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So You Think You Can Rate a TV Show?

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Family Guy on Fox

Rating: TV-14 DVL


By Caroline Schulenburg


Seth MacFarlane is fond of taking any opportunity he can to harangue viewers with his belief that it is entirely parents’ responsibility to protect their children from the tastelessness and depravity crammed into every episode of his two cartoon series, American Dad and Family Guy. Being an eternal adolescent himself, MacFarlane frequently neglects to uphold his end of the bargain he champions by refusing to rate his programs appropriately. And even if it is the network’s duty to assign program ratings, surely MacFarlane, as the creator, writer/producer and primary voice artist on two of Fox’s major programs, could insist upon appropriate ratings if he so desired. Apparently, he chooses not to, preferring to deluge his viewers with ever-more fetid examples of his warped wit.


The episode of Family Guy that aired Sunday, April 6th at 9:00 p.m. ET demonstrates this trend, as it was rated TV14 D V L, contained a significant amount of sexual dialogue and several sexual depictions, yet failed to carry an S-descriptor indicating sexual content – an indicator which would enable parents to block sexually explicit material from entering their homes. 


The opening of the episode titled “Blue Harvest” entails the Griffin family watching a golf tournament on television. The two commentators are more focused on the cleavage belonging to one of the golfer’s wives. "Look at that rack. There's a downhill lie for you!" observes one of the commentators. "Oh, they're just begging to be touched. Pleading. How many golf balls do you think she can fit in her mouth?" wonders the second. When the power goes out, the family begins telling stories and a Star Wars parody begins. Mr. Herbert, the neighborhood pedophile, plays Obi Wan Kenobi. His sage advice to Luke Skywalker (played by Chris Griffin, the son) is laced with double entendres and sexual innuendo. At one point, he is fighting Stewie (as Darth Vader) and his lightsaber, clearly intended to denote a phallus, goes limp -- until the youthful Luke/Chris walks in. The saber immediately becomes stiff again. Quagmire, the neighborhood sex fiend, is featured as C-3PO. C-3PO and Cleveland, as R2-D2 are shown strolling through alien planets discussing robot sex. “Okay, here's another one. Who would you rather do -- Jabba the Hutt after a shower or a service droid?” C-3PO asks R2-D2. At one point they are on a spaceship that is being invaded. "Do you hear that? It sounds like we're being boarded from the rear, and not the 'Hey, take a deep breath, let's experiment' kind of boarded from the rear”, Quagmire observes to his cohorts. At another point, Quagmire is shown simulating rear-entry sex with Lois (who portrays Princess Leia).


The amount and nature of the sexual content that this episode contained was too significant for it not to have been flagged for sex, causing the PTC to ask Seth MacFarlane and Fox: “You think you can rate a TV show?!


If you agree that this program was inadequately rated, please write to the TV ratings advisory board at tvomb@usa.net and let them know that the TV ratings once again failed to adequately warn parents about inappropriate content.


For more information about the TV ratings, please visit http://www.tvguidelines.org/contact.asp.

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