What I have learned over the years is that Family Guy is much easier to watch if you remember that it is a cartoon and that none of its characters are real. That's not to say I haven't been offended at times; Family Guy's portrayal of religion and the Deep South in particular have been truly offensive. But they don't hold a candle to the most recent episode, Seahorse Seashell Party. In this episode, Meg finally forces Peter and Lois to see what horrible parents they are; she manages to reduce both to tears. While I will admit that seeing Meg call Lois a whore (she has a point) and pointing out that if there was anyone in the world who cared, Peter would be in jail for the way he treats her was immensely satisfying, the ending sort of soured it for me. Following Meg's verbal beatdown of her parents (she did it to Chris too, but it doesn't seem to have made a difference), Lois, Chris and Peter all start viciously laying into each other. Eventually, Meg and Brian are left alone in the living room and they start to talk, and Meg comes to the realization that the family needs her as a target for abuse in order to function. Meg is a bastion of sanity in the insane asylum that is the Griffin household. She is also, as Brian rightly pointed out, the strongest, most compassionate member of her family. Meg is the only Griffin capable of functioning properly without am emotional punching bag. Unfortunately, her Extreme Doormat tendencies win out over the badass level she gained in this episode, and she goes upstairs to tell her family that she's realized that it's okay to be a punching bag and deliberately invoke Status Quo Is God. The episode ends with a group hug and a sense of everything being hunky-dory, but given that this is Family Guy and Status Quo Is God, we can be sure that everyone will have forgotten about this by next episode and the abuse will be back on as though it never stopped. Peter will be back to shoving Meg's face into his butt so he can fart on her, Lois will be back to dropping hints that Meg should go kill herself, and Chris will be back to stealing her diary and calling his sister a fatass. Family Guy is only a good show if you don't give a damn about any of its characters. If you do, you're out of luck.
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