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Brent Bozell is on the case

The Parent’s Television Council released their annual list of the worst (in terms of obscene content) shows on primetime television today.

The top 3 are The War at Home (sucks, at least from the bits I’ve seen), Family Guy (best show on TV), and American Dad (decent enough). I’m inclined to view this as a compliment for Family Guy. It’s also not surprising; when I was in Louisiana this summer, the fundamentalist relative that happened to be around when we were watching Family Guy remarked, “I can’t believe this is on TV.” Who knows what would have happened if the relative that we were afraid to watch “This Week in God” around was there.

Now, I don’t really disagree with what the PTC is doing here. If they want to give us a list based on acceptable family viewing, that’s fine and probably useful. This is what gets me:

The group’s president, L. Brent Bozell, said he was alarmed that the three Fox Sunday night comedies are being marketed as family friendly.

“Families should not be deceived,” he said. “The top three worst shows all contain crude and raunchy dialogue with sex-themed jokes and foul language. Even worse is the fact that Hollywood is peddling its filth to families with cartoons.”

What? How is Family Guy marketed as family friendly? It appears that Bozell thinks that because it’s a cartoon, it’s marketed towards families. I realize Bozell isn’t the sharpest pencil in the box, but how long has The Simpsons been around? Hasn’t that separated primetime cartoons from children’s programming by now? Really, at this point, if you think a primetime cartoon means kids’ programming, you’re an idiot. Oh! Maybe because it’s called “Family Guy” it’s a family show? No.

Back in reality, a very sensible comment is made by another lobbying group:

“It is far more constructive to encourage parents to decide what their children watch on TV by using ratings or screening shows than to hurl insults at shows enjoyed by millions of Americans,” TV Watch spokeswoman Kathy Roeder said.

Of course it is. But we all know what Bozell and his group want to do. They want to impose their puritanical values on pop culture. You might say that pop culture could use an overhaul, any overhaul, but the worst shows are in the PTC’s family friendly category. Pop culture only gets more vacuous if we remove Family Guy and Arrested Development for American Idol and Extreme Makeover.

It all boils down to this: if you’re offended by cartoon infants saying “bastard,” grow up. If you don’t want your kids to see it, change the channel. Buy some sort of parental lock. Just stop trying to vilify the better shows on TV because you can’t handle swear words.

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