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“Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious” Comprehension Questions and Vocabulary Check (p. 311, TSIS)

1. How would you characterize Antonia Peacocke’s argument about the television cartoon Family Guy? What does she like about the show? What doesn’t she like? What would you say is her overall opinion of Family Guy?

She likes: the program satirizes problems with American culture, not all jokes are offensive, some are insightful, doesn’t aim to hurt.

She doesn’t like: offensive jokes, like how the cartoon makes fun of people, and she doesn’t like aggressive, physically abusive actions.

2. Find two places in the essay where Peacocke puts forward arguments that she herself disagrees with. Analyze what she says about these arguments. What would you say are her reasons for including these opposing views?

p. 302-303 – the author she is disagreeing with hasn’t watched the show. If he had, he would know that the show reflects American culture.

p. 305 – she responds to Rushkoff’s comparison of Family Guy with The Simpsons, because the two shows are different in that The Simpsons comments on the media, Family Guy comments more on how society itself reacts to the media and other things.

3. While making a serious argument, Peacocke frequently uses humor to make her points. Identify two or three examples where she does so, and explain the role that such humor plays in helping her develop her argument.

p. 303 – “Never mind that a dog and a baby can both read and hold lengthy conversations” it makes her points softer. She is acknowledging that the show seems silly.

p. 306 – Peter is “hardly represented as a figure to admire” viewers should already know that Peter isn’t someone to be like.

p. 300 – “seriously – stay with me here” – she is acknowledging that she is saying something that many will want to disagree with.

4. Peacocke cites a number of authors in her essay. How does she weave their ideas in with her own...

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