Our cosmopolitan elites have embraced the smutty Fox cartoon "Family Guy." A month ago, oh-so-sophisticated National Public Radio used their parody song "Everybody Poops" to report on Julius Genachowski (FCC), the incoming chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Perhaps it was NPR's way of welcoming in an Obama appointee who everyone expects will "lighten up" at the FCC and let Hollywood go wild with its "poetic license."
Now it's ABC's "Nightline" paying homage to "Family Guy," and in the process telling us a lot more about "Nightline" than about this stupid show. They presented the show's lame-brained "mastermind" Seth MacFarlane as a man of incredible talent, even a genius. At the top of their April 6 show, anchor Martin Bashir cooed: "Funny guy. No topic is too taboo, no subject off limits for this critically acclaimed cartoonist."
"Critically acclaimed" -- remember that phrase. That may be the DVD-sales lingo that MacFarlane wants, but it's a stretch. When "Family Guy" first debuted in 1999, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales called it "utterly excremental." Last fall, a Radar Online critic dismissed the show as "increasingly forced and tired. In short, the show sucks."
But to ABC, this was a heartwarming story of a Connecticut boy who grew rich by never maturing past the seventh grade. Bashir toasted MacFarlane as the story began: "His sense of humor may not appeal to everyone. It's often base, insulting and blasphemous, but to many, it's also the stuff of comedic genius and at just 35, it's made him the highest-paid TV writer in history."
MacFarlane reportedly signed a $100-million contract with Fox and is now working on a third cesspool of a cartoon series.
The reporter for this segment, titled "Seriously Funny," was ABC's Bill Weir, last seen goofily hailing Barack Obama's inauguration as a day when "even the seagulls must have been awed." Weir didn't come to this interview like it was time for a "60 Minutes" interrogation of an oil company CEO. Apparently, the more MacFarlane pollutes the airwaves, the more reporters like Weir will merely bow and scrape.
"In a town full of talent, Seth MacFarlane is a rare quadruple threat," Weir exclaimed. "A guy who can write comedy, score music, animate characters and provide their voices." He then repeated "at age 35, he is reportedly the highest paid writer/producer in television history." Weir listed the show's protesters, but "his shows raise the most ire with religious and parental watchdog groups. If there is a taboo line, chances are MacFarlane has leaped over it."