The FCC has released their QUARTERLY REPORT ON INFORMAL CONSUMER INQUIRIES AND
COMPLAINTS, covering January-March 2009.
It’s the usual government summary paper, filled with lots of mumbo-jumbo, charts, and big words to fill up all 11 pages when probably two or three pages would have done just fine.
But if you take the time to read through all that ick, you’ll see an interesting statistic: according to the FCC, March 2009 was incredibly indecent for TV viewers and radio listeners.
The report says:
During this quarter, complaints in the reported categories increased over 246%, from 70,836 in the 4th quarter of 2008 to 245,241 in the 1st
quarter of 2009. Most of the increase occurred between the Radio and Television Broadcasting category, where complaints increased from 29,108 in the 4th quarter of 2008 to 188,558 in the 1st quarter of 2009
Let’s reiterate: the number of complaints regarding indecent broadcasts rose from 29,108 at the end of 2008 to almost 7 times that amount in a three month period?
That can’t be right. Let’s look at the numbers:
Here is is, listed with the label “Programming – Indecency/Obscenity”, the monthly breakdown.
- 578 complaints were received in January 2009.
- 505 complaints were received in February 2009.
- and a incredible 179,997 complaints were received in March 2009?!?!
Web Watch just has to ask – what the hell happened in March that there were that many complaints?
And what happened on that episode that sparked such an outcry of complaints? According to ParentsTV, an organization that makes it easy to submit one-click complaints to the FCC for things that they deem to be offensive, that episode was extremely vile, containing:
- A scene of a horse licking Peter’s naked butt
- Peter storing horse semen in the refrigerator along in place of milk, after which Stewie continues to eat his bowl of cereal
- Peter and his gay friends discuss an “eleven-way” orgy.
- Peter uses the terms “glory hole” and “circuit parties” in a math problem
Web Watch does agree that Family Guy certainly pushes the envelope as to what is funny or not, but as others have pointed out numerous times, there is nothing illegal about bad taste.
Where ParentsTV and others fail is in one point: just because Family Guy is a cartoon, it does not mean that the program is appropriate for all audiences. Some critics need to remember that animated programming does not always equate to “kid friendly”, and Web Watch does not know any responsible parent who freely allows their children to watch Family Guy without supervision.
Frankly, we thought that episode was pretty funny, ourselves.