The acceptable rules of engagement for female characters keep expanding. Chivalry is dead and so are lots of women on television, splayed in all kinds of horrific poses. Graphic violence and bloody crime scenes were not necessary for people to enjoy "Police Woman" or "Hill Street Blues." Now it's seemingly essential. It makes you sentimental for the days of shows like "Mannix," where people would get shot and fall down. Was it realistic? No. Neither was it horrific.
Then there's the bloody violence and brutality in cartoons. It's not as "real," and therefore perhaps not as bothersome as live action and because of that, it's far more gruesome.
Imagine what would have been the audience's reaction, children and adults alike, a generation ago if, watching "The Flintstones," suddenly Fred Flintstone were to smack Wilma in the face, or Bam-bam were to pummel Betty Rubble with his stick.
Yet on today's primetime cartoons, aimed at adults and children alike, the creators think it's hilarious to abuse their female characters. On "Family Guy," the lead character tells his son that he should be the "best leader of the household" he can. So the son pushes his rear end into his sister's face and flatulates, and then punches his mother in the face. On "American Dad," a female dentist saves the lead character from a shooting. When she approaches for a hug, he punches her in the face and takes her gun. See the "hilarious" pattern?
Then there's the bloody violence. On "Family Guy," a joke about the "extensive divorce procedure required by 18th century society" is illustrated by the lead character shooting his daughter dead with a musket. On "American Dad," there's so-called comedy in suggesting lawn sprinklers are a deadly household hazard. In a cautionary film, two little girls are shown playing catch with a doll, when one girl trips and lands on the sprinkler, which pokes through her chest cavity. The sprinkler showers the house, lawn and the other little girl with blood.
The creator of those shows recently had his contract renewed, reportedly at $100 million.