Family Guy Abortion Episode Banned in US by Fox
When is a controversy not really a controversy?
I’ve never been one to shy away from something that could, and has, offended people. In a lot of ways, it’s what I do best. As not only an American but an adult, I expect to be offended whenever possible. Why? The only way to grow, the only way to become a better person is to be challenged. Being offended forces us to ask questions that we may not be comfortable with, and the intelligent among us will begin to wonder if we’re being offended for the right reasons or not, and if the person doing the action is right or wrong.
Family Guy not only works with this concept, but over the course of its run has actually pushed this theory in ways no one else has.
In the series history, a few episodes have been “banned”. The most famous of being “When You Wish Upon a Wienstein”, where Peter Griffin meets a Jew and becomes so amazed by the religion and culture that he runs off to Las Vegas to get his son Chris a Bar Mitzvah. The episode used some Jewish stereotypes, but on a whole played to the fact that Peter had a sincere and honest love of the Jewish faith and society that was a little misguided. The episode was finally shown a few years later, and has since been aired in syndication.
Since then, the show has gone so far as to even have Brian (the dog) eat Stewie’s (the baby) crap-filled diaper in a bank vault, showed Peter and Lois Griffin smoking pot on their sofa in front of their kids, had Stewie come out as a cross-dressing baby who tried countless times to kill his mother… yet even after all of that, Fox felt the need to ban another episode of Family Guy.
“Partial Terms of Endearment” has, as of yet, to be shown in America on the air. Produced as the twenty-first episode of season 8, it starts with Peter reluctantly agreeing to go to Lois’ college reunion. His reasons of trepidation range from not having anyone to talk to, to not wanting to run into any old boyfriends. Thankfully for him, the latter never happens; instead, a woman Lois “experimented with” runs into her and wants to come over to their house. Peter, like 99% of all men, assumes he is now about to get a three-way with himslef, his wife, and her one-time lesbian lover.
Contrary to Peter’s expectations, she comes over with her husband and they explain that since they’re having trouble getting pregnant that they need a surrogate mother. Despite the objections of Peter and the rest of the family (with Chris pointing out that she gets “crazy” whenever she’s pregnant), she decides to get the procedure done. Stewie even compares the idea to making her uterus a “Motel 6.” Peter is upset when he finds out. So upset, in fact, that he comes up with a way to get her to not have the child.
Laying out a trail of free Gray’s Anatomy DVD’s that lead into the desert and into a massive white circle, he takes out a cross-bow and loads it with an arrow with a massive boxing glove on the end. Lois ducks right as the arrow is about to hit her in the stomach, ricochets off some rocks, and knocks the one over Peter’s head. The rock finally falls and nearly crushes Peter, but instead falls right next to him on a ledge… the ledge then cracks and drops Peter to the ground far, far below. It is a fitting, and downright faithful tribute to the Road Runner cartoons.
In comes the news that the surrogate parents have died in a car crash. Facing the scenerio of having to the carry the baby for another 9 months knowing they can’t afford the medical bills, Brian suggests that Lois has an abortion. Lois initially disapproves, but decides upon Brian’s insistence that she at least goes down to Planned Parenthood to find out more about the procedure. The doctor sits them both down and explains in very mature and excellently detailed presentation, what the procedure is. They both decide it’s for the best, and Peter walks outside to get some fresh air while the procedure is taking place. That’s when he walks into a group of people protesting.
After watching a short video that basically says that if it wasn’t for abortion, the man who could have killed Hitler would have been born, as well as Osama Bin Laden’s America-Loving brother who could have stopped him would have existed..Peter runs into the abortion clinic and brings out his wife. The two go back home with Peter going down all the possible arguments against the abortion, with Brian helping to counter his argument. Lois asks, “OK, if you’re so pro-life, would you go down to the orphanage and pick up a child yourself?” “No, Lois, I wouldn’t. I’m here to save the unborn! Once they’re out of the vagina, they can go fuck themselves.” Brian points out that there isn’t even brain activity until about 6-months into the pregnancy, and the question is raised if parents who have a child through incest should consider it as well.
Peter even goes to the extreme of saying that he’ll go down to the clinic and blow it up to stop her from getting an abortion. “So… so you would blow up an abortion clinic and a bunch of doctors to prove that killing is wrong?! Does that make sense to you, Peter?”
The episode ends with a touching speech from Lois where she talks about how having a child can be hard, but it can also be worth it. Peter then chirps in at the end; “We had the abortion.” Roll credits.
In the end, it was a really smart way of dealing with all of these issues. Considering the incident with the 2009 murder of George Tiller, a doctor in Kansas who performed abortions, the ending is particularly important, especially in this world of unfocused hatred and rage. The storytelling in this episode is top-notch, and the humor is excellent! This is, easily, one of the best episodes of Family Guy and proves that the writing staff has an incredible talent when they push themselves for it.
Why is this episode “banned” from American airwaves? Honestly, who knows? Maybe it’s because their parent company would be forced to contradict itself on Fox News. Is it because the parent company doesn’t want to deal with the fallout from special interest groups? Maybe it’s because it deals with real subjects that have been explored on other shows in an animated format. Or maybe it’s because they know that releasing it on DVD anyway would make them more cash, and in the end they’ll show it on the air within a year, anyway.
In the end, abortion really is a very touchy subject, especially for a cartoon, and the fact that they handled it in a relatively mature way should have allowed it to air. Well, there was the part where Brian says “What if a woman is raped?” and Peter replies, “Maybe she should have thought about that before she asked me for directions.”
Then again, this is Family Guy we’re talking about.
Family Guy “Partial Terms of Endearment” will be released in the US on DVD September 28th.
Would I recommend buying it? This time, I’m conflicted. The episode is great, and like I said, it’s one of the best (if not THE best) episode of Family Guy I’ve ever seen. But in terms of buying it, I don’t know, if only because it comes off as an obvious ploy to get fans to fork over their cash for only ONE episode of the show (21 minutes long) with the promise of the extras being great. But because the show is so good, because it’s such a brilliant piece of writing, I say fork over the $14.95 and share it with a friend.
In the end, though, this does beg to ask the bigger question about if this episode should have been banned at all. Is the discussion of abortion, surrogate mothers, and even lesbian experimentation too much for American audiences to handle? Or are they afraid to treat adults like adults?
Written by Staff Writer Larry West.
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