FCC vs. American Dad: Is The $25K Fine Cartoon Censorship?

By on June 11, 2010 in ArticlesEntertainment

Animated series like Family Guy and South Park get away with raunchier, edgier humor than their live action sitcom counterparts.  Of course, that may change soon, because it looks like the FCC has begun cracking down on 'naughty' toons.

According to the FCC, they received 100,000 indecency complaints over an episode of FOX's American Dad.  In the episode, the family father, CIA agent Stan Smith, finds out that he must ejaculate a horse he bought.  Though FOX officials deny it, the FCC claims FOX never responded to their queries about the Jan. 3rd episode.  Now the FCC wants to fine FOX $25,000 for failure to respond.

The complaints were spurred on by the Parents Television Council, who urged their members to write the FCC, which ultimately led to this fine.  Now, granted, this particular fine is pretty small, but if the PTC was motivated enough, they could write letters about every prime-time animated show on TV – after all, each week these shows are chock full of push-the-line gags.  That could create more and more fines, which might discourage any broadcaster from airing this type of program.  In theory.

Our concern is that animated shows represent some of our sharpest, funniest comedies.  We'd hate to see them neutered by the FCC and watchdog groups.  On the other hand, maybe the joke was too gross for broadcast TV.  What do you think?

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