This perfectly summarizes why I love the Simpsons and hate Family Guy.
I watched that episode with my family and I could just feel how uncomfortable everyone was. Honestly, it was a really jarring, unpleasant episode.
Homer is a terrible dad. So is Peter. But Homer’s saving grace has always been that he tries—he’s bad at it and he fucks it up a lot, but he loves his family and he wants to be better than he is.
One of my favorite Homer moments is in “Diatribe of a Mad Housewife.” Tl;dr Marge writes a steamy romance novel starring herself and Ned, and when Homer finds out, he chases down Ned and, rather than attack him, asks him to teach him how to be a better husband.
There’s some part of his stupid self that wants to do better.
I never got that impression with Peter. Instead, the family has gotten more and more abusive towards Meg. It’s really unsettling for me when I started realizing that’s what happens sometimes in abusive families. Abusers sometimes single out one child to abuse, and quite often the other family members take the abuser’s side. After all, it’s easier to side with an abuser than to run the risk of becoming the target yourself.
There’s never really a point where it seems like Peter cares at all that his shitty behavior impacts his family. It actually seems to have gotten worse over the years. He expects everyone to clean up his messes because that’s always what happens; there’s really no reason for him not to be shitty.
And it’s easy to see how Meg is affected. She doesn’t have much of a character, really, because so much her screen time is devoted to being abused. The bits of character development all seem to hinge on her being this sad, neglected person who’s trying her best but never really gets any help from anyone. Quite the opposite; there have been a lot of episodes where her family sabotages any attempts to be herself.
It can be easy to forget how awful this behavior is when the only context is the show itself (frankly, everyone on Family Guy is kind of terrible). Seeing it played against the Simpsons, who are a flawed and dysfunctional but ultimately loving family, was painful to watch.
You know what really sucks? There was an episode of FG where Peter and Meg go on a somewhat impromptu roadtrip and it looked as though they found a real connection… But I’ve seen barely any of that development
And with this cross-over? Meg found something she was good at— she was actually BETTER than Lisa at playing the saxophone… But in typical FG stylings, they slam the brakes on that before it progresses too far…
The whole point of Family Guy is that it’s a shtick… It’s literally one big joke. Theres no true character growth, nothing new or innovative or progressive about the show— hell, even on the spin-off American Dad, you can see the characters changing and learning over the years— Stan doesn’t loathe Roger, he’s more tolerant to Haley and her husband (instantly forgot his name rn), Francine isn’t COMPLETELY useless and brain dead, and Steve has a but more of a backbone, he’s still a nerd, but he accepts it and blah blah blah you see where I’m going with this.
You know a show is worth watching just based on how they treat their female characters and their lesser-important characters (those further from the nucleus of the main cast of characters). Someone on Tumblr pointed out how much more superior Louise and Tina Belcher are as characters when compared to Meg… It’s bc Meg is literally a joke while the Belcher girls/women are actual progressive characters with depth…