As reported in the Globe and Mail, Global Television has been ordered to apologize for not providing a violence warning prior to an episode of Family Guy in which Bugs Bunny is killed by Elmer Fudd. There’s a link to the scene on the Globe and Mail page. I don’t think I need to put a link here, as the episode is seven years old, so by now anyone who watches Family Guy has seen it, and those who don’t watch Family Guy are happier not seeing it.
Anyone familiar with the show knows that 1) it is frequently violent, and 2) among other things, it takes a delight in skewering childhood favourites. Similar scenes include Wiley Coyote catching the Road Runner, Yogi Bear being stabbed, and Lucy being beaten for her football prank on Charlie Brown. I don’t always find Family Guy amusing – sometimes I find it disturbing – but I’ve seen it enough to be prepared for anything, and know it is not appropriate for younger children.
Presumably the viewer that filed the complaint was not prepared, and given the broadcast time of 5:00 PM, they may not have expected something this crude at that hour. So I don’t think the viewer overreacted by filing a complaint. A number of people have noted that the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, the agency that ordered the apology, is the same organization that previously banned the Dire Straits song “Money for Nothing,” and are suggesting that the organization is too aggressive. The situations are not the same: the episode is not being banned or censored. Global provided warnings about language and sexuality, but did not provide any warnings about violence. The Standards Council determined that a violence warning was justified, and determined that Global erred in not providing that. I assume all future episodes will include a violence warning, and there’s nothing wrong with that.