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‘The Family Guy’ Takes On the Brain-Damaged

posted by Paul O'Donnell

familyguy.jpgYou have to hand it to “Family Guy” for topicality. Fresh off last month’s run-in with Sarah Palin about her son with Down syndrome, animated sitcom “The Family Guy” opened Sunday night with a skit about Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose fate was the subject of a right-to-die court battle in 2005.
The Schiavo bit comes just as the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation has organized a fundraising concert to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Schiavo’s death. Now, I admit I learned about the milestone only after the Schiavo family protested the “Family Guy” shtik about Schiavo, a musical number that calls her “the most expensive plant you’ll ever see” and includes in her hospital room a machine that “dispenses gravy for her mashed potato brains.”


When a “Family Guy” episode in mid-February featured a Down syndrome character who identified her mom as the “former governor of Alaska,” Palin’s daughter Bristol complained that it was a cheap shot. Not so, said the Down syndrome actress who played the role for “Family Guy”: the former governor of Alaska had earned the reference by toting her son, Trig, around to gain sympathy and votes. “It’s called sarcasm,” the actress said.
Is the argument now that, if you’re going to be singing songs in the name of Terri Schiavo, you deserve to have insensitive persiflage aired about her? The problem is that the song’s rough bludgeoning at Schiavo’s mental state–the facts of which, for the record, it gets wrong–doesn’t spoof the political stage-managing that went on around the court case and her eventual death. You can satirize the modern political media circus all you like, but when you confuse the humans with their media images, you’ve joined the mill.
What’s especially puzzling about the Schiavo skit is that it kicks off a show about gossip sites (lke TMZ or, in a milder form, this one) that make mountains out of molecular misdeeds of celebrities. (The family guy of the title, a sort of postmodern Archie Bunker, is psyched when his harrassing video of Richard Dreyfuss makes TMZ’s televised report.) It’s hard to figure how ridiculing a bad situation, long since settled, is any less gratuitous, or less worthy of scorn.



  • Your Name

    Hey, it IS Fox. What do you expect from the nation’s chief garbage (Faux ‘News’) producer?

  • Carla

    There is NO EXCUSE for this programming. And Fox Entertainment is COMPLETELY SEPARATE from Fox News. Only idiots and far-left nut rings watch this show. One viewing was enough to convince me that the morally corrupt are in charge of Fox Entertainment (if you can even use that word when discussing this filthy program). At least someone in the Fox organization has the guts to allow the news division to report the news, something the other networks have conveniently forgotten from their code of journalism ethics classes–or don’t the commie college profs teach that anymore?

  • LookingBack

    Lets take a look back at what the Schindlers were saying at the time this was playing out and during the course of the many court battles they waged.
    Might be interesting to compare the imagination of the Schindlers to that of “Family Guy” producer Seth MacFarlane:
    http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/WolfsonReport.pdf
    “Throughout the course of the litigation, deposition and trial testimony members of the Schindler family voiced the disturbing belief that they would keep Theresa alive at any and all costs. Nearly gruesome examples were given,eliciting agreement by family members that in the event Theresa should contract diabetes and subsequent gangrene in each of her limbs, they would agree to amputate each limb, and would then, were she to be diagnosed with heart disease, perform open heart surgery.” – Dr Jay Wolfson
    The “loving” family that could picture Mrs Schiavo being limbed like a tree would be limbed (something lumberjacks do after the tree is felled) are supposedly offended by a cartoon portrayal?
    Maybe they were offended that “Family Guy” producer Seth MacFarlane didn’t go as over the top or as extreme as the Schindlers themselves confessed that they were actually willing to go.
    Of course Mrs Schiavo was portrayed in the cartoon as having all her limbs intact.
    That alone seems to indicate that “Family Guy” producer Seth MacFarlane has a far less disturbing and gruesome mindset than the Schindler family.

  • Walter In FL

    Is It True about the Schindlers’Scams?
    Ask Bobby Schindler Jr. these questions.
    Is it true that the Schindlers made 4.5Hours of videotapes of Terri Schiavo?
    Is it true that the Schindlers displayed to the public only the highly edited 4.5minutes of the 4.5hours of videotapes?
    Is it true that the Schindlers made these highly edited videos to give a false display of Terri Schiavo’s condition? Also proving the Schindlers knew the true condition of Terri Schiavo for them to even make these edited videos.
    Is it true that the Schindlers’ overall purpose of these highly edited videotapes of Terri Schiavo was to incite sympathy, to generate donations and stir support?
    These are the same videos that Bill Frist the ex-Senate Republician majority leader and physician made his famous mis-diagnosis of Terri Schiavo. The fraud worked on Frist.
    Is it true that the Schindlers made request for donations for their legal fees?
    Is it true that the Schindlers’ legal representation was paid for by other rich foundations.
    Is it true that the Schindlers (Bob Sr., Mary, Bob Jr., and Suzanne) are working for their Foundations that was/is financed with the requested “Legal Fees” donations which is still providing all four of them their livelihoods and retirements.
    By requesting donations for one purpose (legal fees) and using these donations for another purposes (livelihoods and retirements) is a scam. It was a fraud on the persons that gave donations for the purpose of helping the Schindlers’ with their legal fees.
    I called it a fraud especially on the public and/or their donors.
    Everything the Schindlers state about Terri Schiavo’s condition is base on these edited 4.5minutes of videos. Once the public realize that these videos were edited and staged to give a false display of Terri Schiavo’s condition, The Schindlers’ whole story line falls apart. The Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report proves and disagrees with the Schindlers’ falsehoods about Terri Schiavo’s PVS.
    The Schindlers are attempting to re-write the History of the Terri Schiavo Tragedy to fit their story line (“The Schindler Script”).
    It is true that Terri Schaivo’s condition was Persistent Vegetative State (PVS).
    Terri Schiavo became terminal when it was determined that Terri’s brain had deteriorated to the point she was not functional and would never recover. Every part of her brain stopped functioning except her brain stem. From the time she was put on the PEG which was the only thing that was keeping Terri’s body alive, Terri Schiavo was not capable of do anything.
    She was just a physical body as opposed to the mental person. Her body had only reflex reactions to her physical world without mental interpretation of any physical stimulus (No cognition – No pain).

  • Walter In FL

    The Schindlers were selling(a.k.a.,$100 donation)videotape of Terri Schiavo. The probate court ordered that all money collected for the videotapes shall be put in Terri Schiavo’s trust fund.

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