Papabear has been a fan of the show "Family Guy" since it began, although some episodes go too over the top for my taste. Some of you may watch the show and know that the character of Brian the dog got killed a couple episodes back. He was run over by a car. A lot of people were upset by this, and I was a little pissed, too, but I thought, "Hey, that was a bold move, so let's see where Seth MacFarlane, the show's creator, is going with this."
Turns out he just took advantage of the fact that, after all, this is a cartoon, and had Stewie fix his time machine and rescue Brian. Today, Seth MacFarlane, the show's creator, announced that he did the episode around Chrismastime to teach us a lesson to "Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash." (see
While this is true, I have to say I take some issue with Mr. MacFarlane's methods. First of all, in the episode where Brian is killed, you might think that he would do something like this: show the car coming, cut away to Stewie's reaction, then cut back to the scene where Brian lies dying on the street. But noooo, MacFarlane actually slows down the show and you get to see every bone-crushing, tissue-squeezing, blood-spurting frame of a beloved character getting the life squashed out of him. Absolutely disgusting and the very definition of "gratuitous."
Yes, it's just a cartoon, but it's still shocking.
Then we go through two episodes of seeing the family in serious emotional pain, especially Stewie, a little child of one (even though he is a genius). Then we are introduced to a new character, another dog who can talk, but with an Italian mafioso accent, and the dog appears in the opening credits.
But no, it's just a stunt. Brian is brought back to life, and we are left with the patronizing message from MacFarlane that we should sit cross-legged on the floor, innocent eyes wide, while the teacher explains to us the hard facts of life.
Well, Mr. MacFarlane, you might not realize this, but I watch your show for a little escapist animated fun, not to be "treated" to a snuff film. If I want to watch drama, I'll click over to "CSI" or "Law & Order." Secondly, your show is geared to adults who have been through just as much, if not more, than you have. How dare you think that you are wiser than everyone else watching your show and assume we don't know how painful and cruel life can be? How dare you say, in effect, that we take our loved ones for granted and therefore need to be taught a lesson through a cartoon? Finally, if you're going to use "Family Guy" as a podium to spout your diatribes to the public, then at least come up with something less cliched than "don't take your loved ones for granted."
Am I overreacting? Yes, probably, because, again, it's just a cartoon, not real life. I suppose MacFarlane might have seen a reason to write this based on the fact that he lost his mother to cancer in 2010, and perhaps he felt he took her for granted and that the lesson he learned should be conveyed to others.
But there is a time and a place for everything, and a cartoon that is supposed to make you laugh and be frivolous fun is not the place for a message like this one.
You see, what Mr. MacFarlane might not realize is that there are some very emotionally vulnerable people out there, and some of them watch his shows. MacFarlane noted, "Oh and hey… thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude.”
Perhaps he doesn't realize how emotionally manipulative his little stunt was. I've had some people write to Papabear in the past who take their fictional characters very seriously, and some get very upset when writers "kill" them. Some people out there can, indeed, be mentally unstable, and killing someone dear to them could be very painful.
Here is one example: http://yilb.com/14-year-old-boy-commits-suicide-over-anime-character.
Television and movies are very powerful. And, as Spiderman said (since we're talking fiction), "with great power comes great responsibility."
I suppose another reason I am upset is that I take my readers extremely seriously. I would never make light of someone else's emotional pain, and it offends me that someone like MacFarlane has treated such a serious subject with such utter contempt for the emotions and intelligence of his audience.
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