The FOX animated sitcom “Family Guy” knows how to push the buttons of public figures.
During the Feb. 14 episode, the character Chris had a crush on a girl named Ellen with Down syndrome and went out on a date with her. When he asked her about her parents’ jobs, she said, “My dad’s an accountant and my mom’s the former governor of Alaska.”
That statement was meant to be a jab at 2008 vice presidential candidate and, yes, former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. Palin did not take the “joke” very well. Palin’s one-year-old son Trig has Down syndrome.
Yes, I understand the comment was hurtful for Palin and her family. However, a pattern I have noticed with Palin is she seems to use every “negative” remark made about her to gain attention in the public eye.
Palin’s oldest daughter Bristol wrote on her mom’s Facebook page, calling the creators of family guy “heartless jerks.” Well, it is “Family Guy” after all. It’s not the sweetest show.
While I enjoy watching an episode or two of “Family Guy” once in awhile, I do not always agree with some of the dialogue or material displayed on the show.
At one point in the episode, the character Stewie, the show’s masochistic one-year-old, broke out in song and dance to a number called “Down Syndrome Girl.” I can honestly say I did not find the song to be humorous, but more along the lines of grotesque.
Andrea Fay Friedman, the voice of Ellen, actually has Down syndrome. Friedman said that Palin “does not have a sense of humor.”
I find it a bit impressive that Friedman was willing to take on that role and is able to laugh about the situation.
In an interview with ArtsBeat blogger Dave Itzkoff on NYTimes.com, Friedman said that Palin’s son Trig was not being made fun of, but it was Palin who was the target of mockery.
Seth Macfarlane, creator of the show, was aware of the inevitable controversy. Macfarlane creates a mockery of a number of political figures on his sitcom, including former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
This Palin-Family Guy feud is not dissimilar from the Palin-Letterman feud. Last summer, Letterman joked that Palin’s 14-year-old daughter, Willow, was “knocked up” by New York Yankee’s baseball player Alex Rodriguez.
Palin and her husband Todd lashed out at Letterman through a statement issued on Palin’s Facebook page:
“…That acceptance of inappropriate sexual comments about an underage girl, who could be anyone’s daughter, contributes to the atrociously high rate of sexual exploitation of minors by older men who use and abuse others.”
Well, when one is in the public eye, they should expect an occasional inappropriate or derogatory comment to be made about them. With the way Palin carries herself, she is not exempt from becoming the butt of jokes on screwball sitcoms and late night talk shows.
She should be used to it by now, right? I think so. n