Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Family Guy Gets Texas All Wrong

Family Guy is currently in its ninth season. The show has become a cultural phenomenon watched in almost every major nation in the world. The show was canceled after its third season and again, briefly, in 2008. The TV show takes place in a fictional town in Rhode Island and follows the middle class Griffin family as they approach controversial topics and talk about current events and celebrities.

In Season 5 Episode 15, the baby of the family eats too many wafers and chugs red wine at a church service causing him to throw up. The members of the church immediately come to the conclusion that the baby, Stewie, is possessed by the devil.

The Griffin family flees Rhode Island to visit relatives in Texas. From this point in the episode clear until the end of the show, Family Guy constantly pokes fun by using stereotypes about Texas that paint Texans as a crude, unintelligent, and radical people.

On the way to Texas, Brian, the family's dog, says We're going to Texas in search of religious tolerance? That's going to be like getting Sneakers O'Toole to take his sneakers off. While Texas is known for its over sized mega churches, the state is home to a growing number of Hindu, Sikhs, Buddhist and Muslim residents. In the year 2000 the US Census counted approximately 400,000 Muslims and 128,000 Jews in the state, the majority of whom live in the Dallas and Houston metro areas. 53.6% of the Texas population reported their religion as Protestant or Catholic in the 2000 Census. However, this hardly means that the state's citizens are religiously intolerant.

When the family reaches Texas to stay with the mom's (Lois) sister, they find the house is empty. It is at this point in the storyline that they meet the neighbors. The male neighbor introduces himself and his wife saying that she is a homemaker and I am a queer chaser and beater. Brian replies by telling Lois these Texans are socially backward and politically they are all stubborn as a mule. Brian continues to claim that Texas is a bad place because it is a red state full of right wing nut jobs. Eventually Brian goes to a liquor store to purchase liquor where he is given a free gun. The liquor store employee explains to Brian that it is Texas state law to get a free gun with every liquor purchase to which Brian replies, This place officially sucks worse than the WNBA.

The Griffin's two oldest kids, Meg and Chris, sneak into President George Bush's ranch home in Crawford, TX on a dare from other kids. Inside the house there are pictures of President Bush and Ronald Reagan, President Bush and Saddam Hussein, President Bush and Osama Bin Laden and President Bush and the Devil. When the kids meet the President he gives them a can of beer and imparts a life lesson about honesty, integrity and cold filtered draft beer.

The final insult to Texans is when Peter goes out to brand a cow with his new found friends. Peter, the father, tells them he is mentally handicapped and could have never had this much fun in Rhode Island where he is from. The men angrily strap Peter to a homemade electric chair and one of the men says In Texas we execute the retarded.

For renters who are looking to move into Lewisville, TX apartments, the show is a far cry from what can be expected from the community. The entire show is not an accurate depiction of the residents who live in Lewisville Apartments, or the rest of Texas for that matter. According to the Family Guy portrayal Texans are all idiotic have no tolerance or sense of culture. The show seems to focus on intolerance of sexuality, religion, mental ability and decry's Texas's protection of gun ownership rights and political affiliation. The reality is that Texas is more racially, religiously and culturally diverse than many other states in the USA. The people in Texas are kind, generous and understanding. The state has become a top destination for residents leaving other states as well as for immigrants moving to the United States for job opportunities.

Seth MacFarlane and the Family Guy writing staff should visit Texas and get a real picture of what the state is like if they ever decide to run another episode bashing Texas. Perhaps they should check out a UMoveFree review to get a better depiction of what Texas residents are like.

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