Another complaint has been filed against the controversial cartoon show “Family Guy” for its indecency and demoralizing nature.
But it’s a little different this time around.
Reported by Barbara Warburton, whose son Patrick plays the character of Joe Swanson on the show, it seems there’s nothing – or no one, not even her son – that will stop this mother on a mission.
Her goal, according to The Destin Log, is simple: Do whatever it takes to keep children from watching “corrupting” television programs such as “Family Guy.”
“The wrong messages are out there and that’s my main concern,” Warburton stated. “Shows like these are leading toward the destruction of morality ... nothing seems sacred anymore.”
As a member of the Parents Television Council, she and thousands of others have filed several complaints against the show, mainly surrounding episodes that violate the decency law.
The PTC has also objected to the animated TV show’s primetime scheduling, which gives children and those not of an appropriate age, more opportunity to watch the series.
Though Warburton has never watched the animated series herself, she has read both the show reviews and episode capsules, which were adequate for her to form a disapproving opinion of the show.
“I have highly encouraged [my son] to quit the show, but it hasn’t been very successful yet. I have always adored people in this industry who turn down roles because of their convictions, but Patrick isn’t one of those people.”
Despite his role as the paraplegic neighbor with severe anger issues, his mother attested to The Log that her son is a “compassionate, wonderful, caring and sincere person,” as well as an “amazing father and son.”
For him, continuing on the show was a business decision rather than a moral dilemma. “He wants to do shows and work with people that offend God [and] I don’t want to offend God ... It’s a dichotomy that we have.”
“He says it’s not his fault that parents let their kids watch the program. Many parents do keep an eye and supervise what their kids watch, but many parents don’t.”
While the PTC agrees that parents have the greatest responsibility when it comes to monitoring the viewing habits of their children, they also challenge actors, writers, producers, musicians, game-makers and advertisers to get serious about the vital role they play in shaping America’s culture.
They believe the gratuitous sex, foul language, and violence on TV, along with stories and dialogue that create disdain for authority figures, patriotism, and religion, are having a negative effect on children and undermining positive values parents are trying to instill in their kids, as noted on their website.
Shows like “Family Guy,” which promotes violence, profanity, and sexuality, is reason enough for Warburton to get down on her knees and pray; for her son to quit the show and take on more respectable roles; and for enough people to stop watching it.
PTC’s criticism and stance on hundreds of entertainment products has resonated with many. The organization has over 1.3 million members across the United States. But some have not been as supportive.
Seth MacFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy” was quoted in an earlier interview with Advocate saying, “They’re (PTC) literally terrible human beings. I’ve read their newsletter, I’ve visited their website, and they’re just rotten to the core. For an organization that prides itself on Christian values – I mean, I’m an atheist, so what do I know? – they spend their entire day hating people ...”
To clarify however, PTC is not a Christian or religious organization, though their national grassroots director did recognize the universal values of Christianity in many companies, including his.
“We’re a non-profit organization and our goal is to protect children from sex, violence and profanity in the media,” Gavin McKiernan told The Christian Post.
Clarifying the group’s position on MacFarlane’s show, he stated, “We don’t say that programs like ‘Family Guy’ can’t exist. We don’t think they should be banned from television. [But] there’s an appropriate time and place ... and people should not be forced to pay for it or subsidize it because it’s on the public airwaves.”
“If we were to get to a point when things were aired at appropriate times ... it would make the jobs of families a lot easier.”
Wondering if PTC ever felt like they themselves were offending anyone, McKiernan responded, “If people are offended by protecting children’s views and innocence and not having them be exposed to harmful media content, I wouldn’t know where to start.”
Speaking also with Bob Waliszewski, a media specialist from Focus on the Family’s Plugged In entertainment ministry, about the role of watchdogs in entertainment, Waliszewski told CP, “I’d like to make a strong point that disagreeing with somebody today is often equated with hatred. We just have to be able to come to the table and have the dissenting opinion.”
“It’s fine to disagree with someone. We have to be able to say some things are right and some things are wrong. And to say something is wrong does not mean that the group or individual [is in] the hate camp.”
Waliszewski added, “For most of the years of culture, people understood that, but for some reason as of late, it seems like you can’t talk about right and wrong without somebody putting out the hate label.”
A distinctly Christian organization, Plugged In’s purpose is to “shine a light on the world of popular entertainment” and “equip families with information about media products so they could make God-honoring decisions themselves.”
The Plugged In team refer to themselves as “information brokers.” Waliszewski told CP that his ministry is different from PTC in that they aren’t “calling for boycotts and demanding shows off the air.”
PTC clarified to CP that it doesn't call for boycotts, but simply objects to content or asks its members to contact creators and sponsors. It also does not demand that shows be removed from the airwaves but rather that the questionable content be changed or the timeslot of the show be moved.
Nevertheless, Waliszewski applauded groups like PTC “that have made some inroads in making television better” and was not opposed to the organization.
“My own personal mission is to equip families with the information they need about today’s movies, video games, popular music and TV shows and let them make a Christ-honoring decision in their families as to whether they rent the movie or not, watch the TV show or not, and etc.”
For Barbara Warburton, who voted against watching her son’s own show because she didn’t want to offend God, decisions like that are black and white.
“If people who were Christians acted like Christians, they wouldn’t be watching that show,” she asserted.
But Waliszewski informed CP that every person, every family, and every believer is different.
“You always have the right to do what you want. But if you want to know because you care for whatever reason about your kids, about your families, about your own heart and the internal message it receives, we might be a great place.”
Committed always to be honest, fair, informative and biblically based – though Waliszewski knows many who view the ministry as narrow-minded and bigoted – he puts trust in the readers that they would make wise decisions in regards to what they watched, heard or engaged in.
And with “Family Guy” renewed by Fox recently for yet another season, making it their 10th, the choice is still left to the viewer or non-viewer – unless PTC’s got something to say about it.