11 March 2009


On my RSS reader, Google Reader, I subscribe to this feed that picks up news about the "Parents Television Council" from Google News. It's easy: Go to news.google.com, type in any keyword/phrase about an interesting topic, and click search. On the search results page find the orange "RSS" logo (the orange square with the white stripes). On Firefox it's on the way tail end of the address bar; on Internet Explorer it's on some sort of toolbar (I personally use Firefox anyways so I'm not too sure about the IE situation.)

Now I've discovered that PTC has filed an FCC complaint out on Sunday's episode of Family Guy, one of my favourite shows ever. The episode was titled "Family Gay" and was about Peter experimenting with homosexuality. According to John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable:

"Family Guy is squarely aimed at young viewers and is never lacking in crude humor and explicit content, but this episode crossed the line," said Tim Winter. "Imagine the shock of a family who stumbled across the show during the Sunday evening programming block, as early as 8 p.m. in the Central and Mountain Time zones. Fox treated viewers to everything from an ‘eleven-way' gay orgy to baby Stewie eating a bowl of cereal with horse sperm instead of milk."

Pardon me, Mr. Winter, but there's a reason why Family Guy is always rated TV-14-DL (that episode was TV-14-DLSV actually, I saw the ratings box as I edited out the commercials on my DVR'ed copy of the episode). How many times do I and other bloggers have to say: Animated does not always mean kid show! I mean think about The Simpsons, Futurama, and South Park! How can you compare those shows with whatever's on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network daytime blocks right now? I'm sure that the PTC will resort to its usual tactic of duplicated electronic complaint forms from outraged PTC members, whether they saw it or not.

If you happened to have stumbled upon this program when channel-surfing with Johnny and Jane in the room, I guess you have the right to complain. But that's why you look up the TV listings, use a V-Chip, or just not watch TV with the kids at Sundays 9:00PM (8PM in the "Heartland")! Shouldn't the kids have a good nights sleep Sundays preparing for the week ahead at school to "get their learn on"? But if you are a responsible parent and do take whatever measures to prevent the little ones from seeing Seth MacFarlane's cavalcade of filth known as Family Guy, be honest and abstain from filing a complaint about a show you don't watch. Think about the old saying, "If you don't like a show, turn it off." There's a reason why Nielsen Media Research monitors the TV ratings. There's a reason why the networks discard failed, low-rated shows after an episode or two. For example, Fox cancelled Do Not Disturb earlier this season. From what I've heard it's a cheap knockoff of the much much better The Office on NBC (That show is so much cleaner than Family Guy in terms of content but I still like it.)

Anyways, I'll be awaiting the FCC's findings. In 2005, PTC filed a complaint against Fox over the FG episode "PTV", which was about Peter creating his own sleazy TV station. That episode mocked the FCC's indecency enforcement, but PTC didn't find that too funny.

Now what else could PTC be making a fuss of? I pulled up its website on good ol' Mozilla Firefox - the sensible alternative to Microsoft's Buggy Internet Explorer - and notice that PTC wants the Walt Disney Company to stop advertising on "family unfriendly" shows, wants the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the recent Ninth Circuit Court decision to overturn California's ban on selling violent video games to minors, and demands that the fast-food chain Jack in the Box pull ads from those sleazy, violent programs that are screwing up America. Those are the first three items on its homepage at this time. The rest is old news. But surpisingly I see no sign of Family Guy; I have no idea why they didn't front-page it yet. On its "Best/Worst Shows of the Week" section, which was updated last Friday, the PTC praised NBC's special Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five based on the Oscar-winning animated film Kung Fu Panda. However, it didn't like the fact that this TV-PG rated program (the film was rated PG as well) was led out by the TV-14-DS Kath & Kim, a show I personally have no interest in watching. Did you know that that show is "tacky and devoid of humor", at least in the PTC reviewer's opinion? Thankfully I have The Office, 30 Rock, CSI, and the final season of ER to give me a good Thursday night's worth of shows. But I don't know why the PTC didn't mention that Thursdays 8PM (when the Kung Fu Panda special aired) is normally for the cruder redneck sitcom My Name is Earl, a show that's a regular on PTC's Worst List. However, Kath & Kim has always been on Thursdays 8:30PM as the lead-out for Earl, and the PTC gives it a mild "Yellow" rating on its traffic-light rating scale. (Earl got the most severe Red though.)

A google search of "Family Guy" under Parentstv.org yields nothing about the most recent episode. Oh well, I haven't seen that episode yet but am more tempted to do so now that PTC, America's greatest moral guardian of all time, has alerted prudent citizens about it! Oh, don't forget to annoy the PTC by watching next sunday's Family Guy on Fox at 9PM (ET/PT)/8PM (MT/CT) - that episode will parodise the locked-up-for-life/not-guilty-murderer/ex-football-player/actor OJ Simpson!

UPDATE: PTC didn't put their statement on this episode when the news broke about their complaint plans, but now they have. Well-mannered folks, Family Guy fans, any sensitive Internet viewer: Please proceed with caution before clicking the before link. Erin Brown, a blogger for the conservative blog NewsBusters (aligned with the Media Research Center, the right-wing media watchdog from which PTC branched off), posted an entry about this episode too. Here's what PTC had to say on the front page: Sunday night's episode of the cartoon show, Family Guy aired explicit sexual content and was rated TV-14 DLSV by Fox, meaning that in the network's opinion, this content was appropriate for 14-year olds. Yes, PTC does assert that there's a TV-14-DLSV, but in its narrow mind it doesn't matter if there were zero or 100 "content descriptors" (the letters that follow each TV-whatever rating, TVGuidelines.org explains, Fox still considered the show "appropriate for 14-year olds". Well I'm sorry PTC, but innocence can't last forever. Parents, it depends on how clean YOU want your kids' TV viewing to be. If you want to shield your child from everything "offensive"/politically incorrect until he reaches the age of majority, why don't you keep filtering out the TV-14 shows even when he's 14?

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