Racism In Family Guy Essay

1432 words - 6 pages

In today’s society, a minstrel show would unquestionably be pointed out as a racist act. However, if stereotypes were used in comedic TV shows it becomes more uncertain as to whether or not it is appropriate. With the popular use of satire in the current pop culture, the line between racism and harmless satire is harder to define. Shows like Family Guy play on a lot of racial stereotypes but do not always receive attention on those jokes. The show is often written off as just a raunchy animated show, so people expect the outrageous humor and take the jokes less seriously. Racist jokes has been muddled with satire by putting it in a comical context and in a different medium such as ...view middle of the document...

The show’s creators keep up their ratings by making fun stereotypes but they disregard how demeaning the characterizations of races are. This episode had a lot of unabashed racist humor yet there was not any criticism of it. Ahsan Haque of IGN criticized that the episode was not an “instant classic” but still praised it for its moments of “creative genius” (Haque). The episode received multiple reviews similar to this one. This demonstrates how the offensive humor is often brushed aside. There were no comments made about the portrayal of the Native Americans because of the fact that Family Guy is presented as a comedic animated show; its irreverence is what attracts audiences. The episode was not making a comment on a social issue. The satirization of Native Americans served no other purpose than for being the punch line of every joke. This sort of humor is not as upfront as something like blackface so it is not recognized immediately that it is offensive. Due to the fact that it is a comedic animated show it is not taken as seriously. For a show with millions of viewers making these sort of jokes makes it seem like it is acceptable to make fun of other races. In doing so these stereotypes are going to persist in society.
The racist jokes that are often made in Family Guy obviously does not bother its viewers. Family Guy has garnered such a huge fan base that when the character Brian was killed off it caused a huge uproar on social media. An article written by Danielle Cox asked if the fans’ “attachment to a cartoon character any different from other TV show characters?” (Cox). This deals with a death of a character not anything controversial, but it is this recurring statement that Family Guy is just a cartoon. There seems to be different perspectives between live-action shows and cartoons. Stating that it is just a cartoon gives it a pass to do outrageous things since the label of being a cartoon has a silly almost childish connotation to it. To put it simply cartoons are not real. There are no live actors or real settings so it takes away a personal aspect to it. Fans can get attached to Brian, a cartoon dog, as if he were real. Animated shows can get this sort of reaction from fans so the racist jokes made in the show can also cause a significant effect on the social perception of those stereotypes. The stereotypes that are used in Family Guy are not taken seriously, but the reaction of viewers changes when the same humor is translated into a live-action show. Dads is a live-action show produced by Seth MacFarlane surrounds the life of videogame creators. It has the same tone and comedic style as Family Guy. Dads’ pilot episode has gotten a lot of criticism over the portrayal of an Asian character, Veronica, played by Brenda Song. There was a scene where Veronica was dressed up in a sexy Sailor Moon costume to impress Chinese investors and laughs in the giggly high pitched tone. This got a lot of attention. Fox received a letter from Guy...

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