wearing safety masks and lighting Peter's flatulence on
fire as he stands on a stool with his pants around his ankles; Peter naked at a
dinner table with a blow-up sex doll; Justin Timberlake pulling part of Peter's
costume off to reveal a nipple and a nipple ring, à la Janet Jackson; Peter
sucking a popsicle suggestively; Peter, Brian and Stewie having a pillow fight
while wearing women’s nightgowns; and the sequence goes on and on and on in a
The episode concluded with Seth MacFarlane himself gloating, "We hope you've
enjoyed this look back at the first one hundred episodes of Family Guy.
Here's to the next 100. And hopefully we won't get cancelled for two and a half
[bleeped f*******] years in the middle again.”
If only America
could be so lucky. By placing his pubescent pablum in an animated program, Seth
MacFarlane is cynically luring children into his twisted universe of crude
humor, violence, kinky sex and disgusting behavior. And by airing Family Guy
during the Family Hour, Fox exposed millions of children to MacFarlane’s warped
TV Trends: This column was
compiled from reports by the Parents Television Council’s Analysis staff: Aubree
Bowling, Caroline Schulenburg, Josh Shirlen, Keith White,
and Adam Shuler, under the direction of Dr. John Rattliff.