My son decided one evening, while my husband was away, that he wanted to watch a program. So he flicked over to the channel and we started watching it. It was a program that I normally really enjoy. And this was an episode where the lead character wished his ancestor had founded a town. Lo and Behold, a gypsy came to the bar table and announced that his forefather had founded the city, not the person that it was traditionally told. The story filtered into a “flashback dream” where the main character was dressed in 18th Century clothing on his way to marry a woman (played by his wife) and she was in a church with her father, discussing the merits of her affianced.
Here is where the story gets… interesting isn’t the right word. The woman, dressed in the period with a low cut bodice, had been wondering why her fiance hadn’t arrived at the church yet, and her father replied, then asked “Can I touch your breast?” Her answer was a vehement no. I was shocked. I just let it go, and more action took place before it came back to the woman and her father, and again he asked her. She smacked his hand off her breast as she exclaimed “Father!”
If you didn’t recognise the show, then I shall tell you – it was an episode of Family Guy, and it was Peter and Lois Griffith. This interaction between the father and daughter really upset me. I’m not a prude, but there is a line that people do not cross, and incest is one of them. And what the father wanted to do, was wrong, even if it was being roleplayed.
I immediately turned the channel over, much to my son’s annoyance, but it wasn’t right, and he didn’t get it, he thought it was funny. What are we teaching our children these days? This program was saying, it was okay to ask your daughter if you could touch her, and that no didn’t mean no! Sick!
So its a cartoon – you say. It is a cartoon aimed at adults, and yet my son loves watching it. Why? IT’S A CARTOON! My son should not be subjected to this. Yes, it was a cartoon, but should incest be seen on such a show? Even if the main audience is adults, who would have found that funny? I missed the point – was it supposed to be funny?
Maybe I am over-reacting to this – but I told my husband and he didn’t think that was appropriate either. And he isn’t a prude either. He reminded me that we used to watch the muppets when we were younger, and when we watch it now we are shocked by what is in it, but there was never anything about wanting to touch your daughter’s private parts! Never! And I have watched the muppets as an adult – who couldn’t resist the Muppet Show! But there were moments of pure genius in there for kids as well, kids laughed at things that adults didn’t. There is a difference. The Muppets was made for children AND adults to watch.
How many women out there cried, because of that episode. Who have been abused by their fathers, and seen this show, and more or less told that this was normal(ish) behaviour! What is normal about that? It is sordid and detestable. Sorry Seth McFaralane, but you have lost points in my books. I won’t be watching The Family Guy anymore.
Okay, rant over. So why did I write about this in my mental health post? Because it upset me and shocked me enough that I had to spend some time ruminating about it, except it wasn’t ruminating where the information got out of hand. It was more my reaction to it. I had to look at my reasoning behind the thought. Was it rational? Was it an over-reaction? Was it a foundational thought – something that makes up my psyche?
It is something that makes up my psyche – I have a strong belief in woman having rights to their own bodies and having the right to say no and mean it. Not repeatedly say no, but mean yes. NO MEANS NO. And incest is wrong. I wouldn’t dream of letting my father touch me so intimately! That is for my husband, NOT MY FATHER!
Having gone through the rationalisation of my thought, I have found peace with the fact that it is okay for me to not like something, or not find something funny that others might have. It is okay for me to have the opinions I have, and to share them, but I also have to be aware that others may not share my opinion. I don’t care what people say.
Have you ever experienced something through a television show, or read something that made you react unexpectedly? Let me know at catherine @ catherinemede.com, or comment below.
So from now on, even though the show was probably a one off, I won’t be watching Family Guy anymore, because – I just don’t want to see anything like that again.