Regular characters Quagmire and Joe have been turned into one-dimensional gay neighbors whom Lois greets by saying: "Oh, hello gay couple who's constantly jogging."
When she asks what the couple are up to that morning, Quagmire responds by saying, "Just adopting and pucker-kissing."
"Yeah, we're network TV gay," Joe says, "so all we can do is adopt children and pucker-kiss, no tongue stuff."
I get the joke is
possibly intended as a comment about how
+ characters are sanitized for public consumption, but when that same community is constantly being dragged through the mud on
, its writers don't get to make that joke. The show has done nothing over its 18 seasons to challenge or expand the perception of queer people in public life or mainstream media.
also hasn't earned the right to poke fun at LGBTQ+ representation when the long-running cartoon has some of the worst examples of caricatures and offensive stereotypes on its show. Stewie, who officially came out in 2018, is constantly the butt of homophobic jokes, and there's also the elderly pedophile Herbert, who is essentially a walking gay rape joke. When it comes to trans representation, we've also got Peter and Lois
calling Quagmire's transgender mom "it" and "he-she"
Although the show bills itself as an equal opportunity offender, it's always taken a particular glee in punching down at the marginalized. In a Season 10 episode, the Griffins watch a fictional film,
Dracula in San Francisco
, in which the titular vampire tests his victim's blood for HIV before drinking it.
I'd take a sexless, white Disney gay couple any of those things any day. That isn't satire if it's actually better LGBTQ+ representation than what you've already got.
most recent episode, which was entitled "Disney's The Reboot," admittedly isn't as bad as earlier installments when it comes to mocking and targeting the LGBTQ+ community. In a famous example, Brian the Dog
vomited for a full minute
after finding out he slept with a trans woman, but LGBTQ+ people remain the punchlines. We're still the butt of the joke. The
audience is still laughing at us, not with us.
Back in January, executive producers Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin
pledged to stop punching down at LGBTQ+ people
. "Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about [when the show was new], we now understand is not acceptable." Sulkin told the entertainment website
. Appel added that "the climate is different, the culture is different, and our views are different."
But apparently, their views aren't different enough to keep from making the same old mistakes.
I'm honestly not mad about these kinds of jokes anymore -- I'm just tired. They don't make me laugh and they don't make me think; they just make me feel like the life is being drained from my body.