Banned 'Family Guy' finally sees the light of day
October 1st, 2010
12:43 PM ET

Banned 'Family Guy' finally sees the light of day

[Editor's Note: If you haven't seen or don't want to know details of "Family Guy: Partial Terms of Endearment" beforehand, it'd be wise to stop reading now.]

After a musical number called "Prom Night Dumpster Baby," how much further can a show go to shock the audience?

It seems like every few months, someone asks, "Has 'Family Guy' gone too far?" (which is probably how creator Seth MacFarlane likes it). Most recently, it was a one-off gag which took place at the Vietnam memorial. With one exception I can remember, these controversies are always about one-off gags. Last season, however, the writers of "Family Guy" also decided to take on the touchy subject of abortion head-on, and after Fox allowed them to produce the episode, they elected not to air it.

That episode, "Family Guy: Partial Terms of Endearment," was released on DVD earlier this week, and based on interviews with MacFarlane, he seemed somewhat surprised that the show didn't air, since an episode of "Maude" aired back in the 1970s on the same topic, and, of course, Fox lets him get away with so much.

Watching the episode, however, it's hard to believe that the writers didn't have a clue that it might never make it to air (Peter lets go of an F-bomb at one point). Just about every episode of "Family Guy" has shock humor, but this one is almost entirely shock humor. Aside from the jokes about abortion itself, there are jokes about the Holocaust and racial stereotypes of the 1980s and '90s.

In the episode, Lois agrees to be a surrogate mother for a child as a favor to a couple of friends, who end up being killed in a car accident, leading her to decide whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. Prior to her friends' deaths, Peter tries to get her to have a miscarriage, at one point buying an "Acme Miscarriage Kit." It would be one thing if this gag were funny, but it's just not.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy "Family Guy" from time to time, especially when Brian and Stewie are the focus (a recent episode dealing with their relationship had more of a serious tone than this). It's purposely made in a fragmented fashion, with one gag after another, few of which advance the plot (as "South Park" famously pointed out a few years ago). However, despite an effort to satirize the arguments on both sides of the debate, this is far from the best episode. And the final couple of seconds of the episode dismiss it all as a big goof.

At the same time, it's hard to criticize a show for not taking the issue of abortion entirely seriously, when it takes nothing seriously (The show acknowledges this: Peter is so upset that Lois might have an abortion, he threatens to blow up the clinic, saying "You've seen 'Family Guy,' you know I'll do it!'"). What you can criticize is whether it's funny, and it mostly falls flat. In short, this ain't "Maude."

If you've seen the episode, what did you think? Do you believe the writers really thought this would make it to air (and is it a coincidence that Rush Limbaugh is on this Sunday's episode)? Do you think "Family Guy" sometimes goes too far, or is it a good thing that there are shows that poke fun at everything in society, regardless of the topic? Share your view on video, or in the comments below.


soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. HCG Spray

    Thanks for posting this . I've been looking for this info . Wonderful information I'll check back for any info related to HCG .

    July 12, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. diyer

    really can wait to see what they though was too much :o)
    http://www.diyheroes.co.uk

    November 21, 2010 at 4:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jay

    I hate this show. Never have liked it so I choose not to watch it just like anything else I don't like. I agree with chalo513, bugs bunny and road runner are nothing compared to the family guy and all those other adult cartoons and frankly I'd rather watch bugs bunny anyday.

    October 5, 2010 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. STEVE

    You wanna know what I hate, Nacy Grace. SO I DONT WATCH IT!!!! There are hundreds of shows on TV F*&%ing pick something you like. This isnt 1930 when you only got to watch the news, the weather, and the presidents speech!

    October 4, 2010 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. chalo513

    I ABSOLUTELY HATE ALL THESE SHOWS. THEY TOOK OFF BUGS BUNNY, ROADRUNNER AND LOONEY TUNES BECAUSE OF THE VIOLENECE BUT TO KEEP ON FAMILY GUY, AMERICAN DAD KING OF THE HILL AND THE CLEVELAND SHOW IS OUTRAGEOUS. SURE ITS SOMETIMES ON AFTER 10 BUT THE RERUNS ARE ON FROM 8 AM TO 5 PM WHEN KIDS CAN WATCH TME. I SEEN A PORTION OF AN EPISODE TO SEE IF ITS CHANGED ANY WHERE PONTIUS PILATE AND JUDAS ISCARIOT WERE LAUGHING ABOUT GOING TO BEAT UP SPIT ON AND KICK JESUS A$%. THEN ON THE CLEVELAND SHOW HIS SON GOES UNDER LITTLE GIRLS DESKS LOOKING UP THEIR SKIRTS AND WINKING AT HIS DAD WHO GIVES HIM THE OK WINK. OUTRAGEOUS. WHERE DO I WRTIE TO FOX TO VOICE MY DISGUST.

    October 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeremiah

    I saw this episode and it wasn't, to me, offensive as much as it was just not funny. I think FG peaked at the 4th season after the 2nd comeback and now the absurd plots and non-seqeutors that were once entertaining seem to be forced. I want to like it, but sometimes a show just runs it's course and their is nothing more you can do with the characters. If a show like FG could jump the shark that episode is how they do it.

    October 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Elise

    Family Guy is a good show if you can take it with a light heart and a good laught. If you are too serious then it is offensive. Everyone gets insulted. Family Guy doesent shy away from touchy things and honestly no one wants to admit it but a lot of their jokes are based on truth. This episode has some very true points and very similar things to what both pro life and pro choice think. Hate to say it pro life people but you fight to get them her but once their here then yeah you want nothing to do with them. I am sure videos are similar to the one they showed. Family Guy takes things and explotes them for a somewhat truth. Many people just cant face that truth. But wether this episode was funny or not is not why they blocked it. Their reason is that they didnt want to offend anyone though thats what they have been doing ever since the begining. So if you dont find it funny or you find it offensive dont watch it but give the rest of us the ability to see it without clawing the internet or paying money to get the DVD.

    October 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Vicious

    Family Guy always makes me laugh, even with all the stereo types and "going too far" they manage to make fun of everyone and everything!
    i'm Portuguese and i thought that those two Portuguese fishermen stereo types were hysterical because that's what we're mostly known for: fishing, soccer and bread lol
    Mmmmm... portuguese rolls :p

    October 2, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ginn

    I loved Family Guy. But now it's only funny sometimes. This is mostly because I miss the old Stewie. He was my favorite character, now he's just gay though. That's fine really, but it's not funny like his trying to kill Lois and take over the world.

    October 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tinkjada

    FAMILY GUY is comical . its like a sense of humor in all of us. find the kid in you.

    October 1, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Christina

    I love Family Guy. Everyone who says that if you don't like it don't watch it, that it is a cartoon, you have to laugh sometimes, etc. is exactly right. By the way, I love the 'Prom Night Dumpster Baby" skit. Our dog was found in the dumpster and he loves when we sing that song to him SOOOO THERE!!!

    October 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ty

    Honestly Henry, I don't think you get the point of Family Guy.

    October 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    I watched the episode and wasn't offended, but it actually was the least funny episode they've done. I don't think I laughed out loud once.

    October 1, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Simon

    I love Family Guy and I love their sick sense of humor. There is nothing that they won't make fun of. It's disrespectful, arrogant, obnoxious, and wonderful.
    People, there is stuff happening out there in the world that is REAL, and way worse than a few off-color jokes, and inappropriate behavior/comments. Take it is for what it is.

    October 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DrNChemistry

    I am a fan of Family Guy, and I think sometimes they go too far. Furthermore, I think they have every right to go too far. When they air something I don't like I do what I suggest other people do when they see something they do not like: Change the channel! A cartoon going too far is not a worthy story for the national news.

    October 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  16. B-Dog

    This is such BS. If you don't like something, STOP WATCHING IT!

    October 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  17. BraveFart

    It's an effin cartoon, but like everything, it's all funny until it makes fun of YOU or your personal beliefs. It's an offensive show – that's the humor – take it or leave it.

    October 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Scott S

    The show is amazingly funny. For the haters or the "dont think its good anymore" people... you need a flashlight to go find your witty, sick sense of humor. I have never found anything they air to be a no-no. Its the stuff everyone else is too afraid to air.

    October 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Chris

    "...or is it a good thing that there are shows that poke fun at everything in society, regardless of the topic?"

    Yes.

    October 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  20. yesa

    Latest movies online

    October 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Doug

    I haven't found the show really GOOD in years. I still watch it, mostly because my wife likes it, but I haven't really been more than mildly amused by the show in a long time. These days they rely far too heavily on cutaway sequences and not enough on telling a story. Also Peter has changed since the shows inception. When it started out, he was just a sort of stupid bumbling guy who loved his family, but the last few years he's just become outright abusive to his wife and daughter. I realize it's just a cartoon, but I just think the change in Peter over the years has made the character unlikable, thus the show is less appealing.

    October 1, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • AW

      i agree with you. i stopped watching it because of that actually. probably really dumb of me since none of the other stuff they have done had bothered me. even the abortion song cracks me up.

      October 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  22. james

    ohhh poor baby, did a tv show upset you? People need to get a life, it is bad enough that we are over sensitive to every word people say (and of sourse taken out of context), but htis is a cartoon, it is a sit com, it is not real life and does not need to be a topic of debate, but merly an outlet of pop culture. Family Guy SP and any other offensive show on television does not shape public opinion, if parodies it. Abortion is not a problem if you are 13 and want one without telling your parents, abortion isn't a problem if you partie too hard and want a morning after pill, but god forbid you parody it.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Hoss

    I'm over 45 and love watching it. Some of the funniest stuff isn't in the show, it's watching the reaction of those around me. That's the biggest laugh I get. Also the flashbacks...those are the greatest!
    Seth is genius.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Silvio

    "Prior to her friends' deaths, Peter tries to get her to have a miscarriage, at one point buying an "Acme Miscarriage Kit." It would be one thing if this gag were funny, but it's just not." I FOUND IT FUNNY, SO I GUESS I SHOULDNT WATCH IT BECAUSE I WOULDNT WANT TO OFFEND U.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Dort

    Well, it ain't The Flintstones.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Jordan

    I enjoy family guy. It goes a little far at times with it poking fun of every touchy subject...but at least they make fun of everyone and dont just specifically point out one thing and repeatedly make fun of it. Its funny because it goes a little too far. South Park is just gross and very mindless at times..also the animation in South Park sucks compared to family guy,..

    October 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Jennifer

    I enjoy watching Family Guy. If I don't enjoy a particular joke I don't let it get to me. The appeal of the show is shock value. I often find myself going "Awww... that's just wrong!", while still being excited for the next new gag. If you're easily offended don't watch it! This show will probably at some point offend everyone. That's the idea, isn't it? Why do Internet memes like two girls one cup and lemonparty still get views? It's shocking. A lot of people get a kick out of being grossed out and offended. Nothing is sacred to Family Guy and I'd be highly disappointed if they ever changed.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      Actually, yes there is plenty that Family guy won't touch, which is the liberal left, Obama in particular. (Not suprising seeing as how Seth McFarland campaigned for him). I would have more respect for this show if they attacked all sides equally like South Park. However, they are always so obviously one-sided it borders on preaching.

      October 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wendy

      I agree 100% w/ Jennifer. I love Family Guy and partly due to the "shocking" storylines they come up with. Almost everything shown and said on Family Guy is what most people are thinking but just don't voice it. I look forward to added this episode to all the rest.

      October 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry

      Actually JB, they are going after Prez Obama this weekend when Rush is on. So maybe you should tune in.

      October 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Scott

    Everybody needs to stop taking everything so personally, it is a cartoon show.

    October 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Anita

    I LOVE Family Guy, especially Stewie and Brian...ya gotta love a dog that drinks martinis!
    Only Seth MacFarland can get away with being so politically incorrect; Seth's sense of humor is what most of us think anyway, we just don't say it! Some of the "other" animated shows are so predictable; Family Guy is not and that is exactly what keeps us all watching. I hope Santa puts this DVD in my Christmas stocking 🙂

    October 1, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Rachel

    Love Family Guy .Haven't seen the episode yet but I will..Have they gone too far? maybe.But so does South Park and a host of other shows that are basically adult shows.I will continue to watch it

    October 1, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Joe

    Family Guy stopped being funny around the 2nd season...

    October 1, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Seriously? Not everyone finds Family Guy humor funny, but if you liked the first couple seasons, where did they lose you?

      October 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • CHEEFSFURY

      THEY LOST ME AT THAT EPISODE WHERE THEY RIPPED OFF THE SIMPSONS TO MCUCH

      October 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |

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