Since its inception, Fox has pushed the boundaries of good taste – over the
years, delivering some of the most offensive content on television. On Sunday
April 22nd at 8:00 p.m. ET, the network patted itself on the back for
a quarter century of making television less safe for families. The gloating,
self-congratulatory Fox 25th Anniversary Special reveled in
rebelliousness, trumpeted trashiness, and celebrated salaciousness -- in the
process earning it the title of Worst TV Show of the Week.
The two-hour retrospective began with a look at Fox’s first bonafide hit,
Married with Children. Host Ryan Seacrest recounted the show’s early
reviews: “One critic said that it was a good idea gone bad; another said it was
disgusting and had absolutely no redeeming value.” Sadly, the latter review
could be applied to many of Fox’s subsequent shows, since Married quickly
became Fox’s standard bearer.
Fittingly, the special then segued into a review of its animated shows,
suggesting a progression of dysfunction from the Bundys on Married with
Children, to The Simpsons, to the psychotic Griffins on Family Guy,
who make the Bundys look like the Cleavers. Seacrest stated, “Family Guy
was the show that critics thought pushed the envelope way beyond good taste.” As
an example, the following clip was aired:
Peter: “Lois, you are so full of (bleeped crap).”
A network censor wearing a suit stands next to Peter in the kitchen and blows an
airhorn whenever Peter says something offensive.
Peter: “What? Now I can't say (bleeped crap) in my own (bleeped f******) house?
(Bleeped f******) great, Lois. Just (bleeped f******) great. You know, you're
lucky you're good at (bleeped sucking) my (bleeped d***) or I'd never put up
with ya. You know what I'm talking about, when you're (bleeped) lubed up,
(bleeped) toothpaste in my (bleeped), while you (bleeped) and a cherry
(bleeped) Episcopalian (bleeped) extension cord (bleeped), wetness (bleeped)
with a parking ticket. That is the best.”
and American Dad creator Seth MacFarlane then appeared in a taped
interview and shared one of his favorite episodes.
Seth MacFarlane: “I have a couple favorite episodes of Family Guy. ‘PTV’
to me is one of our most successful shows, where Peter goes up against the FCC.
Took a lot of shots at the FCC and made a pretty ruthless mockery of them.”
Excerpts from the FCC musical number were shown which contained the following
Brian: “They will make you take a tinkle when you want to take a piss.”
Stewie: “And they'll make you call fellatio a trouser-friendly kiss.”
Peter: “There's no negotiating with the fellas at the freakin' FCC.”
The number ended with Peter, Brian and Stewie wearing fishnets and lingerie
while a montage of sexual content played: Stewie dressed in bondage garb
spanking Brian, who is tied up and bent over; Peter demonstrating fellatio on a
Popsicle stick; and numerous nude characters.
Sex, however, was not the only arena in which Fox pushed the envelope. With the
cast of That 70’s Show assembled to reminisce about fun times on the set,
Ashton Kutcher recounted, “Honestly, like, half the references I didn't
understand. The only scene that I totally got, that I thought was hilarious, was
smoking weed in the basement and talking about a car that runs on water.”
The special, however, glazed over one of Fox’s most controversial moments: the
unbleeped f-bomb Cher dropped during the 2002 broadcast of the Billboard
Music Awards. Fox challenged the FCC’s subsequent punishment, leading to a
Supreme Court showdown against the agency earlier this year. The high court will
rule on the matter within weeks.
The special highlighted Fox’s desire to tout its supposed ground-breaking
edginess, but it failed to be forthcoming about its strategy to gut the FCC’s
policing power. Without the agency’s mandated oversight, families must rely upon
the network’s own decency standards. If the last 25 years are any indication,
this reckless network apparently has none.
lowering the bar for the last 25 years, and for its ardent commitment to
lowering it further in the next 25, Fox 25th Anniversary Special
has been named Worst TV Show of the Week.
KFC sponsored this program. To contact them with your
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.