Cathy Renna

NYC Subway: Family Guy Does It Again

Filed By Cathy Renna | April 25, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Family Guy, gender assignment, media, sexism, transgender

I am not sure if this is also in other cities - I am guessing so. After all the controversy around their transgender story lines this seems especially insensitive (to say the least).

When I posted this on my Facebook page I got a few "This is funny" responses and continue to be perplexed. To me, this kind of image and the "humor" on this show around transgender people is pretty offensive. I know humor is a subjective thing but like a lot of this kind of extreme humor there is the "We make fun of everyone" excuse. But the intent and context seem anti-trans and sexist and those are the deciding factors when I make a decision about any LGBT representation.

What do you think? Check out this ad from the New York subway after the jump.

familyguysubwayad.jpg

Recent Entries Filed under Entertainment:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


I should start off by saying I am not trans, I am gay. I do think the ad maybe somewhat offense. That aside, as a reporter you really need to do your HW. As a resident of NYC I should tell you that these ads have been up for over 6 months. They are not new, nor do I think they were put up 6 months ago b/c someone over at FOX foresaw an attack on trans people that would occur 6 months after the ads went up. As a reporter, and especially a liberal one, please get your facts correct or you are no better than the crazies on the right.

I don't think that Cathy said anything about the recent hate crimes, Ilyssa. She mentioned the horrendous anti-trans jokes that the show has been making for the past year, but nothing about the recent spate of attacks that have made the news lately.

I don't Cathy mentioned anything about the subway ads being new, either.

The Family Guy has been one fag joke after another for years now. My brother really liked the several seasons before they were shut down and watched them a bunch, and I'll admit there was a lot of edgy humor to like there.

Sometimes things are better if they're part of the past. It came back and it seemed like every episode had at least one (usually half a dozen) jokes that were something like "He's gay! HAHAHAHAHA."

I don't even get how this poster is supposed to be funny other than "There are drag queens in Chelsea! And Peter's dressed like one! That makes him a fag! Hahahahahahaha!" I don't know if it's particularly a dig at trans people, seems more like it's about gays with the Chelsea reference, but trying to cipher meaning from it is a waste of time if you're looking for a laugh. How people (especially non-LGBT people) are taking it is more important.

@Alex,

I'm with you on this. I've passed by the subway ad in several places, and it never occurred to me to be a trans-bash - it looked to me to be a parody on drag performers.

I think it's clear that most of the people who are offended by this sort of thing spend too much time being offended for the sake of it, and not enough time paying attention to context. Seth McFarlane and his team are not our enemies, and making farfetched accusations of transphobia and misogyny in situations like this doesn't do anything to further the broad cause of social justice and equality. It just makes us all look like dour sticks-in-the-mud no one would want to deal with in the first place.

With someone who thinks that the reaction to kissing me should be everyone puking for 30 seconds as a friend, I am glad I don't have more enemies.

I don't think straight people are thinking about it nearly as hard as you are, Alex. In fact, I think most LGBT people aren't thinking about it nearly as hard as you. Personally, I think this sort of humor helps us more than it hurts us. It gives us an opportunity to laugh at ourselves, which, if properly publicized, humanizes us far more than squealing about sexism and homophobia do.

Well, those who are offended should take stock of the constant pokes at physically disabled...practically every episode with paraplegic Joe.

Family Guy is, in my view, safe so long as it pokes fun at everyone. So far, it has succeeded.

If we in the LBGT communities want to take offense at anything, check out the Alien on Seth McFarlane's American Dad. He's every nasty stereotype you could imagine. And funny as fuck.

I think the joke is more about his weight. Fat guy + lingerie = funny to FG writers.

The only group of people that Family Guy (and Seth McFarlane) haven't offended is... erm...

...thinking...

Ok, if he's NOT said something offensive about a group of people I would be surprised because I think he's managed to piss on everyone.

Do I think McFarlane is Transphobic/Homophobic? YES. I acutally do use his work to show what is offensive to supervisors/managers at work so they know what to look for and address when we have a Transition at work.

....also, Peter really does need to be properly sized as its obvious that what he is wearing is too small for him. I think McFarlane really needs to put that outfit on 3 sizes too small just to see how that feels. (actually, following the meme as its been running lately, wouldn't suprise me a bit if he comes out tomorrow)

What basis do you have to assert anything about Seth McFarlane's personal views on LGBT people? Do you know him? Have you heard him express any of those views publicly? When one goes around slapping people with these horrendous labels ('homophobic' and 'transphobic') one completely undermines the argument that someone else shouldn't get to use whatever horrendous labels *they* see fit to use. In particular when someone hasn't done anything other than produce a television show millions of people (this trans-allied homo included) find absolutely hysterical.

There is the fact that McFarlane was openly bragging that the upcoming episode of Family Guy was going to be the most trans-positive thing ever seen on network TV, when it was in fact virulently nasty in the extreme.

And then he defended said episode by insisting that it was only natural to find trans people horrific and disgusting.

Oh, you're trans-allied? And yet you're sitting here telling trans* individuals what they should or should not be offended by?
Funny, real allies take a back seat. They know their voice comes second to those of the group they're allied to.
It's "horrendous" to be labeled as a homophobe/transphobe? Really? You're going to pull the "We shouldn't risk hurting the straight people's fee-fees when they do shit that hurts us" card? Really?
Sorry, no. "homo/trans-phobe" are not insults. They're statements of fact, and Seth's record has demonstrated both in more than adequate amounts for him to have earned the titles.
You're literally equating 'homophobe/transphobe" with "faggot/tranny" in your post. I pray you're smarter than that. They are vastly different terms. The only time someone is insulted by being called a phobe is because they're being smacked for their privileged bullshit. It isn't a slur. It's a statement of fact, based on a person's actions. "I'd throw up if I slept with a transsexual"...oh yea, and he's not a phobe how exactly?

Can we stop this "Let's just have a sense of humor at this bigoted crap! Stop trying to be offended, just laugh at yourself!" crap? It's moronic to an extreme. People don't choose to be offended and you don't get to tell them what is or is not offensive to them.

Oh, you're trans-allied? And yet you're sitting here telling trans* individuals what they should or should not be offended by?
Funny, real allies take a back seat. They know their voice comes second to those of the group they're allied to.
It's "horrendous" to be labeled as a homophobe/transphobe? Really? You're going to pull the "We shouldn't risk hurting the straight people's fee-fees when they do shit that hurts us" card? Really?
Sorry, no. "homo/trans-phobe" are not insults. They're statements of fact, and Seth's record has demonstrated both in more than adequate amounts for him to have earned the titles.
You're literally equating 'homophobe/transphobe" with "faggot/tranny" in your post. I pray you're smarter than that. They are vastly different terms. The only time someone is insulted by being called a phobe is because they're being smacked for their privileged bullshit. It isn't a slur. It's a statement of fact, based on a person's actions. "I'd throw up if I slept with a transsexual"...oh yea, and he's not a phobe how exactly?

Can we stop this "Let's just have a sense of humor at this bigoted crap! Stop trying to be offended, just laugh at yourself!" crap? It's moronic to an extreme. People don't choose to be offended and you don't get to tell them what is or is not offensive to them.

Err...ignore one of these. Oops.

As someone who used to watch Family Guy before it devolved into puerile racist, homophobic, rape-jokey and transphobic dreck covered by the flimsy veneer of self-awareness (that is, what people usually think when they think they're self-aware), I'll tell you that this image is either directly from or a throwback to an episode from years ago ("PTV" in 2005) where the characters criticized the FCC. In it, they talk about a lot of sexual situations and what you can and cannot say on TV because of the FCC. To my recollection, absolutely nothing in it mentions or refers to trans individuals besides this one outfit all the characters end up in, which I always interpreted as the characters being sleazily and sexually dressed in raunchy burlesque style, possibly referencing the outfits at the end of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

So in my opinion, within that context and how old it was and how it had nothing to do with anti-trans jokes at the time (though the show has since devolved into one that uses them blatantly and frequently), I would not consider this offensive.

@lekoman

MacFarlane's own words from an interview with Details magazine ( http://www.details.com/celebrities-entertainment/movies-and-tv/201009/seth-macfarlane-family-guy-american-dad-controversy?currentPage=2 )


Details: You predicted that another episode—about a transgendered character—would make the LGBT community happy. It didn't.

Seth MacFarlane: That surprised me. I don't meet a lot of stupid homosexuals. They seem to be a pretty smart bunch. But it seemed that they were not picking up on the fact that it was a very sympathetic portrayal of a transsexual character.

Details: Maybe the fact that Brian barfs his guts out when he realizes he's had sex with a transsexual threw them off.

Seth MacFarlane: Hey, we're still Family Guy.We're not suddenly going to become 7th Heaven. Actually, I guess on 7th Heaven they would probably burn the transsexual at the stake. Let me think of another example. We're not Mr. Belvedere. Look, Brian happens to be a heterosexual character, as I am. If I found out that I had slept with a transsexual, I might throw up in the same way that a gay guy looks at a vagina and goes, "Oh, my God, that's disgusting." It's just the way we're biologically wired. They should give that another look.

I know. Considering it was Family Guy, that particular episode did have some positive aspects (and come not so positive).

I still don't think Seth "gets it" - when he says that "If I found out that I had slept with a transsexual, I might throw up . . " - why? What is it about trans women that might trigger the hard-wired straight man's gag reflex (as in the climactic scene in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective)?

The usual line is "she used to be a man" or "she is really a man" or "the he/she deceived me."

That is because Seth MacFarlane and a lot of other people don't yet understand that trans people never belonged to their initially-assigned sex.

So - the cause for the Seth MacFarlane/Brian gag-reflex response is not the trans woman, but in the erroneous assumpton made by the one doing the gagging.

It's only a matter of time until you people ask Turner Classic Movies to stop running "Some Like It Hot".

Can we please start enjoying the First Amendment with our fellow Americans?

Enjoying the first amendment? Ok...really? So slurs and other forms of hate-speech should just be taken as acceptable?
Remember kids: Just because you CAN say or do something, doesn't mean that you should. Why should a group laugh at, much less ENJOY, their own oppression?

Can we please stop thinking that "freedom of speech" means "freedom from criticism"?

Trans-bashing is a lot like gay-bashing. The ones who do it are just trying to cover up their secret attractions. Clearly McFarlane has it for post-op trans women.

Seth Macfarlane(along with Bill Maher and many others) are what might be called pro-gay homophobes. They superficially hold all the correct liberal opinions about 'the gays'. and at the same time spout a fag joke every 10 seconds, have smug close-minded opinions about any blurring of sexual lines, make a constant point of pointing out how personally gross they find homosexuality, reduce 'the gays' into some safely cordoned off cute sterotype, and mock any affection shown between straight men.

BTW, there are many gay men who don't find vaginas 'disgusting', and there are many straight men who wouldn't throw up if they had any contact with a transsexual. To the extent that there are some people of both categories who do fit that description, this has little/nothing to do with how anyone is 'biologically wired' and more to do with cultural or psychological/psychosexual issues.