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"Family Guy" actor Warburton takes Sarah Palin's point

Not everyone who works on Fox animated sitcom "Family Guy" is standing in solidarity with its Valentine's Day episode's Sarah Palin gag.

Cast member Patrick Warburton told TV critics Wednesday he objected to the joke.

"I know it's satire but, personally, that [joke] bothered me too," Warburton said on a conference call to promote his other primetime show, CBS's sitcom "Rules of Engagement," which returns for a fourth season on March 1. (On "Family Guy" Warburton does the voice of the wheelchair-bound police officer, Joe.)

"I know that you have to be an equal-opportunity offender, but there are some things that I just don't think are funny."

The former Alaskan governor/GOP vice presidential contender and her daughter Bristol lashed out at the show and at "Fox Hollywood" network over the episode, in which a teenaged girl character with Down syndrome say her mother was a former governor of Alaska. Sarah Palin's youngest son has the same condition.

Series creator Seth MacFarlane shrugged it off with a statement about the show being an "equal-opportunity offender."

Even the actress who played the Down syndrome character, Andrea Fay Friedman, got into the act. The actress, who also has Down syndrome, sent an e-mail to The New York Times last week saying "I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor."

"I thought the line 'I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska' was very funny," the NYT reports Friedman said in her e-mail, adding, "I think the word is 'sarcasm'."

Warburton appears to be the first person involved with the show in any way, shape, or form who has publicly broken ranks.

"Look, I have fun. I like Seth. He's got a great comic mind and I think that the show can be fantastically funny. But I do believe that it can be hurtful at times," Warburton said in response to a question about the episode posed by WaPo Team TV's "Family Guy" bureau chief Emily Yahr.

The situation was bound to happen, given that "Family Guy," being a cartoon, is given a longer leash than any live-action comedy, Warburton speculated.

"A show like that ... is going to offend everybody at one point or another," the actor said.

"My mother actually believes my soul's in peril for being on the show," he added.

Note to Ms. Palin -- he was making a joke.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 24, 2010; 5:40 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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GDI Whatburton, don't pull some PC crap you chicken!

Posted by: ozpunk | February 24, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm a person who likes all kinds of jokes....but I'm not sure i get this one.
Can someone break it down for me real simple like? What exactly is supposed to be the funny part? Is making the connection between Sara Palin, down syndrome and the cartoon girl supposed to be the part to make you laugh? That's just dumb.

Posted by: rosegrlz | February 24, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Rosegrlz - The point is to poke fun at that dumb Sarah Palin person obviously. Anything that stirs up the blood of that trailer trash Alaskan has to be a good thing right?

Posted by: AussieRob | February 24, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The character on the show was a parody of a girl with down syndrome that took prototypical ds sufferer concept and flipped it upside down for comedic effect. Instead of her being a kind, affable and naive girl, she was wicked, conniving and abusive; so it was in a way inferring that even a person with down syndrome could be as much of a jerk as anyone else. This sort of humor is fairly common to Family Guy, whereby a character plays to culturally held stereotypes to draw us in and then diverges from there for comedic purposes. An example would be the original episode with Mr Wharburton's character Joe. Peter did not know that he was in a wheelchair until Joe showed up to a company softball game; the joke being that there was no way Joe would be any good at the sport. On the contrary, he turned out to be the best player that they had. Also, Joe is a police officer and chases badguys in his wheelchair which is certainly an unexpected activity for a person of his disability. If you think about it, Family Guy actually promotes people with disabilities through including them in their humor and allowing them to be vehicles for comedy and not just be the butt of jokes. The Sarah Palin wisecrack was a topical one-liner since we all know that her son has down syndrome and Seth MacFarland enjoys pop culture references in his comedy and especially enjoys making fun of politicians.

Posted by: ozpunk | February 25, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, there's humor & sarcasm - and there's humor & sarcasm. We used to love those jokes that totally trashed a quadrapedic child named Johnny, as in "Can Johnny come out to play some baseball, Mrs. Jones?" "Of course not, you know he doesn't have any arms or legs!" "That's OK - we just wanted to use him for second base!" As kids, we thought that was high humor - too bad and t.s. for the physically impaired! Being the butt of ANY joke was worth the disrespect.

Obviusly, in this case, the stereotype of Palin was worth being totally hurtful and cruel; because the little episode would have been funny/cute without the Down Syndrom girl/actress having to drag in Palin's name. But it's obvious that this is the only level on which most libtards can think & operate. We'll continue seeing more of this in the next couple of years - and beyond. Only it will probably sink to a much lower low (if that's possible).

Hey, why not make fun of Obama's poor African half-brother who lives in a shack? Or make fun of his hidden birth certificate or his non-existant record at Columbia? Gosh, this is beginning to sound like fun! Why not have at it, Seth, O Very Funny Comedic Brain? While you're at it, why not make fun of his oddball white mother, the one who sort of abandonned him so many times (like his African father did) and the fact that he's only a high yeller type of Negro (one who speaks without that Negro dialect, as Sen. Reid so wisely observed - and one who is so "clean-cut," as Biden the Wonder Dog also so wisely observed).

Oh-oh... I'm beginning to NOT sound so very funny. Gosh, notice how when the "joke" is aimed toward one's own sacred cows, it ain't quite so funny after all!

Posted by: joydbrower | February 26, 2010 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Well joydbrower your sacred cow is actually a moose, so there is a difference...

Posted by: ozpunk | February 26, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Family Guy really doesn't attack both sides equally. Seth McFarlane's liberalism is revealed in the show. I've seen several shows, republicans and conservatives are evil, rich, biggots. Democrats and liberals usually pop up as heroes or superheroes. He likes to pursue hurtful attacks against the first and light jokes with the latter. If you want to watch a show that goes after everyone it's South Park.

Posted by: opacid | March 2, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

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