'Family Guy' Plays the Grossest Moment in 'Girls' for Laughs

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Here's another reason to be mad at Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane's show Family Guy decided to campaign for the Emmys by spoofing Girls and making light of one of that show's most controversial scenes in order to make a point about Family Guy's outsider status. 

The ad, which Michael O'Connell of The Hollywood Reporter says runs in the June 21 issue of the magazine, features Family Guy characters Brian, Quagmire, Peter and Joe taking the place of Jessa, Marnie, Hannah and Shoshanna in the season one Girls poster. That in itself would be silly, but fine. What really pushes the boundaries of good taste on the ad is the tagline on top: "Here's A Load of Comedy to Shoot on Your Chest." 

For Girls fans the reference is immediately obvious. In the ninth episode of the season, titled "On All Fours," the character of Adam has sex with his then-girlfriend Natalia that begins with him asking her to crawl on her hands and knees and ends with him ejaculating on her chest. The episode set off a debate about whether the encounter was rape. Recently the Los Angeles Times asked series creator Lena Dunham, who shared writing credit on the episode with Jenni Konner, what she intended, and she said it's "hard for [her] to answer" the question of whether what Adam did was rape but defended her decision to show semen on Natalia's chest. "A moment like that, which is so humiliating to Natalia, wouldn't be visceral enough unless you show the offending substance," she said. 

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So it's not too hard to see the subtext of the latest Family Guy anti-campaign (last year the show sent out mailers to Emmy voters which featured Peter Griffin saying: "Come on, you bloated, overprivileged Brentwood Jews. Let us into your little club"): while everyone thinks MacFarlane is the grossest guy in Hollywood for his foul cartoons and singing "We Saw Your Boobs" at the Oscars, critical darlings like Dunham put sex scenes with semen on TV. If that's the point, it's as clever as complaining about the double standard of it being racist for a white person to use the n-word but rappers say it all the time. But it's also worse than that: while Girls may be a comedy, the scene the Family Guy ad references wasn't played for laughs. Unless, of course, the scene was hilarious to the Family Guy team, then the joke just reinforces why MacFarlane has the reputation that he does.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.