Family Guy is an adult animated sitcom that revolves around the shenanigans of Peter Griffin and friends. The sitcom draws humor from its caricature of American Society, and when it comes lampooning issues, it leaves no stone unturned: from race and gender to religion and politics -- Family Guy makes for satire writ large. Not surprisingly, Family Guy has been criticized for its political incorrectness. Nevertheless, the unabashed sitcom had been nominated for many awards -- most prominent among them, the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series.
In this essay, I will analyze one episode (episode 14 from seasons 3 "Peter Griffin: Husband, Father...., Brother?" released December 6, 2001) in the context of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Specifically, I will analyze the specific narratives about race reflected in this particular episode. Moreover, I will explore the rhetorical devices employed by the characters.
Let 's begin with the the synopsis: Peter 's son Chris joins a basketball team and adopts the vernacular of his black team mates, ebonics. But Chris ' new vernacular doesn 't sit well with Peter, so the unsatisfied father takes it upon himself to teach Chris about their white Irish culture. In the processes of doing so, however, Peter happens upon a genealogy book tracing his family history tree; and much to his surprise, Peter discovers that his great-great-great-great grandfather was a slave named Nate. Surprised initially, Peter decides to identify as a black man and demand reparation from his father in law Carter, whose family owned Nate. Peter does receive reparation but, in humorous twist, looses his white privileges as well.
As we see from the synopsis, the episode concerns the controversial issue of race. Therefore...
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...ation from Carter. Peter 's reparation is a mockery of race tensions-- which the series is notorious for -- but it makes a point. For instance, I 'm certain of my European ancestry, but no sensible person who is of theirs too, claims he is European. By the logic of the one drop rule, white people could hardly exist, since all whites -- and all of us for that matter -- are descendants of dark skin humanoids from Africa.
Family Guy indeed caricatures American society. In its episodes, it weaves hot button issues and makes a mockery of them. In the context of CRT, we saw how this episode parodied race relations between the majority white and the minority black. But through the lens of CRT, we analyzed issues attached to the master narrative -- systemic racism, the status quo, and the negligence of a counter narrative -- and deciphered their deeper implications.
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