Family Matters 4: Family Guy

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Father Hank Hank: Frank Murphy is a good cartoon man. He fought for his cartoon country in cartoon Korea. He puts cartoon food on the cartoon table for his cartoon wife and kids. How dare anybody ask more from him? In the second season of “F is for Family,” (comedian Bill Burr’s quasi-autobiographical, 70s-set show) Frank finds himself unemployed and missing his baggage-pushing job at Mohican Airways. Meanwhile, his wife Sue (Laura Dern) rockets right through the glass ceiling at Plast-A-Ware when she develops a salad-drying contraption! (It may be a clear plastic ceiling, if one thinks about it.) Sue’s relative success sends Frank into Emasculation Nation. Frank- relatable, lovable everyman Frank- is left with only one hero to look up to: TV’s Colt Luger.

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As Colt Luger would say: “Sometimes a Man’s Gotta Do What a Man Does.”

Beatricia Beatricia: Ooooh, Hanky! You know what it does to me when you do cartoon voices! Do Papa Smurf!

Father Hank Hank: “I’m gonna smurf your smurf with my big blue smurf!!!”

Beatricia Beatricia: YES, like that! Do Yogi Bear for me, Hanky!

Father Hank Hank: “Hey, Boo Boo, I’m all ready to go-go-go into your pic-a-nic basket!”

Beatricia Beatricia: Keep going! Scrooge McDuck!!!

Father Hank Hank: “I’m going tah dive right into yer golden vault, me lassie!”

Beatricia Beatricia: YES! YES! Don’t stop!!! Do Ms. Frizzle from “The Magic School Bus”!!!

Father Hank Hank: Huh? I don’t know that one.

Beatricia Beatricia: …

Father Hank Hank: Sorry, babe. Never saw it. Want me to do the cow from “Rocko’s Modern Life”?

Beatricia Beatricia: No, forget it. It’s over. Moment ruined.

Tracey Tracey: Riiiiiiiight. Moving on! “F is for Family” is wonderful because it calls out the pervasive sexism and racism that hovered over the 1970s like a big disco ball of bigotry! I felt so bad for Sue as she battled her way past the endless harassment of the knuckle-dragging troglo-pigs who surround her. I cheered when her Salad Tosser became a hit! And yet, I wondered: why can’t Sue be allowed to be funny sometimes? In a wicked little cartoon town of sketchy oddballs, why does she always have to be perfect and serious to a saintly degree, like some sort of suburban Joan of Arc? It’s yet another example of the unreasonable expectations to which women are subject! Even cartoon women!

Trent Trent: Hahaha! “Salad Tosser”!

Beatricia Beatricia: Sue is absolutely wonderful, even if her spirit and wit seem close to being extinguished by the boors around her. I can’t begin to fathom how she manages to put up with her whimpering offspring, or how she tolerates the constant disappointment of living with Hank. I mean Frank. I’m surprised Sue doesn’t slide over to party with the handsome rock-and-rolling stud next-door, Vic (Sam Rockwell). I can see the right woman taming Vic’s impressive, glossy mustache. I bet HE knows how to do Ms. Frizzle’s voice just fine.

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Father Hank Hank: Bah. His mustache isn’t glossy, it’s just caked over with cocaine.

Trent Trent: Hahaha! “Rock Well”! I love how the Dad in this show is all into domestic abuse, and always threatening to put his kids “through the wall.” One day I hope to have some walls of my own. I don’t care what kind they are: brick walls, wooden walls, concrete walls, wonder walls. All I know is I’m going to be putting all my kids right through them! Psalm 137:9 4Evah!!!

Cousin Franz Cousin Franz: As our nascent sociopath Trent has inadvertently pointed out, “F is For Family” is a very dark show, perhaps the darkest cartoon “comedy” this side of Seth McFarlane’s “Family Guy,” which after all, once featured a musical number about a baby abandoned in a dumpster during prom night. It’s hard to top THAT for callous animated horror. But “F”’s darkness comes from the grievances of an entire generation of men who watched as their American Dream sank down the economic drain of the 70s; men whose tender kisses with their high school sweet-hearts segued into screaming matches with their unfulfilled wives. The opening scene may be set to Redbone’s joyful “Come and Get Your Love”; but we know that Frank’s true anthem is “The River,” by Bruce Springsteen.

Grandpa Felicius Grandpa Felicius: “F is For Family” is the sort of abhorrent abomination that happens when we allow the French to entertain our children with their version of “cartoons.” (Yes, I’m onto you, “Gaumont Television”; I know a frog even before it croaks!) Mind you, I appreciate salacious animations as much as anyone, and have even been known to “engage in vigorous arguments with my Henry Longfellow” while fantasizing about the coquettish charms of Betty Boop! But “F is for Family” goes a step too far!

Trent Trent: Hahahah! “Longfellow”! Wait, what’s a Longfellow?

Beatricia Beatricia: Trent, I would like to believe that Grandpa Felicius was referring to his appreciation of the epic works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the beloved 19th-Century poet who gave us “The Song of Hiawatha.” Unfortunately, I happen to know he’s just being euphemistic about his self-abuse habits.

Trent Trent: Hahaha! “WADS Worth”!

Blurbarella Blurbarella: “F is For Family– Good But– Sadly Lacking– In Robot Characters– Aside from the Unfortunate– Robot Bears at– Strip Club.”

5 out of 6 Cherries

 

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