He's a family guy!
October 19, 2005 8:22 PM   Subscribe

The Parents Television Council has released their list of the top 10 worst shows for family viewing. The Fox network led the way with six of the ten shows, Family Guy, American Dad, The War at Home, The O.C., That 70s Show and Arrested Devlopment. The PTC also released a top-nine list of shows that are family friendly (they claim they couldn't find a 10th show to complete the list), leading the way is Three Wishes and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They also accuse Fox of being deceptive with their marketing of their Sunday night lineup, and using cartoons to pedal the "filth" to children.
posted by SirOmega (56 comments total)
OK, now that I was neutral in my FPP, heres the opnion...

They seem to fall into the same line of thinking as many adults - that cartoons are just for kids. Nevermind that [Adult Swim], when measured as it own network, ranks near the top, up there with ESPN and SpikeTV, in terms of the young male (18-35) demographic.

I find it odd that they mark Everybody Hates Chris as a good show, since I've heard the n-word on there a few times (uncensored).

I really dont see where he thinks the marketing for Family Guy and American Dad is "family friendly". I've yet to see anything in the promos for the show that would indicate to parents that this is OK to watch with your kids - in fact quite the opposite, the promos are usually almost as bad as the show.
posted by SirOmega at 8:29 PM on October 19, 2005

Lots of people do the same thing with comics. They see the word 'fuck' in an issue of Transmetropolitan and freak out, yelling about corrupting our youth...or some such crap.

Cartoons, comics, video games...people just need to realize that some of us "grown ups" never really grow up.
posted by handshake at 8:36 PM on October 19, 2005

War at Home is being singled out for the gay kid, i think.

Bozell is head of the rightwing Media Research Center (you might remember them from a slew of complaints to the FCC when it was Election Year)

and don't miss Confessions of a censor
posted by amberglow at 8:36 PM on October 19, 2005

south park didn't make the list? cool!
posted by brandz at 8:39 PM on October 19, 2005

posted by stenseng at 8:41 PM on October 19, 2005

What the hell?
posted by nightchrome at 8:43 PM on October 19, 2005

Maybe I'm naive (wrt these groups) but can anyone enlighten me as to what their motives are? It is actually really baffling apart from the ineffable (for me) "busybody syndrome."
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:44 PM on October 19, 2005

Why is it that Fox News is a bastion of "conservative values" yet the Fox Network is trampling all over them, according to a guy who thinks he is the one who decides what "conservative values" are.

I think my head is exploding . . .
posted by flug at 8:44 PM on October 19, 2005

From the looks of the list they are only including broadcast TV, not cable. That said; Screw the children! i'm so deeply tired of the 'But what about the Little Ones' rhetoric. Anyone who watches Family Guy or American Dad will have noted that they are putting up "caution may be offensive" warnings before every episode. How is this deceptive marketing?

Also, it sorta pleases me that much of my TV habits are considered non-family friendly, arrested Development, 70s show, Family Guy, American Dad...

posted by quin at 8:45 PM on October 19, 2005

Ack: *A*rrested
posted by quin at 8:45 PM on October 19, 2005

I've found that simply renaming their list "Must see TV" works fairly well.
posted by numlok at 8:53 PM on October 19, 2005

Also, brandz: They publish a best/worst list every week, and I distinctly remember the "Lemmiwinks" episode being on there (thus necessitating my immediate viewing of said episode).
posted by numlok at 8:57 PM on October 19, 2005

It seems like these guys have it completely backwards.

Really, the shows that have the most "bad language and sexual and violent content" are the ones most appropriate to family viewing. If parents sat with their kids and watched that stuff, it just might provide a useful opportunity to teach the kids why the "bad stuff" is bad.

Or you know, whatever, fuck parenting (even via TV!) just watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
posted by cloeburner at 8:59 PM on October 19, 2005

Amazing. Their approach seems purely statistical, based on how many words or concepts or characters they consider "offensive" appear in a particular show. This alone reveals alot.

What got to me more is their choice of "best" shows...Extreme Makeover? What the hell? How is encouraging people to feel ugly about themselves, and to feel that they need to go through expensive treatments in order to achieve an idealized, fake body image related to "family values"? I mean, don't these people believe god created us the way we are or something? How exactly does such materialistic, shallow, dehumanizing bullshit register as quality family viewing? The mind boggles.
posted by Jimbob at 9:04 PM on October 19, 2005

There's a lot of logical arguments to be made against the PTC, but the problem is that they're not using a logical base to assert their 'facts' to begin with. You can't even argue with someone when this is the case. Unfortunately, a press release by them is all the information it takes to make a quick news bite, which is then readily disseminated. Oh well, preaching to the choir.
posted by hostile7 at 9:09 PM on October 19, 2005

Jimbob: I think they were citing the "Home Addition", which is really one big Sears ad.
posted by numlok at 9:10 PM on October 19, 2005

I don't see The O'Reilly Factor on that list.

I call bullshit.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:11 PM on October 19, 2005

I find it odd that they mark Everybody Hates Chris as a good show, since I've heard the n-word on there a few times (uncensored).

Mentions of "the n-word" are probably a net positive to this group. If only the show also featured whippings and the singing of those sweet sweet spirituals...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:11 PM on October 19, 2005

I am against any criticism of the family guy in that it might encourage Fox to renew its contract.
posted by lkc at 9:12 PM on October 19, 2005

As much as I loathe myself for coming to the defense of network TV, are they talking about "Extreme Makeover" or "Extreme Home Makeover."

Because as much as I'm ashamed to admit it that network TV has created this response in me, Extreme Home Makeover has brought this 35 YOM to tears a few times.

Everyone I've seen receiving their services on the program has seemed in order for a helping hand, as well as been living a life where they deserve it.

Then again, maybe I'm a sucker. WTR this show I'd like to think not.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 9:18 PM on October 19, 2005

It's unfair that The Family Guy makes this list of television that's bad for family viewing -- it's just bad in general!
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:19 PM on October 19, 2005

The FOX network runs FOX news. typical 'Muricans say to cower in fear and despise the FOX network. I don't see a problem here.
posted by mk1gti at 9:24 PM on October 19, 2005

Because simulated welfare "reality" tv is a good thing.
lets all watch a media corporation treat a few families like gods while the social service systems in our country slip down the toilet...maybe we can do scratch ticket ads during the commercials.
posted by es_de_bah at 9:37 PM on October 19, 2005

mk1gti...alwasy wondered about that dynamic. fox manages to have the god-fearingest news on tv and the most subversive programming of any network...it's very zen...
posted by es_de_bah at 9:39 PM on October 19, 2005

Robot Johnny, that's because they're confusing "filth" with "crap." They seem the same, but they're not.
posted by emjaybee at 9:41 PM on October 19, 2005

What, no Lost? After the dismembered airplane pilot, the torture, sorta incest, and other things that I can't think of at the moment?

Clearly the writers must work harder! This disgrace can not go unnoticed!
posted by kosher_jenny at 10:00 PM on October 19, 2005

Why is it that Fox News is a bastion of "conservative values" yet the Fox Network is trampling all over them, according to a guy who thinks he is the one who decides what "conservative values" are.

These shows manage to make them a lot of money, which is a "principle" that tramples all others...
posted by juiceCake at 10:17 PM on October 19, 2005

On "Three Wishes": "The show's premise is creepy: Grant and her team of telegenic do-gooders pull into a small town in America, where they hold a macabre kind of talent show in search of the saddest story."

Also of note in the article: Laura Bush's handlers contacted ABC to have her appear on an episode of EMHE set in the Biloxi. Somewhere, they said it was because they shared the same "principles" as the show.

I assume this means private-sector benevolence programs, which makes me wonder about how these groups would react to a show that is just about government benevolence programs and those on the receiving end, that would probably teeter much closer to an uncomfortable edge of revealing structural inequality that's obviously not going to be solved in a 1 hour episode with lots of hugs at the end.
posted by milkrate at 10:19 PM on October 19, 2005

All the things they hate I like.
posted by wakko at 10:58 PM on October 19, 2005

using cartoons to pedal the "filth" to children

SirOmega, I totally hate people that post only about spelling errors, and try to refrain from doing so myself. So please do not take offense at what I am about to do.

Upon reading the aforementioned phrase, I immediately conjured an image of Wile E. Coyote using some kind of Rube Goldberg contraption made with a bicycle to deliver, house by house, a load of hairy muck to the children of America. It was funny.
posted by bugmuncher at 11:18 PM on October 19, 2005

to your everlasting credit, darlin'.
posted by rob511 at 11:21 PM on October 19, 2005

Shoot! My post was intended to follow wakko's.
posted by rob511 at 11:22 PM on October 19, 2005

(condescendingly) but yours was very good, too, bugmuncher!
posted by rob511 at 11:23 PM on October 19, 2005

Huh. I find myself agreeing: most of those shows are absolutely inappropriate for viewing by children.

Many of them are shows I love watching.

The difference between it being appropriate for me to view them, and inappropriate for a kid to view it, is the difference between me being an adult, and a kid being a kid.

Sucks to be a kid. Tough luck. Go to bed: American Dad is not for you. Arrested Development is not for you.

NB: "kid" being by whatever metric you wish for your own children. Leave my hypothetical children out of it.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:47 PM on October 19, 2005

fff: The difference between you and turd sandwiches like Brent Bozell is that you say, "Hmm. American Dad discusses some things that I don't want my kids watching just yet. I think I'll change the channel or send them to another room."

Bozell says, "I am the arbiter of all that is good and holy in the world. I will tell you what to watch and you will like it. If you disagree, you will go to hell. Now, let's throw those Family Guy and Arrested Development DVDs on our nice warm bonfire."
posted by papakwanz at 12:17 AM on October 20, 2005

I find EM:HE far more nauseating than Family Guy. Putting a hard-luck family into these Cinderella-stories might seem heart-warming on the surface, but they really just glorify corporate supremacy and reinforce the idea that if poor families just prayed hard enough or suffer long enough, some benevolent greater entity (God? ABC? Sears?) will descend from on high and grant them all their monetary wishes -- rather than, say, the family accepting Government welfare or public assistance.

It has its merits, mostly through its emphasis on charity and donation, but you can only watch so much joyous reception of brand name products before you start wondering when the show stops and when the commercials begin.

To me, that kind of viewer manipulation is more offensive than homosexual characters in sit-coms or cartoon fart jokes. But hey -- I find the "bad" shows far more entertaining as well as morally redeeming (in that zig-zag sort of way).
posted by Down10 at 1:48 AM on October 20, 2005

I can't say that they're completely unjustified; The War At Home, Family Guy, and American Dad have turned me off by having too much offensiveness that seemed to be just for the sake of offensiveness--as well as not being funny in the least.

(Which is not to say that I'd ever believe in censoring them).

But their completely out-of-context approach to things also nails That 70s Show, which can be intensely honest and bittersweet at times, as much as a sitcom can be. Drugs and sex, sure--but I'd let my kids watch it. Probably. If I had kids.
posted by Jeanne at 4:34 AM on October 20, 2005

Why don't we ever do something for the sake of, I don't' know, pumpkins? Y'know, instead of the children?
posted by Captaintripps at 5:06 AM on October 20, 2005

See, I'm torn on these shows. Arrested Developmet, American Dad, Family Guy and The Simpsons are my 2 hours of TV a week. On the one hand I find these shows incredibly funny (at their best), but as some others have said, I also see them being offensive just for the hell of it and it's really starting to bother me. Arrested Development in particular, because it seems to have changed so rapidly in only a few seasons. I guess the point is to get people talking about the shows (and look, it's working), but I can't be the only one who it's driving away.
posted by Who_Am_I at 5:44 AM on October 20, 2005

When it comes to disputes like the Baptists vs. Disney or these people vs. Fox, I never know who to root for/against.
posted by you just lost the game at 5:47 AM on October 20, 2005

I dunno. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is one of my favorites, too -- along with Arrested Development. If you're going to spend money to make a reality show, hell... make someone's life better while you're at it. They do.
posted by verb at 5:55 AM on October 20, 2005

simulated welfare "reality" tv

That is a fantastic definition, es_de_bah.

I've watched a few episodes and I've had the same reaction as Down10.

I didn't find it in the least educational. It is not as revolting as the plastic surgery edition, but in the end it is based on similar premises.

I much prefer the british variety of home makeover tv intervention, where they come in, tell the family how much their house sucks and then proceed to make it less sucky and teach people how to keep it that way. The least they deserve it, the more lazy dirty slobs they are, the better. It is not based on emotional exploitment of disability or poverty, it's based on the concept that no matter how much you suck at cleaning and getting organised, a little effort and a little money goes a long way. Sometimes they overdo it with the scolding teacher aspect (and with the dirty slob aspect - makes you wonder if they go in first without cameras to mess up the place on purpose) but I'd much rather that than the notion of choosing a family in unfortunate circumstances, milking their story for maximum emotional reaction, spending millions to add super technology in their home as if it's more important than accessible services outside, and then going on and on and on about how the team are like magic fairies who bring joy and happiness to the poor and disabled. Good for the families who got the makeover, by all means, but the concept of the show is a little icky.
posted by funambulist at 6:33 AM on October 20, 2005

"I dream of a day with the F-word and nudity on every channel, where the whole world doesn't stop just because a school bus did! Children are our future, today belongs to ME!"
- Lindsey Nagel

(sorry, I couldn't help myself)
posted by pepcorn at 6:38 AM on October 20, 2005

Amazing. All the hours of TV that I watch and I've never seen a single episode of any of the shows mentioned, good or bad.

But the whole makeover thing sounds like they just took "Queen For a Day" and made it into "Family For a Day."

If the TV execs really wanted to get into the good graces of The Wholesome Family Values cabal, they could just insert random bits of God into the show:

A black Detective! A White Detective! Cleaning up the filth of Miami with the help of an alligator who is actually...GOD!

A widower with three boys meets a widow with three girls (the youngest one has curls.) They get marry, move into a three bedroom house and God pops in occasionally to give advice, clean the toilets, and bake pies.

In New York city three young men in one apartment meet three young women in the apartment across the hall. Much merry madness ensues down at the local coffee shop. And God shows up in the form of a monkey to give advice, clean the toilets, and make popcorn.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:11 AM on October 20, 2005

Arrested Developement? Do those people even watch the show? Maybe it was the sub-storyline of kissing cousins which freaked them out, cause otherwise the show is on par with nearly every other major sitcom out there in terms of content. Well, there is the hand eating seals, and the chemical dependent mother, and the very poorly performed magic tricks...but c'mon!

In other news, guess what parents, you, yes, YOU, are in control of your households. Not your kids! Yes, I know its shocking, but you can actually TELL your kids not to watch this or not to watch that. If you want to be c-c-c-razy, hand them a book!
posted by Atreides at 8:13 AM on October 20, 2005

MarvinTheCat writes "as well as been living a life where they deserve it."

No one deserves to be forced to live in a house that is built in one week.
posted by Mitheral at 8:24 AM on October 20, 2005

Atreides: It's probably all the gay double entendres by Tobias that gets their goat. After all... GAY = EVIL!
Anyway, let me just say that if I had kids, I'd probably have no problems with them watching the Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, that 70s Show or Arrested Development from say... age 6 on. (I say probably because, of course, you never know till you've got the kids). I watched stuff far more disturbing at that age, and I haven't killed anyone. Yet.
I wouldn't let them watch The OC or The War at Home, though. Those are just dumb.
posted by papakwanz at 9:36 AM on October 20, 2005

Yeah, what's so awful about AD? I've seen nearly every episode, and can't recall anything worse than "adult situations." Not even that much swearing.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:39 AM on October 20, 2005

Ya know, they could save themselves a lot of time by limiting themselves to reviewing materials actually intended for family viewing. Allow me to go beyond "cartoon != for kids." Most of the bad bad shows they have proclaimed awful awful for your family are rated TV-14 or TV-M. Complaining that this is not appropriate for the little ones is kind of like complaining that cats don't like celery, or that sub-compact cars are really small.
posted by ilsa at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2005

Television's two most popular programs — CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and ABC's "Desperate Housewives — are also cited as bad family viewing. So were "Two and a Half Men" and "Cold Case" on CBS.

What the hell? Two and a Half men, one of the lamest, full house-esque shows on Television today is "bad family viewing"? This list is utter BS.
posted by piratebowling at 10:50 AM on October 20, 2005

The language in this series often includes profanities such as “ass,” “son of a bitch,” “bastard,” “and screw,” amongst others.

Oh, I don't know why they have to use language like that!
posted by funambulist at 11:46 AM on October 20, 2005

Two and a Half Men is, I believe, the video equivalent of beating one's child with a shovel. People that watch it, let alone allow their kids to watch it, should likely be locked up for their own safety.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:49 AM on October 20, 2005

Two and a Half men, one of the lamest, full house-esque shows on Television today is "bad family viewing"?

I must have missed the perenially drunk letch character on Full House. Was it Mary Kate?
posted by Sparx at 1:56 PM on October 20, 2005

"appropriate family television viewing" is an oxymoron.
posted by 3.2.3 at 3:12 PM on October 20, 2005

where the whole world doesn't stop just because a school bus did!

WTF is with school buses, anyway? I always got the impression that anyone within a mile of a school bus was supposed to stop, get out of their car, forswear ever driving, convert to Amish religion, and do all their travel on horseback from then on.

As for FOX... I haven't seen anything that would indicate to me that they're about anything but money. I don't think they're a right-wing group that gets sidetracked into projects like American Dad out of greed, I think they're entirely a profit-driven company that saw that there were a lot of people who held the beliefs that you see on Fox News, but there weren't a lot of people on television expressing these opinions at that time -- and they were right, and they made a bunch of money.
posted by dagnyscott at 10:04 AM on October 21, 2005

speaking of FOX, they're turning all their local affiliate news shows into clones of the cable network's special brand of "fair and balanced."--...Local news editors, producers and on-air talent have been flown to New York for intense two-day training sessions to help local news personalities abandon dry anchor-speak and adopt a more Foxian barstool conversational style. The Fox 24-hour news operation is re-tooling to become a network-style engine for new national news programs starting with Rivera's syndicated show, but that's just the beginning. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:43 PM on October 21, 2005

« Older The CIA is tracking all your porn printouts   |   Tracks of Swimming Dinosaur found in Wyoming Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments