Much like Peter Pan, Seth McFarlane doesn’t want to grow up. For an entertainment producer, that can be a good thing.
But instead of transporting his audience to Never Never Land, McFarlane’s TV shows “Family Guy” and “American Dad” take viewers on a tour of a pubescent boys’ locker room: gross-out contests, twisted sex jokes, vicious taunting. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes not, but it’s all as fresh as old gym socks.
Now, McFarlane has graduated to Tinsel Town. His movie “Ted” opens nation-wide on Friday. And you can take the boy out of junior high, but …
“Ted” is a living teddy bear that’s been John’s (Mark Wahlberg) best friend since he was little. John is now in his 30s, and the two share a bachelor pad. Ted’s tastes, according to the trailer, run to bong hits, cocaine, multiple hookers, humping inanimate objects, voyeurism and brawling.
The Kansas City Star thinks all that is just awesome. “There are feverishly inappropriate jokes that will live on in dorm-room bull sessions forever. When skirt-chasing Ted lands a job as a grocery clerk, he and a busty co-worker, make the stockroom their love nest. You may never look at parsnips again without snickering.” Wow. You can pay $10 (plus popcorn) for sex jokes involving parsnips.
The New York Times, perhaps mindful that its high-brow readers tend to approve of sex with root vegetables only when it occurs in art museums at taxpayer-expense, was more measured. “Sexual and flatulence-based gags are accompanied by the usual side dishes: warmed-over pop-cultural references and cheap-shot jabs at celebrities and ethnic minorities,” the Times warned. But, “There are some genuinely, wildly funny bits in the movie — a brutal motel-room fistfight between Ted and John; a cocaine-fueled talking binge; a few choice insults and smutty riffs.”
So it’s pretty much “Family Guy” in theatrical release. McFarlane, a strident liberal, has never taken the high road with that cartoon. In addition to babies drinking horse semen, the comedy is known for trashing the Tea Party, abortion jokes, portraying Jesus as a lying, smoking slacker, and even received an Emmy nod for a song titled "Down Syndrome Girl," which alluded to Sarah Palin and her daughter who suffers from Down’s Syndrome.
So the “Family Guy” is a real Norman Rockwell painting, and McFarlane heralds "Ted" as a “family comedy for families whose parents don't mind swearing around their kids.”
As the preview states “Everyone has to grow up.” Everyone that is, except Seth McFarlane.