Totally Petarded: The Top 5 Masculinity Myths on Family Guy
5. Men Are Idiots
This is my personal favorite: “All men are idiots.” You’ve heard it, usually expressed loudly at a bar by some chick who just can’t understand why after four shots and twice as many beers some guy wouldn’t want to take her home. For the women with men in their lives, the statement usually gets expressed during a girl’s night out or mommy-time venture. “All men are idiots” is the most outspoken secret of the female mind.
In the case of Peter Griffin, he’s not just an idiot; he’s “Petarded.” Yet, despite being uniquely mentally retarded, Peter is bright enough to realize that his diagnosis can get him off the hook in a number of circumstances, from running over the local TV news anchor to having to provide for his family. After accidentally burning Lois with hot oil and losing custody of their children, Peter is rendered helpless thanks to his diagnosis. Only Lois can come through and save the day, leaving Peter to be Petarded to his heart’s content.
According to show creator Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy’s humor can run the gamut from rape to racism because lead character Peter Griffin isn't so much mentally retarded as, well, “oblivious.”
NYT: Personally, I find the show’s rape jokes especially unfunny. In one episode, Peter learns that three co-eds were raped and murdered. He says to himself, “Everyone’s getting laid but me.” Why is that funny?
SM: Because he’s so oblivious. You’re not laughing at rape; you’re laughing at him being an idiot.
NYT: In another episode, Peter asks, “Would you rather be black or crippled?” Why is that funny?
SM: Once again, it all comes back to Peter’s obliviousness. If Peter meant that maliciously, then it wouldn’t be as funny. We try to keep it so that there’s an innocence to the way that he conducts himself.