By Ashleigh Johnson
Daily Titan Copy Editor
Hey Lois, remember the time you got that abortion?
Itâ€™s probably old news now that Fox has reportedly pulled the plug on a controversial episode of the popular TV show, â€œFamily Guy,â€ titled â€œPartial Terms of Endearment.â€
Back in July, Fox issued a press release saying that while they would not air the episode, â€œWe fully support the producersâ€™ right to make the episode and distribute it in whatever way they want.â€
And it looks like the producers of the show are taking Foxâ€™s promise to heart and have found alternative means of having the episode reach the fans.
Last month the cast of the animated show did a live table read of the script for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, according to an article by The Hollywood Reporter.
The complete episode is also supposed to be included in the upcoming â€œFamily Guyâ€ season DVD.
In the episode, Lois Griffin, the matriarch of the Griffin family (voiced by â€œMad TVâ€ alum, Alex Borstein), agrees to be a surrogate mother for her friend and her friendâ€™s husband, both of whom ultimately die in a car accident, leaving Lois and the rest of the Griffin clan to agonize over what to do with the unborn baby.
The creator of the show, Seth MacFarlane, was unsurprised that the show will not make the airwaves and seemed to have no hard feelings toward Fox.
â€œThere are very intelligent people running the network now,â€ MacFarlane said during an interview with THR. â€œThereâ€™s no doubt in my mind that â€¦ these guys had the conversations that they thought critically about it and decided, for intelligent reasons, that it just wasnâ€™t right for them.â€
Still, the fact remains that abortion is a subject that is very rarely discussed, let alone made light of, on TV.
â€œAbortion remains a very sensitive topic, one that advertisers (and thus networks) are afraid to touch,â€ said Philippe Perebinossoff, an assistant professor of radio-TV-film in an e-mail interview. Perebinossoff also worked as a network censor for ABC for about 20 years.
â€œIf abortion is allowed on a show, usually the decision depicted is that the person considering an abortion decides not to have one,â€ he added. â€œIf the person were to decide to have an abortion, it is all that much more controversial.â€
But â€œFamily Guyâ€ is no stranger to adding controversy to its often warped, quirky brand of humor.
In a 2008 episode, two members of the Griffin family â€“ baby Stewie and Brian, the family dog â€“ traveled back in time to Poland moments, literally moments, before it was invaded by Nazis during World War II. A button on one of the Nazi officerâ€™s uniforms read â€œMcCain/Palin.â€
â€œâ€˜Family Guyâ€™ has built its reputation (and fan base) around controversy, pop culture, irreverent humor and the slaughtering of sacred cows,â€ said Shelley Jenkins, a lecturer for the Radio-TV-Film Department.
Jenkins recalled a scene in an earlier episode in which some newborn babies, abandoned in a trash bin during a prom, did a song-and-dance number in which they â€œtwirled their umbilical cords like watch chains.â€
Though she does not watch â€œFamily Guy,â€ assistant professor of Womenâ€™s Studies Donna Nicol has mixed feelings about the subject of abortion in the media.
â€œPersonally, I think that abortion is a personal issue, even though we politicize it,â€ Nicol said. â€œThe procedure itself is a private issue, but we need to raise awareness of it from a conversational standpoint. People need to understand the reasoning behind abortion; women donâ€™t just wake up and decide to get one.â€
â€œFamily Guyâ€ is not the only show to breach the controversial topic.
In an episode of the show â€œMaude,â€ the titular character also underwent the procedure; and one episode of â€œDegrassi: The Next Generationâ€ faced criticism for its abortion-oriented plot when it aired in Canada, said Perebinossoff.
â€œFamily Guyâ€ airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. on Fox. The new season premieres on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 9 p.m.