Saturday, March 4, 2017

CARTOON REVIEW: Family Guy, "You May Now Kiss the, uh, Guy Who Receives"

Been a loooooong time since I was here last. New laptop. Working two jobs. Personal life's been nuts lately. Meanwhile, I was dabbling in making my own game... but I'll get to that at a later date.

What really got me to come back was a comment on my last review: the "Meet the Quagmires" episode of Family Guy, which if you recall was nothing but Seth MacFarlane's unhealthy obsession with the 1980's for twenty-odd minutes. One user complained about all the hate the show gets, comparing it to the hatedom the Sonic series seems to get.

The difference between Sonic and Family Guy is that the former at least tries to do better. It's come a long way since 2006 when S-Genesis, S-Rivals, and Secret Rings were released (there were reports of a fourth game, but it seems to be a ghost story). Some of the newer ones are better than others, though those S-Boom games are pretty much a quick-buck rush job to cash in on a cartoon.

Family Guy has also come a long way since 2006. A long way down. Thoroughly unlikable characters, three minutes of Conway Twitty to pad out an episode, and ratings traps out the wazoo. Back when it was revived, admitting that you didn't like the cartoon led to you being torn apart by the cartoon's brainless fan-zombies.

Things are different now. People are older and wiser.

Since the last FG evisceration was such a hit (for me), I think I should do another one. If not for kicks, then for the guy who ran to support it.

Riddle me this, Batman: "What happens when MacFarlane tries to bring representation to LGBT people?" Find out with "You May Now Kiss the, uh, Guy Who Receives".


We start at the airport where the Griffins go to pick up the episode's figurehead Brian's gay cousin Jasper and his boyfriend... but we'll burn that bridge in a moment, we're almost at the 00:45 mark and the manatees are getting antsy because they haven't made a cutaway yet.

Moby Dick complaining about not getting the cereal he wants. Yawn.
Stewie sneaks away from his relatives, talks a flight operator into taking a smoke break, and proceeds to direct Matthew McConaughey's private jet into the ocean. Pretty much in the same vein as classic Stewie, but starting to slip into what he devolved into now.

Also, is it just me or does MacFarlane have a real hate-on for McConaughey? I don't get it.

Then Jasper's plane lands, complete with a pink triangle decal, and simulates anal penetration with the docking equipment. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the First Grade!

This is where the fun begins...

Our heroes for the episode, ladies and gentlemen... if you can call them that.

Enter Jasper, or as I affectionately call him, "the Tumor". He'd previously appeared before when Brain went to Hollywood and became a porn director. Now he's been brought back because he's convenient for the plot. There's only one problem: the character himself.

Remember what I said that in spite of MacFarlane's supposed pro-LGBT stances, he can only portray them as negative stereotypes? Surprise! That's the Tumor's whole schtick.

Look at the dude! It's like Jack Chick, Che Guevara, David Duke, and Fred Phelps somehow transcended time, came together, and collaborated on his character. Not helping things is that annoying lisp that people gave them back in the day and the stock mannerisms to boot. He's like the gay equivalent of blackface!

Hell, I'm not even gay and I feel insulted by his presence!

I'm not the most politically correct person by any stretch of the imagination, but geez! Who thought this character was a good idea?



Anyway, Jasper talks about his flight over and talks about how much he wanted to bang a couple of sailors or something, I don't know! I can't get past his lisp and vocabulary. Stewie thinks he'll work out as well has Peter did when he joined the Proclaimers.

Ooh! We went 2.5 minutes without a non-sequitur!

The joke here is that Testes Chin wants to be the lead singer, but he can't sing.

Later, Quahog's mayor, Adam West (I wonder if Burt Ward has a part in the town government) is about to unveil a statue. At the same time, Chris is struggling to work up the gumption to talk to some girl called Melissa. Dude, save that hetero crap for some other time! This episode's obviously not about dudes who like boobs!

West dedicates this statue to the recently-fallen in the Iraq War:

Sculpted by Chris Bores.
Needless to say that the town isn't pleased by a statue to a cereal mascot (though given Kellogg's financial woes in recent months, they would have been grateful). Melissa is disgusted by how much tax money was spent on the statue and all Chris can think about is the time he and his friends ate mushrooms and got deep voices from doing so... guess the writers had ten seconds left to fill.

For dinner, the Griffins go eat Greek and Tumor runs his mouth about how much he likes Lois' earrings. Then Stewie pretty much voices how I feel about the whole depiction of their characters, which results in the Tumor and Ricardo dancing to a beat Stewie was trying to mock them with. How far back has this episode set the gay community back? To 1982?

Peter asks a question about shower-porking at the YMCA, which makes Lois prompt a cutaway about Popeye going to the doctor.

You say human beings aren't supposed to look like that, doc?
I don't think men were meant to have waddles like a rooster.
Wasn't that just funny? Just listen to Popeye's gibberish. I think I need new boxers after all that laughing.

But seriously, I don't get it. Was Jack Mercer too hard to understand or something?

Aw, who am I kidding? This whole cutaway was just to fill up a gap.

Back to the plot... the big reveal the Tumor wants to give is that he wants to marry Ricardo. The fact that one is a human and the other is a dog is one thing, but it would seem that that aspect was lost on the writers.

Then Stewie gives a bit of routine Meg-bashing, based on the situation of the discovery of same-sex marriage:

You hear that Meg? Guys can marry other guys now. So, ummm... this is awkward, but... I mean, if they can do that.. that's pretty much it for you, isn't it? Might as well pack it in, game over.

If I may borrow the phrase: "Shut up, Stewie."

The next day, Chris finds Melissa, who invites him to a Young Republicans meeting.

W-W-W-Wait. Republicans? In a Seth MacFarlane cartoon?
Why do I get the feeling this is going to be a one-way street?
Let's hear Melissa explain their meetings:

We help those who already have the means to help themselves. Also, we perpetuate the idea that Jesus chose America to destroy nonbelievers and brown people.
Knew it, knew it, KNEW IT!

Not understanding her, Chris goes to a meeting of the Society of Arch-Republican Students (SARS). The club chancellor (Ah, trying to go for a Hitler thing. How... trite) tells Chris that in order to join, he has to insult Bill Clinton. He does so when Bubba is out being, well, Bubba...

Oh, if only the Popular Vote had actual merit, then
America would have this bozo back in the White House.
But seriously, Hillary can kiss a duck's ass.

Meanwhile, people are protesting the Dig 'Em statue, resident Jewish stereotype Mort Goldman takes offense to his name including a contraction. Yyyyyeah, just wait until Road to the Multiverse (if I choose to do another one).

West tries to find a distraction from a handy-dandy list which includes scapegoating blacks, the French, Jews (twice, hur hur), before trying to jingle his keys before the mob. Doesn't work well, but it's smirk-worthy.

Cut to Seth MacFarlane's Sound of Music, which involves a nun decapitating Franz. Geez, I hope MacFarlane doesn't attempt to remake that movie...

When the Tumor reveals that they're going to hold the wedding at the Griffin residence, Lois gets nervous at the news. Of course, Mr. Bullhorn is on board with the whole thing (Seriously, they didn't even ask his owners?).

Lois isn't comfortable about the wedding and tries to talk to Peter about it. He's indifferent about the situation, saying it's no big deal... and they get interrupted by the news that West has put prohibition on SSM in Quahog in order to make people forget about the Dig 'Em statue.

So wait. This is an episode focusing on SSM?
Oh, the ban will get lifted by the end!

Then Matthew McConaughey shows up, having survived the crash, and Stewie kills him with an arrow. Seriously, what's the story?

Buck up, Tumor! It's not like a bunch of jihadists are going to
use you to see if gravity still works!

The Tumor's upset that he can't get his wedding and Brian encourages him to keep fighting. Peter, meanwhile, stuffs his face with brownies from a gay bakery that the Tumor got to comfort his depression. So, if he's a dog, why would he eat chocolate if it would kill him? Is he that suicidal? I don't want to sound like a monster, but given the dude's bad rep among people, they'd probably welcome him scarfing it down.

By the way, innuendo about the brownie having nuts and fudge. I'm pretty sure that joke came from someone who hasn't learned how to count past ten yet.

The Tumor leaves the dining room and won't be seen again until he gets married.

Brian resolves to fix things so the wedding can happen. The Tumor, after all, did so much for Brian. Like the time he let Brian room with him in West Hollywood when he was a porn director, or...


I can't remember anything. If there were a cutaway here (an appropriate time), it would help. But those are just used for incoherent jokes by this time.

Chris, now dolled up in his Sunday best because he's fallen in with Brian/Seth's idea of "the wrong crowd" says that the Bible says SSM is an abomination. Brian takes offense and this and shoots back "Oh, don't give me that Young Republican crap, Chris! The Bible also says a senior citizen built an ark and rounded up two of every animal."

Yyyyyeah... gonna show your Christophobia, eh, MacFarlane?
First, off there were seven pairs of each kosher and one pair of each unclean animal type.
Secondly, despite what Ken Ham or Kirk Cameron* will tell you, the early chapters of Genesis were intended to be quasi-parodies of the Creation and Flood myths of the Jews' pagan neighbors in order to show reality as having purpose.

What? I can't continue my tangent? I have to go back to the review?

Aaand the manatees give us Noah, an elephant, a penguin, and a biological impossibility.
(Is it a mammal or did the Penguiphant hatch from an egg?)

So Brian goes door to door trying to get people to sign a petition to overturn the SSM ban. Quagmire laughs it off because homosexuals don't procreate, Herbert the Tired Gag That Only Needed To Be Used One Time hypocritically calls Brian a pervert, and then we get a one-off character, Bottomtooth, who won't sign due to religious reasons. Let me guess, he goes into his house when Brian leaves and slurs "Amazing Grace" while playing the piano?

Oh. Of course. Shoulda known.

Meanwhile, the Wrong Crowd learns about Brian's petition and try to get Chris to destroy it (in exchange for touching Melissa's breasts). Oh, adult animation: sex and drugs, drugs and sex. Why anything different? Of course, Chris is clueless is outright told to do so.

Lois goes...

What did we DO to you?
Did a minister pop your balloon when you were four years old and you held a grudge ever since?
Were you forced to watch that ludicrous Rock: It's Your Decision! movie until you dumped your Michael Jackson albums?
It hasn't even been two minutes!

She goes to a minister, who shows her a film allegedly made by God, though it's clearly credited to Pat Robertson. It's all about making LGBT people out to be fans of Madonna and alien bugs with acid for blood. Geez, thirteen minutes in and I already want to do something to mock the piss out of you!

Maybe I should. =)

Also, the minister wants to watch My Giant next, causing Lois to violently object. Methinks that if this episode were made after A Million Ways To Die in the West and the minister wanted to show that next, Lois would be jumping wildly begging him to start the film up.

Brian eventually gets 9,999 signatures from the town's gay district and tries to get a conflicted Lois to be number 10,000. When she opens up about being on a fence in regard to the whole situation, Brian takes offense that she's not supportive and starts an argument with her. Lois decides to move to her parents' for until the whole thing blows over, and wants to take Stewie. Screw you, Lois! You should be ashamed for not taking Brian's side without a thought, because, dammit, "Love Wins".

Stewie doesn't want to miss the wedding due to an extremely elaborate situation that he only saw on TV. The cutaway just shows him on a couch, wishing to be present at what he was watching. I'd say something, but given the lack of movement typical of a MacFarlane cartoon, I won't.

After Chris torches the petition, Brian spends twenty-four hours trying to get a new one from the gay district. Even going as far as to watch Sex and the City with a gay couple. Because stereotypes (also a possible jab at Sarah Jessica Parker, whom MacFarlane dislikes for some reason).

Buckle up. It's time for a nosedive.

After West dumps the petition out the window, Brian steals a security guard's gun and holds him hostage. It attracts barricades and police, naturally. But, it's okay! As long as the Tumor gets everything he wants, and he will, he can be a terrorist.

If it's for the advancement of gay rights, acts of terrorism are A-OK!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Nazis you like to portray anyone right-of-center as do this kind of stuff to get their way?

Meanwhile, Lois and Stewie go to the Pewterschmidt estate, where the latter complains about the random crap in a candy dish. The news, identifying Brian as a "homosexual gunman", shows the hostage situation (also, Stewie finds a key to Volkswagon Scirocco, which he somehow knows about). Then it hits her: Lois' parents conditioned her to believe that marriage was only between heterosexuals and love had no part in it. This prompts an Elizabeth Smart cutaway.

Haha! It's funny because an underage girl got sexually abused. -_-

With the situation at the city hall going south, Peter takes it upon himself to calm Brian down. He brags to his friend Joe about being the Tauntaun that Han Solo stuffed Luke inside to save him from freezing during The Empire Strikes Back. Didn't the Tauntaun die in that scene?

Peter goes into West's office and talks to Brian with catchphrases, a laughtrack, and Italian accents. The point is...?

Lois, shows up and tells Brian that he's hurting his cause with this stunt. Too late, no sympathy from me.

The whole scene was so tender, that West is convinced to destroy the bill.

Wait a second, Jasper gets to marry Ricardo after all?
I've been very careful as not to spoil that over the course of this recap.

Shall I recommend going to Hallab Bakery for the cake? I'm sure they wouldn't mind!

Oh, the Tumor doesn't get a wedding dress? I am so disappoint! (Not really)
Well, he does look more like an actual tumor now. But then again, he wore a
wedding dress in the alternate ending... more on that in a minute.

By the way, West agrees to play the chaplain because Stewie gave him those keys to that Volkswagen.

Hahaha, BLOW ME.

But if I were to make a recommendation for your honeymoon, might I recommend Mecca? I'm positive the LGBT community would celebrate the outcome of the trip**.


Was this supposed to help the gay rights movement? Because I can't tell whether this or I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry did more to hurt it. I have often joked that MacFarlane is desperately trying to out-Sandler Adam Sandler, so there's that.

So who do I root for?

I can't sympathize with Brian. The writers designate him to be a hero, but not only is this marred by his reputation as a walking MacFarlane tract, the fact that he has to resort to terrorism to get his way diminishes anyone siding with him in this case.

He also gets off scot-free after doing this because West was so moved by his commitment to his cousin. Yeah. I bet the US Government was so impressed by the Japanese Empire's attack on Pearl Harbor that they ceded Hawaii to them.

I'm also pretty sure America was sympathetic to the Orlando nightclub shooter, too.

You don't point a gun at a public official and expect to get a pinky-slap on the wrist. This cartoon shows what may happen if fictional situations occurred in real life, like Scrooge McDuck's swimming pool of gold. All things considered, Brian should have gone to prison for his stunt. But NOPE! He's where the creator stands on the subject, so he's immune to karma!

Also, when Lois reveals that she's stuck on a fence, Brian gets upset that she's not siding with him right out of the gate... for planning a wedding at his owners' home without asking first.

I can't sympathize with the Tumor. I don't call Jasper "the Tumor" because of all the pink he wears. His whole act is a great simulation.

I'm not even alone in this mindset. Tons of people hate this dog's guts because of how annoying he is and consider him the gay equivalent of Scrappy-Doo.

By the way, did you know that MacFarlane wanted the Tumor to appeal to LGBT audiences? It's like trying to create a black character for a show and having him wear his pants down to his ankles all the time, gold chains and teeth, and an unhealthy obsession with watermelon!

You can't go with one's preferences and make that be the character. It's no different than, say, making a show about established superheroes, neglect the teams personalities, and just let their powers be the focus. This is why people who've only seen Superfriends think Aquaman's a lame character.

Some people can make gay characters that won't turn off straight audiences (Naoko Takeuchi being a prime example), but MacFarlane can only portray them in two modes: 1) offensive stereotype or 2) George Takei.

Hey, Sulu! Care to tell us about the Comfort Women one day?

Ignoring the fact that it's a human-animal relationship (something lost on Bob Sassone) whole act gets worse when you look at the alternate ending, where MacFarlane DOES go for the LCD and gives the Tumor a wedding dress:

Yep. Ricardo (who can't speak English) was oblivious to the fact the Tumor wanted to marry him and, thus, is an unwilling participant. This could only end in divorce.

So, because of this, I do at least have one character to sympathize with... for the reasons the writers didn't intend.

I can't sympathize with Peter. He's barely there. Same with Meg and Stewie, the latter of whom does little more than lob insults at the Tumor that backfire.

I can't sympathize with Chris. The only reason he joined the Wrong Crowd was because he wanted to grope the bad guy. He was oblivious to the mustache-twirling objectives the writers laid out for them. He was just a dumb kid, no hate or sympathy for him either way.

Lois comes close. She's conflicted about the whole situation, but can't get any definitive help. Brian's bitchiness towards her initial reluctance does draw some sympathy for her. But ultimately, she doesn't even call the dog out on his terrorism aside from telling him to let West go because he's hurting his own efforts.

If there's anyone I sympathize with especially after sitting through this episode (and most other works of MacFarlane and his ilk), it's the people we're told are the villains.

The Right-of-Center and Christians in general are treated as monsters or idiots. Melissa was portrayed a manipulative bitch preying on Chris' stupidity to meet her goal. Just a mustache-twirler. When West lifted the ban, I half-expected her to shrilly shriek, change into a bat, and fly away.

Both parties tend to get the short end of a very long stick, which I often encourage them to start their own media and not wait for the day Hollywood gives it to them (which will never come). Not news commentary, entertainment.

In the wake of June 2015, there was much hullabaloo at the legalization of SSM in the US (at least from celebrities, most other gave a resounding "Meh!"). Meanwhile, in the Middle East, ISIS was driving my people from what had been their homes for centuries and were throwing people accused of being gay off of buildings.

Nobody said a word about that fact, they merely continued to celebrate while death was poured out upon the region. Save for me.

Nowadays, the LGBT community has become so popular to depict, that they've arguably become overrepresented. I tend to let them be (provided they don't pull an Ernst Rohm like the activists did with Sweet Cakes and Memories Pizza), so I would leave others to depict them. After all, there's other groups that don't really get positive coverage.

Maybe I should get on that! =)

So was there any silver lining? Well, Adam West was amusing to watch at least.

I'm DLAbaoaqu. I wonder if anyone will read this?

*MacFarlane probably assumes he's the pinnacle of Christian thought solely because you recognize him from Growing Pains.
**I'm not being sarcarstic. Gay people REALLY hate this character.