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    How Family Guy’s Use of Parody and Satire Addressed Some Issues and Stereotypes

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    Family Guy is an animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane. The show is centered around this family, the Griffins, who lives in the city of Quahog. The family consists of parents, Peter and Lois, and their children, Meg, Chris, and Stewie. In addition to their family, the Griffins have a talking dog named Brian. Although it is a fictional comedy show, Family Guy, addresses many issues and stereotypes that exist in our society today. In this paper, I will discuss how Family Guy’s use of parody and satire addressed some issues and stereotypes that exists in U.S. political culture.

    Satire is a literary term and form of rhetoric that uses various language devices “to expose flaws, critique society, and ridicule politics” (Dictionary.com). Parody can be defined as an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect (Dictionary.com). The writer’s intention when using these methods is to expose what they think is a “problem” in society (Writing Explained). By adding humor to the equation, people are able to use satire and parody as effective ways to address problems in our society without scrutiny because it is more likely to be received better by people than direct comments. Also, the “satirical spin” makes the information that is expressed more appealing to the “younger, savvier audiences” allowing the information to reach to many different audiences (Gray).

    In the episode “Excellence in Broadcasting,” Brian learns that Rush Limbaugh, a conservative radio talk show host, is going to be at the Quahog Mall for a book-signing, and decides to go down there and give him a piece of his liberal, left-winged mind. After his encounter with Limbaugh at the signing, Brian decides to read Limbaugh’s book, and soon begins to believe that ‘conservative Republicanism’ was right all along (Family Guy). The next day Brian invites Limbaugh over for dinner and to meet his family. During dinner, Lois and Peter begin to argue and challenge Limbaugh about his politically beliefs. Which soon causes Lois to blame Limbaugh for “brainwashing” Brian (Family Guy).

    However, Limbaugh disagrees and tells Lois that he exposed Brain to the truth. Brian agrees by suddenly bursting into song about his new conservative beliefs. The song was about a place called “Republican Town.” Republican Town describes an American lifestyle that is very conservative, right-wing minded and how it is the best way to make our society successful. In this song, the creators addressed many controversial topics including abortion and religion using satire and parody.

    The town in the clip reminded the audience of America back in the 1950s. The houses were surrounded with white picket fences; the husbands went off to work while the wives stay at home; and everyone owned a gun. They describe this town as a place where “everyone prays to a right-wing God” (Family Guy). When you first see the clip, it is amusing with the dancing cartoons and upbeat music, however, when you really listen to the lyrics that were recited the song is not as amusing as it seems. Some of the lyrics of this song include:

    “Lois:

    Republican Muslims?

    Brian:

    Now, let’s not go too far.

    Lois:

    No Muslims?

    Rush Limbaugh:

    Eh, too many tall buildings.” (Family Guy)

    MacFarlane uses this episode of Family Guy to discuss the problems that lie within the Republican party. Even though the song may seem harmless, it expresses the general beliefs of the republican party which in some ways are very harmful to our society. In one part of the song, it discusses how Muslims cannot be Republicans and expresses how they are not accepted in the party. Although it is not clearly stated, by having the cartoon parody version of Rush Limbaugh say “Ehh, too many tall buildings” alludes to 9/11 attacks. Although 9/11 was orchestrated by some very liberal Muslims terrorists, does not mean that all Muslims are dangerous and do not belong in America. The show expresses Republicans habit of stereotyping all Muslims to be terrorists and dangerous.

    Also, included in this cartoon song was the Republicans view on abortion and pro-choice:

    “They’ve outlawed all abortions,

    Late or early.

    It’s a sin we can’t abide.”(Family Guy)

    In the clip while they were singing this verse, the two women who were pregnant and trying to get the abortion was tied to a stake and burned to death. The two women were lit by Brian and Limbaugh, the Republicans, showing that their opinion or lives did not matter to them. They did not care for the women because they tried to have an abortion and that is “a sin they can’t abide” (Family Guy). Because the song was performed by cartoon and was upbeat and joyful, MacFarlane was able to get his point across by including a disturbing image, burning two women alive, and not disturb his audience. I think this was a very creative way to show the harmful consequences of Republican beliefs, because through satire and parody the image was not as inappropriate as it would have been if it was real.

    When I first watch the episode, I did not realize all the underlying messages MacFarlane was able to convey using satire and parody. MacFarlane was able to expose some of the underlying and unfair beliefs of the Republican party with one simple episode of Family Guy. He was able to express a couple “problems” that needs to be fixed within the Republican party with a highly entertaining form of speech. Through satire and parody, Seth MacFarlane was able to make his TV comedy show a platform for political issues that exist in our society today.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    How Family Guy’s Use of Parody and Satire Addressed Some Issues and Stereotypes. (2022, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/how-family-guys-use-of-parody-and-satire-addressed-some-issues-and-stereotypes/

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