YMMV / Family Guy S10 E3 "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q."

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Brenda in denial of Jeff's abuse because she's afraid of what he'll do to her if she tries to leave him? Or does her behavior appear to suggest that she actually enjoys being abused? Brian did initally mistake her for one of Quagmire's dates who liked S&M. Has the abuse been going on for so long that Brenda now considers it normal for her, or does she just not care anymore?
  • Anvilicious: The show is intended to take a huge sledgehammer to domestic violence, but does so in such a broad, uninformed manner that the message comes off as preachy and insincere.
  • Bizarro Episode: This episode wasn't meant to be funny, which is odd because, in the past, Domestic Abuse and violence against women has been Played for Laughs.
  • Broken Base: Does a Family Guy episode about domestic abuse "work"? Some day that it's too dark to have anything worth gleaning or simply handled the subject incredibly poorly, others called it a bold move for a show otherwise known for its Comedic Sociopathy to prove it had heart by depicting a real-world issue so seriously.
  • Clueless Aesop: Sorry, writers, but you can't do a Very Special Episode about domestic violence and sexual abuse when you regularly play it for laughs.
  • Critical Research Failure: To say the show takes...liberties with domestic abuse is putting it lightly.
    • For one, Brenda shows undying loyalty to her abuser, but neither give any reason why. In most cases, the victim sees past the abuser's abundant flaws to whatever made them fall in love in the first place, but it's just as often the abuser threatening to kill or withhold money from the victim if they leave, or the victim simply having nowhere else to go if they do. It's never stated that Jeff is doing either of these things or that he does anything that would make Brenda put up with his repeated assaults, so she just comes off as someone who's either oblivious to or who doesn't care about it.
    • Jeff, as with most of the antagonists on this show, is depicted as thoroughly stupid and cruel in a primal way, despite especially bad abusers usually harming people in crafty and very specific ways that they know will hurt them the most.
    • The most egregious of these is the title, "Screams of Silence," a common euphemism for domestic abuse and how it frequently occurs behind closed doors, where the perpetrator can do the most subtle yet effective damage, making it near impossible for the victim to get help. However, while it's true that police can't incarcerate abusers unless someone files a complaint, Joe ignores the fact that Jeff is almost always ever seen beating Brenda up in plain sight, usually right in front of Joe's face, meaning he doesn't have to wait until Brenda files a complaint to do anything. It appears the writers were not even trying to portray the law accurately, as Joe later states that he can apparently arrest Quagmire for merely suggesting Jeff's murder, yet cannot arrest Jeff for publicly assaulting Brenda. However, considering Joe's remark that the police "can't get involved until it's too late," this might just be a very, very dark joke.
    • Finally, the gang decides that the best idea in the end is to simply kill Jeff, freeing Brenda. Cathartic as it may be, "getting rid of the bad person" doesn't automatically fix the problems brought on by abuse. Brenda is most likely severely psychologically damaged and, if left to her own accord, will likely go to someone else who is just as bad.
  • Designated Hero: Peter, Quagmire and Joe. The trio are seen as the heroes of the story despite their rather hypocritical morals centered around this episode (Peter abuses Meg in very similar mannerisms as Jeff to Brenda; Quagmire, of course, is an unrepentant sex offender; and Joe does absolutely NOTHING he SHOULD be doing to help stop Brenda's abuse). See Unintentionally Unsympathetic for more details (mostly for the latter two characters).
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Zig-zagged. Despite the show's track record of regularly abusing women for laughs and employing a lot of Black Comedy Rape, not to mention its (mostly) strict aversion to consequences, this episode aims as hard as possible to show domestic abuse as monstrous and inhumane, and portrays abusers as vicious animals who need to get put down. In theory, this is good, but the portrayal is so misinformed and vague that what could have been an inspiration to victims of abuse to get help became twenty minutes of the writers beating an incredibly obvious message into the viewer.
  • He Really Can Act: Seth MacFarlane sounds on the verge of tears when Quagmire reads his letter to Brenda.
  • Moment of Awesome: As much of a Flat Character as Jeff is and how wrong so much of the information on Domestic Abuse is in this episode, it's immensely satisfying to see Quagmire both surviving getting strangled (as he's sexually asphyxiated himself so much that it doesn't bother him anymore) by Jeff, then running down the bastard with his car and slamming him into a tree.
  • Narm: Along with all of the abundant misinformation about its subject, the show's extremely economical and rigid animation makes it impossible to take any of the acting seriously.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Why does Brenda show undying loyalty to her abusive husband? What did she see in Jeff that made her fall for him in the first place? Does Jeff abuse Brenda because he himself was abused? Does Quagmire feel any remorse for objectifying women for years now that he sees it happening to his own sister? Will killing Jeff solve all of Brenda's problems, or will she just move onto someone just as bad? We'll never know, because nothing interests the writers of this episode beyond "abuse is bad."
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • One of the biggest criticisms with the episode is how hard it is to root for Quagmire, who, throughout the entirety of the show, has treated women like objects and raped a countless number of them, some including underaged cheerleaders, and the show expects us to sympathize with him, purely because his sister is suffering. His speech to Brenda about how she doesnít deserve to be called a woman and the victim blaming only made him come off as a prick.
    • Joe also falls to this. Just like Quagmire, he has done absolutely heinous things throughout the series, yet he feels has every right to scold Jeff for the way he treats Brenda. Not helping is that just before Joe agreed to kill him, he said he canít arrest Jeff unless Brenda files a report, even though he, at numerous occasions, witnessed it firsthand, and yet he still tells Quagmire he can arrest him just for saying he wants to kill Jeff.
    • Brenda herself is also rather unsympathetic. Despite her brother's repeated pleas for her to seek help and leave Jeff, she STILL remains loyal to him. This is not helped by the fact that she never shows any form of suppressed fear or unhappiness with Jeff, giving the implication that she considers the abuse normal for her. Because Jeff and Brenda are defined entirely as "angry, loudmouthed abuser" and "weak-willed victim" respectively, it's difficult to find her relatable or figure out how she got into a relationship with him in the first place.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/FamilyGuyS10E3ScreamsOFSilenceTheStoryOfBrendaQ