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I Liked the 'Family Guy' Episode Sarah Palin Hated

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"Family Guy" is known to portray a lot of subjects in an off-color fashion, but I actually feel like they got special needs right -- this time.

family guy

Ellen S.: I have a lot of friends who love "The Family Guy." I've never gotten into it, but I watched the recent controversial episode after Bristol Palin berated it for supposedly mocking her baby brother, Trig, who hasDown syndrome.

I have a kid with disabilities. And all I thought when I saw the episode was,How is this mocking people with disabilities?

Sure, the teen girl withDown syndromein the episode sounded like someone who has a disability. But that's reality, not ridicule. And she came off as smart and confident; she was even demanding on a date with a guy. In other words, she acted just like lots of other teen girls. And that's a great message: People with disabilities can be just like everyone else.

I know firsthand that a lot of people don't get that. Strangers tend to treat my little boy, Max, in one of two ways: Either they talk to him like he's an infant (he's seven), or they're hesitant to approach him at all. They're just not sure how to deal with a kid who's handicapped. I sometimes feel like shaking them and shouting, "HE IS STILL A LITTLE BOY! Who loves toy cars and ice cream and the sound of farts! Just like your kids!" -- something I recently wrote about here.

I'm not blaming them for their behavior. They think they have to treat people with disabilities differently because they assume that people with disabilities are very different from others. Perhaps that's how these people were raised. Perhaps they've never had a kid with special needs in their family, school or circle of friends, and just don't know any better. But people who have disabilities are people first -- people just like everyone else, even if they look or sound different. And that's what the "Family Guy" episode portrayed.

What's so wrong with that, Sarah Palin?

If you've seen the episode, I'd love to hear your thoughts. If not, go check it out on Hulu and come back and share!



next: I Became a Boozer on Maternity Leave
25 comments so far | Post a comment now
maria February 17, 2010, 9:48 AM

I thought the episode was cute. Especially how Chris had a crush on the young (disabled) girl.

Anna February 17, 2010, 7:56 PM

I watched this episode today. I honestly do not see why Sarah Palin got so offended, or even offended at all. I may not have any one in my family with down syndrome, but I have three children in my family with autism. I personally thought this Family Guy episode had a great message. People with special needs can be like every one else, and this episode glorified that statement well.

Anonymous February 18, 2010, 7:06 AM

Clearly, Palin is fine with all the Jewish, black,and parapalegic jokes, just not anything that may slightly make fun of her. What a hypocrite

Micheli February 18, 2010, 7:51 AM

S. Palin, seems to look for the negative …
she is unaware or unconscious..if it doesn’t concern her on a very personal level it isn’t important.

Am I the only one that noticed during the Haiti crisis..she hasn’t had anything to say good or bad..it went silent.

NO attempt at using her so called “Christian Values” at helping those in need.


Instead, she resurface for the “Tea Party” and to act offended by a rather benign episode of “Family Guy”

We the people have made her rich and given her celebrity status by continually ogling her for our own amusement.

Palin will not go away if we keep feeding the fire…

Lanette February 18, 2010, 8:56 AM

First of all Micheli, you don’t see Sarah Palins remarks about Haiti because you watch a news channel that doesn’t show her until it is something negative. Second of all, the episode wasn’t about ‘a’ downsyndrome child. It was about her downsyndrome child and when someone (anyone) makes something personal, as a mom you take it personal. Talk about hypocrites.

Sean February 18, 2010, 10:12 AM

Sarah Palin is the hypocrite, a big time one at that.

It’s just fine for Rush Limbaugh to call some people “retards,” but she’ll get mad at a Democrat for doing the exact same thing. If she had demanded an apology from Rush I would give her some credibility here. But she didn’t, so nothing she says on this topic can be taken seriously. End of story.

Carlos Santos February 18, 2010, 10:13 AM

I feel bad for children who have disabilities. I have two healthy boys and I thank God for it; However, If I was a politician and I would had been less fortunate, and a child of mine was borne with a disability. I wouldn’t turn his disability into a political issue and drag him around like a propaganda banner. Maybe when he’s old enough to speak he will tell her that he didn’t appreciate being thrust into the national spotlight via the RNC hypocritical carnival.


Katie February 18, 2010, 11:20 AM

Sarah got offended because that’s what she does best - she plays the victim card. In case anyone doesn’t know, Sarah is very quick to point out that she is the mother of a child with Downs Syndrome. She is the mother of daughters. She is the mother of a son in the military. She used all of them to get media attention, and she’s used the media attention to draw attention to herself.

It’s obvious to anyone who watched the show that it wasn’t a slam on Trig. And if people find the show offensive, they don’t have to watch. TVs have an off button, and a remote control that allows you to change the channel.

Jeremiah February 18, 2010, 11:27 AM

Because the character was portrayed in a very unlikeable way, I don’t agree with most of you. She was also linked directly to Palin, which made it personal. They were practically begging her to say something negative.

elf February 18, 2010, 11:35 AM

Lanette, unless Trig is really a girl, it was clearly not Palin’s child that was being referenced. The character was the daughter of A former governor of Alaska, Palin was never specifically named. Family Guy exists in a fictional universe where Adam West is the mayor of Quahog, RI, a fictional town. Therefore it is not safe to automatically assume that Palin is the former governor of Alaska that was being cited. I’m also rather sure that Palin hasn’t moved to Rhode Island since resigning from office, yet another indication that it was not Palin’s child in the episode. The only thing this episode did was remind people that Palin has a child with Down Syndrome, which isn’t exactly news to anyone.

As for the actual article, I loved it. ‘Special needs’ means only that, that someone has special needs. But it does not mean that when it comes to being a person that they’re any different, for better or worse, than anyone else.

gia February 18, 2010, 12:27 PM

Your kid likes farts? Ew.

abbey February 18, 2010, 1:22 PM

If Palin & co. would have watched the episode, they would have realized that Family Guy was taking a jibe at Palin’s eldest daughter for being two-faced (I can have sex and have a baby out of marriage but abstinence education totally works). They were also saying that the outside of a person is really just a facade and, when you take the time to get to know someone, they can surprise you with how different from their projected personality they actually are. What I feel Family Guy was trying to poke at was the Palin family’s seemingly idyllic existence really is just a farce for “the base” and, in actuality, they are much more messed up than they appear. The fact that the girl in the show had Down’s Syndrome had nothing to do with anything, just that Chris expected her to be one thing (he said he heard people with down’s syndrome were different i.e. “nicer” than regular people) but she turned out to be just the same as everyone else.

rocko February 18, 2010, 3:40 PM

Fun Fact: The medical term for Down Syndrome is Trisomy-g. It is often shortened in medical slang to Tri-g. If naming the child “Trig” isn’t mocking the child’s condition, I don’t know what is.

Gloria February 18, 2010, 9:31 PM

“you don’t see Sarah Palins remarks about Haiti because you watch a news channel that doesn’t show her until it is something negative.”

Then it should be easy to provide links to those remarks, Lanette. We’ll wait.

It’s obvious you didn’t watch the show because you don’t know what the episode was about. Why not see for yourself rather than let Queen Sarah tell you what to think?

And if Queen Sarah really had a problem, why would she go on Fox News and in essence promote the series? Don’t you see how that situation benefits everyone involved at Fox?

She’s playing you for a sap, Lanette. Wise up before it’s too late.

renee February 19, 2010, 6:11 PM

any show that shows people with disabilities in a postive light is ok with me.if you missed todays article the young lady who did the voice over for family guy has downs and she said she had fun!hhmmmm? sounds postive to me.and dont tell me that people with downs etc are going to be offended becuz i know for a fact they probably wont.why? becuz my mother has cp and laughs at all jokes etc about disablities.why? becuz with proper encouragement disabled people can do anything,like raising 2 kids,4 grandkids and a greatgranddaughter,take that sarah palin-support your son! instead of hiding him and using him for ur political crap!

Sandy February 20, 2010, 7:36 PM

I wouldn’t expect any of you to have any idea how Sarah feels as YOU don’t have a special needs child like WE do. So none of you have a right to comment on the show and how it makes a mother of a special needs child feel.

rocko February 21, 2010, 7:50 AM

Sandy - Oh, so we don’t have a right to comment? I suppose that whole “freedom of speech” thing is disposable, according to you.

Have you read the article that spoke with the actress that portrayed the girl on the show?
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/family-guy-voice-actor-says-palin-does-not-have-a-sense-of-humor/

If anything, you and other parents are hurting your own cause by putting a shield around children with special needs. You want them to lead normal lives and be treated equally, yet all you are doing is bringing attention to differences in situations such as these, thus ensuring that they are being treated like they are not normal people and need to be put in a bubble.

Besides, if anyone had actually watched the episode, they really didn’t even poke any fun at the fact that she had Downs Syndrome. Sure, the girl turned out to be a jerk, but isn’t a normal thing to find out when dating someone? There were a few one-liners (like the one about her mom being a former governor of Alaska) but none that directly made fun of her condition.

Esther February 28, 2010, 4:44 PM

I seen this episode and I do not feel like she was being made fun of whatsoever. The actress who played the voice of the girl with down syndrome actually has down syndrome. She herself thought the episode was funny and said Sarah Palin must not have a sense of humor.

So is everyone upset that Family Guy put a person with down syndrome in their show? Are they not allowed to be on shows because of their disabilities? They are people just like us. It’s not like they were being mean to her in the show. They showed Chris having interest in her and taking her out on a date. How is this even wrong? Some times people take things over the top. I agree with Rocko, treat them like they are normal people just like the rest of us. After all that is how they want to be treated not like they are different. By them seeing all of this publicity and everyone making such a big deal out of it, we are just pointing out their disabilities to them in front of the whole world. Why doesn’t anyone ask the opinions of the real people that matter and thats the people with down syndrome. Let’s ask them how they feel about the situation. And I don’t want to hear anyone say that they can’t speak for themselves because they understand emotions and know how to express them. And before anyone says I don’t understand what I’m talking about I have a friend with down syndrome. I grew up with her since she was 1 1/2 yrs old. She is now in her early 20’s and I treat her like a normal person not one that has a disability.

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