Family Guy is one of the most controversial shows on television because of its inappropriate humor and graphic violence. Some may even say that Family Guy is “distasteful and offensive” to the American culture (Peacocke 299). With this in mind, what if someone told you that Family Guy uses these jokes in a positive manner? Would you believe that? Would you think they’re crazy? Well, in “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious”, Antonia Peacocke demonstrates how Family Guy and the “distasteful and offensive” jokes are actually used for the better than for the worse (Peacocke 299). Through the use of imagery and logical appeal, it is provable that these jokes have a positive effect on a person’s psychological self.
Family Guy is an adult comedy that picks fun at controversial issues and topics that range anywhere from something so small as theft, to something so large as rape. However, Family Guy is a show based off a concept known as satire which is defined as “the of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” Peacocke even brings to our attention that “Family Guy intelligently satirizes some aspects of American culture.” (303) There are parts of this program that are more noticeably satirical, whereas some of these satirical jokes are blindly missed because of the harsh reality of the concept in which they are poking fun. The characters in Family Guy try to comically bring us to the realization of the things that people in American culture do without even noticing. For example, there is a scene in this show where “Brian and Stewie demonstrate insightfully and comically demonstrate how Americans are willing to follow the instructions of a celebrity blindly-and less willing to admit that they are doing so.” (Peacocke 305) These go right back to having a positive effect on your psychological self because it allows you to relate these right back to reality, and realize that these are things that humans do without tWould I say that Family Guy is a show that you should watch with your family on a Saturday evening after you’re done eating dinner? No, probably not. Would I recommend that you show this program to your thirteen-year-old daughter and her friends while they have a sleepover? Again, probably not. Even though this program is titled Family Guy, I would definitely not consider it a family show. With that being said though, I would recommend it to older teenagers and adults as this point does prove some good points. Peacocke informs us of her belief that “Family Guy has its intelligent points, and some of its seemingly “coarse” scenes often have hidden merit.” (308) By this point, a common question is probably “what hidden merit could possibly be in this show?” Well, being able to laugh at some of the harsh jokes they make on this show is good for your psychological self. There is something about the taboos mentioned in this show that make people find it wrong, and not appropriate. Those individuals are slightly correct. Family Guy is definitely inappropriate for children and individuals in their early teenage years, but for young adults and adults, there is “a sort of relief by breaking down taboos” in a comical manner. (Peacocke 308) These jokes and episodes will allow you the right to be able to laugh at some of these serious things, and it is important to be able to do so.
A common question here is how does this relate to Freud? Well, Peacocke mentions towards the end of the article that all “jokes have their origins, and the funniest ones are those that hit home the hardest; if we listen to Freud, these are the ones that let our animalistic and aggressive impulses surface from the unconscious.” (308) It is a positive thing to be able to release those impulses in a safe, and positive manner through comedy, whether it is harsh comedy or not. Some, and most, of the satirical jokes used in Family Guy are jokes about controversial topics that most do not joke about in the real world. While watching this show, just make sure to not lose sight of the real world. There is a slight, yet important, “distinction between a shamelessly candid but insightful joke and a merely shameless joke” and that is something that should not be forgotten. (Peacocke 308)
The Satirical comedy in Family Guy varies from normal comedy, to harsh comedy, and that is not a bad thing. These jokes do have a positive effect on the psychological part of your brain, and being able to laugh at the satire is okay. However, it is just super important to “not lose sight of what’s truly unfunny in real life-even as we appreciate what’s hilarious in fiction.” (Peacocke 308) Next time you watch an episode of Family Guy pay more attention to the satirical comedy before you start to categorize the show as offensive. Who knows, maybe you will start to enjoy the harsh, yet satirical comedy that comes along with the Griffin family.