Textual Analysis of: “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious”

                In the controversial  yet comical essay,” Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious”, the author, Antonia Peacoke, utilizes the main concepts of Freud’s Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, specific diction, and logical evidence to demonstrate the true meaning and reality of the very controversial show named “Family Guy“. With these elements she is able to present a strong argument to the true effect of “Family Guy” and brings to light the philosophical and psychological realities of the show by mixing in an interpretation of Freud’s literature.

                Peacoke’s usage of specific diction and structure are one of the few ways that she is able to present her argument successfully to the common people who know of Family Guy. This essay is effectively structured to flow by slowly introducing a well known show such as “Family Guy“, through common knowledge and personal experience, and speaking of the history and criticism it has received. It then introduces evidence and examples that imply that behind the “offensive” content lies a sense of harsh reality that people should try to learn and comprehend, not ignore completely (Peacocke 302). This structure of familiarity to harsh reality is held together by the usage of specific diction that the author utilizes. Throughout the text there are examples of harsh diction that make the “controversial humor” seem much more like the creators of “Family Guy” are simply ” intelligently satiri[ing] some aspects of American culture,” (Peacocke 303). The diction used ranges from “crude” and “offensive” to demonstrate criticism “Family Guy ” endures, to diction that is “insightful” and ” noble”” to indicate the true nature of “Family Guy” which is to amuse by satirizing American culture (Peacoke 302-308). With this distinct diction a serious yet comical tone is produced which allows a common man find humor in a controversial subject and understand the subject a bit more.

                What really helps Peacoke connect her claims and passages together is the way she is able to introduce logical evidence to her claims and patch them in necessary places to formulate her argument. Her main evidence against the supposed “offensive” show is by introducing Freud’s literature, Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, which claims Family guy hits the unconscious animalistic and aggressive parts of our minds to make its jokes funny as our minds realize the true meaning behind the joke (Peacocke 308).  This idea of using satire to create the jokes in Family Guy are meant not to hurt, but to “provide a sort of relief by breaking down taboos” over American culture and stereotypes that people create amongst each other (Peacocke 308). Another way Peacoke introduces logical evidence is by using direct dialogue from the show which directly relate to the realities of American culture. For example she uses two pieces of dialogue in which one involves a commercial set in the 1950’s in which is believed to be “blatantly sexist”  because it satirizes how people perceived and treated women in the 1950’s (Peacoke 302). This dialogue is deemed sexist simply because it shows women being treated bad, but according to Peacoke it is simply poking fun of how American culture perceived women at that era (Peacocke 302-303). The second piece of evidence she provides directly from the show is one involving two characters from the show which demonstrate how one character is reading a book simply because a celebrity states she does as well. While some may simply consider this as dumb humor, Peacocke again demonstrates the true satirical humor by stating how, “comically…Americans are willing to follow the instructions of a celebrity blindly,” (Peacoke 304). This shows how Peacocke uses logical evidence and analytical skills to demonstrate the true nature of Family Guy.

                Lastly while Peacoke does not emphasize much on Jonathan Swift’s “Modest Proposal” she does mention it for a few sentences which propose the idea that Family Guy is a show which should be taken as a satire which pokes fun of certain realities. The introduction of this author, along with Freud, and her common knowledge of Family Guy demonstrate a lot about her as a character. It demonstrates how while she likes Family Guy as a common viewer, she is also knowledgeable enough to be able to critically analyze the show. With this her credibility to the argument can be deemed more valid.

                In “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious”, Antonia Peacoke, uses logical evidence flowing from Freud, American culture, and other literary devices to demonstrate the true unseen ideas and colors of “Family Guy“. With this she is able to demonstrate how what some deem offensive or as a joke are actually true realities of world cultures, specifically American.


Works Cited

Peacocke, Antonia. “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious”. They Say/ I Say. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton & Company,2012. 299-309. Print.





2 thoughts on “Textual Analysis of: “Family Guy and Freud: Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious”

  1. lmccrory says:

    Great analysis of this essay. You really picked out some of the author’s crucial rhetorical methods used to stress the benefits of satire. As a fan of Family Guy, I agree with the point this author is making in their essay, and I think above is an excellent analysis of it.

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