You can almost set your watch by it: At least once a season, Seth MacFarlane and his ‘Family Guy‘ writers will trample the boundaries of good taste and offend someone. This time around, it’s former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin, who said Sunday’s episode of Fox’s hit animated series — featuring a girl with Down syndrome who said her mother is “the former governor of Alaska” – was a “kick in the gut.” (Palin’s son, Trig, has Down syndrome.)
MacFarlane and his crew live to provoke people with their envelope-pushing brand of shock comedy. In fact, by ‘Family Guy’ standards, this incident is on the mild side. The show’s history is littered with oh-no-they-didn’t moments that led to lawsuits, boycotts… and even a network ban.
So in the interest of educating Palin and other newcomers to Quahog, let’s take a look back at the Griffin family’s five most offensive moments.
5. Everything’s Better With A Bag Of Weed
While marijuana legalization remains a polarizing topic on home soil, it’s what happened overseas that caused a stir. When ‘Family Guy’ aired this episode – with Stewie literally singing the praises of smoking pot – Venezuela’s Interior Minister Tarek El Aissaimi was outraged, saying the U.S. was blatantly promoting drug consumption. “We can observe how [the U.S. government] promotes and incites the population to consume that drug there,” he said.
4. You Have AIDS!
In one of the show’s trademark flashback sequences back in 2005, Peter joins a barbershop quartet and cheerily informs a hospital patient that he has “full-blown AIDS.” AIDS-related charities and support groups didn’t see it as a laughing matter, and called on Fox to apologize. They’re still waiting.
3. The Freaking FCC
After enduring years of FCC complaints from family watchdog groups, the show struck back in 2005 with this jaunty song-and-dance number lampooning the FCC’s silly hypocrisies. (“And if you find yourself with some young sexy thing, you’re gonna have to do her with your ‘ding-a-ling’… because you can’t say ‘penis’!”)
2. Prom Night Dumpster Baby
‘Family Guy’ has proven over the years that if there’s a hot-button social issue out there, they’ll make fun of it in song. Nowhere is this clearer than with this 2007 tune, featuring a crooning newborn climbing out of a dumpster and singing the blues—complete with backup singer babies dangling from umbilical cords.
1. I Need a Jew
This episode, “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein,” is packed with so many low blows at the Jewish faith (Peter sings about needing a Jew “to teach me how to whine and do my taxes”) that Fox shelved it for years. It finally debuted on Adult Swim in 2003. (Word has it there’s a still-unaired 2009 abortion-themed episode which will reportedly see the light of day on DVD.)