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One truly awful Family Guy subway ad

Family Guy is famous for bad jokes, and that’s all fine, but this transit poster spotted in the New York subway struck me as worse than bad.

Can I get to Chelsea on this train?

That’s Peter Griffin dressed in red heels and a bikini, under the headline “Can I get to Chelsea on this train?” As a fan on our Facebook page asks: “How do we count the ways that it is offensive?”

Hmm, well:

  • Chelsea is gay! Hilarious!
  • Gay = cross-dresser! Hilarious!
  • Gay = theater! Hilarious!
  • Fat man in a bikini! Hilarious!

Usually the stupid humor on Family Guy is constructed on top of some wise-ass observation. Not here. This poster feels like it was written by someone with only a vague familiarity with Chelsea—a neighborhood only the clueless and out-of-touch would consider a place of flamboyant cross-dressers. It’s not funny or smart enough to justify using insult humor. This poster isn’t worthy of the show.

Could a better headline have saved it? Definitely. “Can I get to Broadway on this train?” might have been worth a chuckle. Or something like “A show worth dressing up for” or “New York, we love your style” would have done the job.

Who’s responsible for the ad? Don’t know, but I guess it was created in-house by Tribune Broadcasting, which owns WPIX-TV.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising, Television

9 comments

  1. Tom says:

    Who can we send complaints to about these? They’ve been bothering me all week.

  2. Daryl Lang says:

    I’d complain to the MTA. They occasionally pull down offensive ads in response to complaints. Here’s their contact form: http://mta-nyc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/mta_nyc.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php

  3. Peter says:

    Thanks for drawing attention to this. I just wrote the MTA and to WPIX.

    Contact WPIX here: http://www.wpix.com/about/contact/

    And on twitter: twitter.com/wpix

    My letter to the MTA below, which I sent with a few tweaks to WPIX.

    To whom it may concern,

    I’m writing to register my displeasure at the obnoxious posters for “Family Guy” on WPIX that are currently up in several subway stations I pass through daily.

    I’m gay, and I like Family Guy; I especially enjoy it’s satirical jabs at gay people. The ad copy of this poster, though, is totally lacking in the wit, subversiveness and sharp observation which characterizes the show. I don’t know to whom the ad is targeted, but (in my opinion) it misrepresents the show as mean, dumb, crude and reactionary. Assuming these ads are meant to appeal to others who ride the subway, I feel alienated from my city and my fellow citizens whenever I pass by one of these posters on my daily commute.

    I hope that the MTA will hold its advertisers to a higher standard of community spirit in the future. I will be contacting WPIX as well to request they consider their campaigns more carefully and aspire to the level of humor in their advertising that they deliver in their programming.

    Sincerely,
    Peter Cook

  4. Tom says:

    I also tweeted @SethMacFarlane to see if he approves to the ad.

    http://twitter.com/#!/tomblunt

  5. Will says:

    “Who can we send complaints to about these? They’ve been bothering me all week”

    Peter Griffin dressed as a woman with a headline
    Can I get to Chelsea on this train ?

    Oh my god complain to as many people as you possibly can
    get a life seriousy its meant to be a laugh

    but i suppose some people aren’t happy unless they are complaining or whining about something as meaningless as a picture hahahaha

  6. larry says:

    Do you know what TROLLING is? That is what Family Guy and PIX is doing and you are ALL falling for it. Make something controversial for a small budget everyone talks about it, passes it around, it’s on the news, etc, now you’ve got several million dollars worth of free advertising and quite the buzz.

    btw, I think Family Guy is hilarious especially in these instances. He is equally offensive to all groups. The creator is so liberal and pro gay rights, pro choice, anti-conservative….but he also believes in the 1st Amendment.

    • larry says:

      they more you complain, the more they are going to continue this type of ad campaigns. The only way for you to actually get it to stop, is to not draw attention to it and not watch it. Look at Howard Stern, shock jock since forever. Not going anywhere.

      Again, I am for saying whatever you want as long as no one gets hurt.

  7. Will says:

    larry says:
    Do you know what TROLLING is? That is what Family Guy and PIX is doing and you are ALL falling for it. Make something controversial for a small budget everyone talks about it, passes it around, it’s on the news, etc, now you’ve got several million dollars worth of free advertising and quite the buzz.

    btw, I think Family Guy is hilarious especially in these instances. He is equally offensive to all groups. The creator is so liberal and pro gay rights, pro choice, anti-conservative….but he also believes in the 1st Amendment.

    I agree with you 100%
    Also life is too short to be moaning about a poster just ingnore it of ot bothers you haha

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