The Family Guy "Thanksgiving" episode was all over the place, with a usual mix of sendups and offensive jokes. But one scene in particular should touch a raw nerve: a depiction of US soldier body parts, including bloody, feet-filled combat boots blown to bits by an Iraqi IED.
The scene is a result of Kevin Swanson's plot to fake his own death at an Iraq army base on Thanksgiving. For the last few years the story has been that Kevin died on turkey day, so the holiday is a particular bummer for the Swanson family. Now it may include the rest of America as well.
Of course, Family Guy is an equal opportunity offender, so what's the difference, right?
Last week a plot line included Stewie and Brian high-fiving over 9/11. Taken out of context the scene is highly despicable. But in the light of a time-traveling plot, it can be easily explained away. In fact, the joke is quickly explained right in the episode itself.
But there's no explaining away American soldiers blown to bits and a disgruntled warrior using the occasion to defect and go AWOL. It's a definite slam against America's role in the "war" against terrorism and the nearly half a million deaths it caused to Iraqi citizens.
There were plenty of wise cracking jokes and even a bit of redemption at the very end, which is not always a given on Family Guy. This episode was a shamelessly open indictment of American foreign policy and the havoc it may cause at home and abroad.
Seth MacFarlane has said publicly that Family Guy should have ended already. Perhaps by being so tastelessly offensive he's trying to hasten its demise? That would be a welcome relief if it means not having to see dead soldiers blown to pieces as a "joke" to further the ever-thinning pool of plot devices.
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