‘Family Guy’ Jumps the Jew

Tried, Not True: A recent episode of ‘Family Guy,’ dubbed ‘Family Goy,’ on the Fox network included the revelation that matriarch Lois was Jewish and included stereo- typical plotlines.
FOX BROADCASTING
Tried, Not True: A recent episode of ‘Family Guy,’ dubbed ‘Family Goy,’ on the Fox network included the revelation that matriarch Lois was Jewish and included stereo- typical plotlines.

By Dan Friedman

Published October 07, 2009, issue of October 16, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

There’s a time in every American animated comedy series, it seems, when everything turns Jewish. Whether that’s Krusty the Clown (aka Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofski) finding his Jewish roots in “The Simpsons,” Kyle heading off to Mel Gibson to demand his money back in “South Park,” or the recent “Family Guy” (in the gently titled episode, “Family Goy”) in which matriarch Lois found out that her mother was a Holocaust survivor and Jewish.

It would be an ill-advised tempting of fate to say that the brief descent into Lois’s yiddishkeit marks the terminal decline of Seth McFarlane’s creativity. After all, neither “The Simpsons” nor “South Park” jumped the shark with their Jewish plotlines. And McFarlane’s review of Wile E. Coyote’s existential angst upon finally catching the Roadrunner provided some of the best minutes of this year’s television animation.

Although “Family Guy” will continue to pull in viewing figures, the litany of tired Jewish stereotypes trotted out for laughs was hardly an inspiration. Perhaps the idea was that, because the audience is so young, the writers would get first-time sniggers from obnoxious Jewish stereotypes, and should just try to check off as many as possible. So we saw: silly names (Hebrewberg Moneygrabber or dad Peter’s Hebrew name “Ch-ch-ch”), short hairy-chested men, libidinous boys, plain haredi dresses, sports underachievements, Holocaust obsession, greedy landlords, obsession with money and the revelation that Jesus was a Jew.

It was dumb, as usual, not as funny as usual, but had good lines — as always. One of the best lines was a throwaway when Jesus says that people shouldn’t worry about religion, they should just treat others how they’d like to be treated. “Oh,” says Peter “an eye for an eye” before moving rapidly onto something else. A great line, but perhaps a little close to the truth that the show’s audience, if not the writers, can’t tell the difference between scripture and Hollywood, stereotypes and fact, or lex talionis and loving your neighbor.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.