Bloggers are outraged about a rape joke in the Family Guy and Simpsons crossover special “The Simpson Guy.” And creator Seth MacFarlane is responding like only he can. Peter (MacFarlane) draws an offensive cartoon about domestic violence but he’s surprised by the online reaction.
“It’s not like the internet to go crazy about something small and stupid,” he manages to say with a straight-face.
The joke in question features Stewie attemping to prank call Moe’s Tavern like his new idol Bart, who makes an innocuous joke. He asks for “Lee Keybum” which sounds like “leaky bum.” Stewie doesn’t quite get the nuance.
“Hello, Moe?” Stewie says. “Your sister’s being raped!”
Stewie asks if he did it right but Bart is speechless and just stares at him.
Rape jokes desensitize people to the real thing claims Tim Winter, president of the advocacy group Parents Television Council. Winter attempted to have to joke pulled from the episode.
“We don’t mock certain groups because we realize that it is highly insensitive and morally wrong,” insisted Winter, who’s clearly never seen the show. “Why wouldn’t we do the same thing about sexual assault?”
Defenders of the show are equally clueless if they believe creator Seth MacFarlane was trying to ignite some kind of social conversation on rape suggested by Katherine Hull Fliflet, a spokeswoman for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).
“I think the show is making it clear that rape is not funny by how they are positioning the joke,” Katherine told AP. “It’s my hope that would be the viewers’ take-away.”
It’s not. The take-away is that Stewie flubbed a prank call, epically.
“In context it’s pretty funny,” MacFarlane told Entertainment Weekly.
Saying ‘rape is not funny’ is like saying ‘murder is not funny.’ The Simpsons regularly features Bart’s favorite cartoon The Itchy and Scratchy Show, in which a cartoon mouse decapitates a cartoon cat. Has anyone become desensitized to Muslim terrorist beheading people? Do you think Matt Groening been making a statement about cartoon violence all these years? Probably, but MacFarlane ain’t Groening.
This is hardly the most offensive joke ever told on Family Guy, which regularly features incest scenes even between Lois and her baby Stewie, who develops a spanking fetish in “Peter’s Two Dads.”
The problem is that the crossover is drawing in Simpsons fans who wouldn’t normally watch Family Guy. But make no mistake this is a Family Guy episode that takes place in Springfield. If you don’t like Family Guy, Simpsons cameos aren’t going to change your mind so do yourself a favor turn on NBC and watch some wholesome NFL football.
Family Guy season 13 premiere “The Simpson Guy” airs Sunday at 9PM on Fox.