Family Guy's 9/11 Satire: Did It Go Too Far?

The envelope. Viewers’ buttons. Its own luck. Family Guy has pushed ’em all, and, in tonight’s episode, the Fox hit may even have pushed them all at once.

During a routine trip back in time with Stewie, Brian tips off his past self about 9/11 so that the old him can play hero and stop the terrorist attacks (with catch phrases, no less). But his good deed doesn’t go unpunished: He accidentally sets in motion a chain of events that leads to a Civil War and a videogame-y sort of apocalypse.

In turn, this forces Stewie to flash them back in time again (and again) so that they can make sure that 9/11 actually occurs. At one point, so many Brians and Stewies wind up in the same place and time that they are able to take a vote: Should they intervene in 9/11 or let it happen?

“Let it happen” wins, resulting in high fives. (Even Stewie acknowledges that, out of context, that isn’t gonna look good.)

So what did you think? Did the show go too far? Or is all fair in a comedy that features an alcoholic dog, a baby sociopath and a time machine? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Whitney says:

    9/11 really? That gets people talking? What about God and Jesus, they’re constantly making jokes at His expense and his son’s and no one wants to talk then. I was only nine when 9/11 happened, didn’t understand it then and don’t really understand it now. I don’t watch the episodes where they’re blatantly being sacrilegious, but I found tonight’s episode stupid and funny, which is how most episodes of Family Guy are. People died in 9/11, people died in the Holocaust, Seth gets that, but obviously that doesn’t stop him from making jokes at people’s expense. I’m honestly more offended when he brings God into his shows. 9/11 bringing our country together? I’ll argue against that, it made people feel the need to go to war, something I disagree with. It made our country worse than it already was, admit it before 9/11 people probably didn’t care if there was an Arab person around, after, a lot of people became racist. It was an unfortunate thing that pushed our country further back and made it even more primitive and blood thirsty. I’m only eighteen, and I can honestly say I do not stand for anything this country does, racism, war, hatred and violence is all wrong. A lot of this is shown on Family Guy, but no one wants to speak until it’s a 9/11 joke. I find that distasteful

  2. DubyaNuthin says:

    Hilarious episode that parodies that Dubya was repeatedly WARNED by Clinton AND in reports like “Bin Laden Determined to Strike US” — just replace Stewie & Brian with Dubya & Cheney and the episode’s vote to allow 9/11 to happen probably accurately reflects how Republican Conservatives & Bush rewarded his documented business partners — the Bin Laden family by letting 9/11 happen and later by grounding all planes except the one he let the Bin Laden family escape the US to go back to Saudi Arabia.

  3. Leona says:

    I love Family Guy but this is just going to far. How can they expect people to actually laugh at this; so many Innocent people lost their lives for nothing.

  4. Yoni says:

    I also think it’s a little bit important to make note of this – regardless of whether or not they intended this, it is important to realize that should a situation like this ever occur, world leaders would actually have to make a decision like that, weigh out the lesser of two evils.

  5. Mossad Thermite says:

    It was an Inside Job that was allowed to happen. You now live in a police state with an imploding global financial system. Next stop New World Order. Look around. Wake Up!?!

  6. Carrie says:

    This show always crosses the line. That’s just what they do. I was a little surprised. It’s such a sensitive subject, I wouldn’t blame anyone for being offended, but “Family Guy” always pushes the envelope. They make fun of everyone and everything and it seems no subject is off limits.

  7. Amanda says:

    I remember a similar time travel “screwing up the space/time continuum” storyline involving Adolf Hitler. I forget exactly where. I think it might have been in an issue of the super-hero comic Fantastic Four.

    A successful assassination of Hitler sets off a chain of events that would lead to a better and smarter Fuhrer taking over and Germany winning WWII.

  8. matt s says:

    No it didn’t because it took an actual idea and played it out to a logical plot–which is something the show doesn’t really do all that often so if anything the fact that they did that means they took it more seriously then anything else. also i thought it was ok enough–i admired the balls it took the writers to go for this. Mcfarlane having barely missed being a passenger on one of the 9/11 hijacker’s planes prob made him reflect on how lucky he was to be where he was ten years later. (had a ticket and everything–missed it because his assistant gave him the wrong flight time causing him to be an hour late for the flight!—was in tha airport lounge when he saw what was happening! i imagine his reaction was appropriate then.)

  9. Daw Johnson says:

    Why on earth are people talking about the 9/11 aspect of this episode?

    This episode was about the trip back to the pilot. Both a tribute to fans who long for the “good old days” and a mockery of the fact that they act like the original episodes were so vastly superior.

  10. Sylvia says:

    You guys are bored you watch the episode to criticize it. If you don’t like family stop watching it. No one is forcing you to, you just give your opinions like anyone cares.

  11. Lo says:

    Since Seth MacFarlane was supposed to be on one of the planes that crashed, I say he can do whatever he wants since his own mortality came into question that day on a very visceral level

    • stride says:

      that actually made me wonder? if you had narrowly survived a day like that, would you make jokes about it? i’m really starting to wonder if things actually happened how he says? i’ve looked everywhere and the only proof i’ve seen backing up his statement is that he or someone who knows him says he was supposed to be there. so it’s hear-say, no ticket, no name on a manifest, no physical proof has been shown he was supposed to be on that exact plane that day. Strange, isn’t it? if you take it in that light, would he have the immunity he enjoys now? sorry if this offends but i don’t believe anything without proof, i don’t believe in your word vs his word. you want to debate, tell me where i can find proof so i can put this one to rest.

  12. alice says:

    here’s a concept….if you don’t like what the show has to offer — stop watching it. its clear that you don’t enjoy it and have nothing better to do than bitch about it.

    change the channel.

  13. Matt says:

    People don’t get the humour of Family Guy. The ‘joke’ of 9/11 and domestic abuse highlights some absurd opinions some have, and makes people understand that those arguments are stupid and should be ridiculed as Family Guy is doing.

  14. MST3K says:

    I really enjoyed the show but it’s not even an original concept. How many of you had asked yourself if you had a time machine would you go back to 1926 and kill Hitler before he did anything? Doctor Who did that in the 60’s… No one thought they were making light of a serious subject.

  15. Gracie says:

    I totally agree with that!! That joke was not funny at all.

  16. Gilbert G. says:

    It’s a fact of life: Tragedy + Time = Comedy.

  17. wtfisthisshow says:

    Stupid show, always has been, always will be. That kind of “humor” isn’t funny.

  18. says:

    To be honest….i actually thought they touched this topic a while back.

  19. Bob says:


  20. Familyguyfan says:

    I am sorry but as horrific and disgusting 9/11 was (One of the worst acts commited by humans towards other humans.) Family guy has said/done so meny more jokes and gags that are frankly worse which dont get pulled up.. I am not condoning it in anyway shape or form but its a cartoon with animals and humans having sex and disabled people being discrimantated against..

  21. MG says:

    Sandy, quite frankly, if you’re old enough to start a sentence saying “you people are too young to know about” you obviously are spending your time in the wrong place. Why are you so passionate about a cartoon? How old are you?

  22. MG says:

    And to anyone who thinks 9/11 is in any way funny, you’re sick. You people are part of the reason the world is such a messed up place. No matter how many people die everyday, death is never funny. And the reason 9/11 is made fun of and everyday killings are not, is because 9/11 was publicized. It was a tragedy. Use your head.

  23. Steve says:

    They should have thought about this episode before it went on air. We can sit here all day and speculate what mighty have happened if 9/11 didn’t happen.but we will never know so just be sensitive, out is a sensitive subject.just like the holocaust. FG just needs to leave those two subjects alone