The current climate has understandably made Fox executives skittish about the return of the Griffins. In repeats aired in recent months, Fox blurred out shots of Peter’s and Stewie’s cartoon buttocks, even though the episodes had been broadcast without incident years earlier.
But the chill in the air is also the reason the show’s return couldn’t be more timely. Less assaultive but brainier than “South Park,” “Family Guy” isn’t just indecent–it all but proclaims indecency as its subject. The show enjoys needling the American viewer’s pretensions to propriety.
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In one episode, a disapproving neighbor nosing in on the Griffins’ business gets yelled at by her husband: “Gladys, it took me two hours to work up the courage to rent this porno. Now are you gonna watch it with me or not?” In another episode, Peter and Lois bemoan the decline of their community’s values, even as they put on their S&M regalia for the evening. (“The safety word is ‘banana.'”)
So what’s the lesson? Whether or not you like the family guy, turn it on this Sunday to make a statement that you’re sick of the moralizing censorship of television. Also, it’s really funny.