The angst-ridden, tortured teen
character is a staple of popular culture. Unfortunately Meg Griffin, the
ridiculed daughter in Family Guy (Sundays, 9:00 p.m. ET) is often
literally tortured. She’s been punched, kicked, farted upon, and shot so
many times that her abuse has become a running joke on the show. In fact, in
the PTC’s study Women in Peril, Meg-based assaults accounted for some of
the rise in violence toward teenage girls. On the January 31st
episode of Family Guy, Meg tasted some sweet retribution, and the victim
became the aggressor. And while some viewers may have been cheering her on, the
disturbing, excessive violence that was depicted has earned the show the title
of Worst TV Show of the Week.
Towards the beginning of the
show, Meg’s father Peter trains for the rodeo he plans to enter by practicing
calf-roping on Meg. While she’s lying on her bed, Peter – mounted on a horse –
throws a lariat around her ankles; he drags her violently down the stairs and
into the front lawn where he rips her pants off, takes a red-hot iron from off
of the coals, and is about to brand her when he discovers that she’s already
been branded by Adam West, who drags her away by the ankles on his own steer.
During the rodeo, Peter’s
bull-riding event takes an unsettling turn when the bull bucks Peter to the
ground and sneers, “You know what I am back at the ranch? I'm a breeding bull.”
“What's that?” Peter asks.
“You gonna find out,” the bull
says as Peter starts to crawl away. “Where you going, fatty? We're gonna have
Peter tries to fight off the
bull, but the bull rips Peter’s pants off and holds him down.
Later, Peter is shown shivering
in a fetal position while the bull stands over him. Perhaps the scene was
supposed to be funny for the sheer ridiculousness of it; but the way Peter
desperately fought back and his broken demeanor after the implied rape was
nothing less than sickening.
Peter continues to suffer abuse
throughout the episode when Meg returns home after a three-month stint in
prison. Meg – sporting tribal sleeve tattoos – storms through the front door
and proclaims, “I’m home. You’re all my bitches now.” She proceeds to ask,
“First question: who’s the biggest, toughest guy in this house?” Peter raises
his hand; Meg throws a lamp at his head and viciously beats him up. She drags
him to the staircase and breaks his teeth over the first step. “My house now,
bitch” she snorts.
In the next scene, Meg enters
the shower while Peter is in it. Meg's breasts are obscured by a loofah.
PETER: “Meg, what the hell are
you doing here?”
MEG: “Shower time.”
PETER: “Yeah, for me, not for
--- what are you doing with that loofah?”
MEG: “Don't worry about it.”
Peter screams in pain.
PETER: “Ah! You told me not
to worry about it. I should have been worried about it the whole time!”
Once Meg returns to school, the
popular kids taunt her while she stuffs soda cans into a pillowcase. The
Alpha-Blonde asks, “Hey, Meg, are you gonna take those soda cans to the Shaw-Skank
Redemption Center?” Meg swings the bag over her head and knocks the blonde
unconscious. She proceeds to mercilessly bash the other kids’ heads. She lifts
the blonde’s head and sticks her tongue down her throat before she strides out
of the cafeteria.
Meg undoubtedly will continue
to be battered, abused, and beaten as Family Guy rolls on. It’s sad that
on the rare occasion she feels empowered, the level of violence still remains
high. Even when Meg isn’t the victim, the show still rightly deserves the
onerous distinction of Worst TV Show of the Week.
Parents Television Council,
Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The
nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting
children against sex, violence and profanity in
entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval,
and Family Guide to Prime Time Television
are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.