By: Parents TV Council
Allen Gregory (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET) is the animation equivalent of Toddlers & Tiaras. Granted, the former is an animated show while the latter is a reality show, which makes the sexualized depictions of young contestants that much more disturbing. Nevertheless, the fact that Allen Gregory is animated doesn’t diminish one’s disgust at the mere thought of a seven year-old making a sex tape with an elderly woman. Call it absurdist humor, misguided satire, or irreverent edginess. Whatever the label, we at the PTC simply refer to it as the Worst TV Show of the Week.
Last week’s column railed against the series’ premiere for its depictions of Allen Gregory’s sexual fantasies of his principal, yet held out hope that the show would redeem itself. “For now,” the column read, “we’re willing to wait to see how frequently the show dips into this putrid well.” Well, the answer seems to be quite frequently. And judging by the content of the November 6th episode, the show didn’t merely dip into the well, it feel completely in.
For the show’s opening, Allen Gregory and his friend Patrick are late for class, but Allen Gregory lingers by the parking lot to watch “the show.”
Principal Gottlieb exits her car.
Allen: “Uh-oh, Principal Gottlieb. Looks like somebody forgot their Danish, huh?”
Gottlieb: “Aw, crap.”
She leans across the driver’s seat to grab her pastry sitting on the passenger side.
Allen: “Three, two, one…and there’s the money shot.”
Gottlieb’s thong is briefly exposed above her pant-waist. She seductively bites into her pastry.
Allen: “That’s right Angel, you earned it.”
Gottlieb passes by Allen Gregory and Patrick sitting on the bench.
Gottlieb: “Get inside!”
Allen: “Oh, I’m working on it.”
Later, feeling pressure to upstage his rival, Allen Gregory spreads a rumor about the existence of a sex tape with him and Principal Gottlieb. Allen Gregory’s father, Richard, is curious to hear about the supposed rumor flying around school. While the family – which includes Allen Gregory’s adopted sister, Julie, and Richard’s partner, Jeffrey – sits around the dinner table, he explains:
Richard: “What’s the rumor?”
Allen Gregory: “That there’s a sex tape of us.”
Richard: “Ooh, juicy. So is there any truth to it?”
Allen Gregory: “I’d really rather not get into it. I don’t want to feed the machine.”
Richard: “I get it. But you know what you should do? Get out in front of it, address it, cut a distribution deal so you can get a piece of it, and at the same time protect your relationship.”
Julie: “Okay, you do realize he’s seven.”
Eventually, Allen Gregory threatens to screen the tape as scepticism about its existence grows. He confides to spa concierge, Carl-Trent about his troubles.
Carl-Trent: “Ah, it’s no big deal. I mean what second grader hasn’t at some point claimed he made a sex tape with an old white woman in the school administration? It’s just boyhood hijinks like playing stickball and mail fraud.
Allen Gregory: I know you’re trying to cheer me up, but no one believes me. And if no one believes I have a sex tape with the principal, how the hell am I gonna have any friends? I’m out of moves here CT. Anything short of producing the actual tape…”
Carl-Trent: “You need a sex tape, Carl-Trent can get you a sex tape.”
Allen Gregory: “Really? You can do that?”
Carl-Trent: “Sure, I’m a sex tape man. Tell me what you want. Paint the canvas for me.”
Allen Gregory: “Well, I think it would just need to be regular sex, like one person should be running away saying, ‘No, I don’t feel like it,’ and the other person should completely ignore that and say something like, ‘Come on, Jeremy, just go with it.’ Then there should be a slap, and then somebody should plead to God, like, ‘What has my life become?’ And then I think we should just wrap it up with a little crying in the bathroom.”
Carl-Trent: “Aw, AG, that’s not sex. That’s making love.”
Carl-Trent, however, doesn’t produce the sex tape that Allen Gregory thought he’d provide. So Carl-Trent asks, “Why don’t you go over there, have sex with the woman, film it, and use that tape?”
Ultimately, Allen Gregory comes to school with a DVD labelled, “1 Night in Gottlieb” – a reference to Paris Hilton’s infamous sex tape which was distributed as “1 Night in Paris” – but the DVD is destroyed before it can be screened.
The storyline was vile enough, but the frequent reminders that Allen Gregory is only seven years old didn’t help matters.
More disturbing is the pattern of child sexualization across Fox’s “Animation Domination” Sunday block of shows. Of course, there’s Stewie on Family Guy; the toddler frequently alludes to his sexual attraction to men. Youtube contains compilations of clips throughout the seasons that depict Stewie ogling, hitting on, and dating adult men. On The Cleveland Show, five year-old Rallo has looked up the skirts of his kindergarten classmates and lamented the fact that they have no breasts. And now, Allen Gregory can be added to this troubling list.
And before naysayers incessantly point out that these are cartoons, there’s the undeniable “ick” factor despite the absurdity of the genre. We realize no real children were objectified, unlike the infamous Pretty Woman incident on Toddlers & Tiaras. But amidst the national debate about whether television has gone too far, Fox’s Animation division should be included in the discussion. As Nielsen data have shown, some of these animated shows are the highest-rated among viewers 12-17. Though the child characters may be cartoons, the viewers are actual children. Is this the brand of animation Fox really wants to be associated with? Evidently it does. Why else would it keep making stuff like this?
For continuing a growing pattern of child sexualization on its animated shows, Fox’s Allen Gregory has been named Worst TV Show of the Week.
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