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Family Guy Jumps the Jew

There’s a time in every American animated comedy series, it seems, when everything goes Jewish. Whether that’s Krusty the Klown finding his Jewish roots (“The Simpsons”), Kyle heading off to Mel Gibson to demand his money back (“South Park”) or last night’s “Family Guy” (the gently titled “Family Goy”) where Lois found out that her mother was a holocaust survivor and Jewish.

I’m not about to tempt fate and say that the descent into Lois’s yiddishkeit marks the terminal decline of Seth McFarlane’s creativity. Neither “The Simpsons” nor “South Park” jumped the shark with their Jewish plotlines. And the creator of the following piece of existential genius is not yet done. (Warning, the language is a little strong)

So, though “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, since the audience was so young, the writers would get first sniggers from obnoxious Jewish stereotypes and commonplaces, and should just try to check as many off as possible. So we saw: silly names (Hebrewberg Moneygrabber or 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 as always had good lines. 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 audience, if not the writers, of the show can’t tell the difference between scripture and Hollywood, stereotypes and fact, or lex talionis and loving your neighbor.

Watch “Family Guy“‘s “Family Goy” below:

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