This paper explores the presentation of family in the controversial FOX Network television program Family Guy. Polarizing to audiences, the Griffin family of Family Guy is at once considered sophomoric and offensive to some and smart and satiric to others. Though neither judgment of the show is necessarily mutually exclusive, the intention of this study is to reconcile those disparate viewpoints in order to measure the show's purposefulness. After all, if Family Guy succeeds in its satire, it is full of social purpose, offensiveness notwithstanding. This thesis focuses on arguably the main point of contention in Family Guy: the family. Those critical of the show denounce the Griffins for their less-than-exemplary behavior. Proponents of the show—while not exactly disagreeing with that perception of the Griffins—differ in their approach, as they consider the Griffins satiric characters meant to be models of misbehavior. Reformative in nature, satire attacks vice and folly directly and indirectly, and it is in its combined use of direct and indirect satire that Family Guy, at times, misses the mark. By directly satirizing other families in its trademark cutaway transitions, Family Guy places its own family, the Griffins, in a position of superiority, which complicates matters when the Griffins indirectly become objects of satire. Especially regarding the relationship between Griffin family patriarch Peter and his daughter Meg, Family Guy oftentimes presents an imbalanced “satire” that would best be described as “abuse.”



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Theatre and Media Arts



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Family Guy, family, satire, animation, television, FOX Network, cutaway, indirect satire, direct satire