In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season it would only be fitting that The Family Guy would join with the ranks of South Park to mock and profane religion. The episode titled “The Father, The Son and the Holy Fonz” follows Peter’s struggle with the religion of his upbringing and his own beliefs when his father comes to town to celebrate his birthday.
When Lois expresses her concern over the potential tensions that could rise between Peter’s father Francis, a devout Roman Catholic, and the rest of the family, Peter dismisses her by telling her that they will be fine.
Francis then knocks on the door and Lois runs to greet him. “Francis, it’s good to see you!” “You haven’t changed a bit, you lying bitch!” says Francis as he comes in the door. And thus, Francis’ visit begins. Francis is soon asking Peter why he hasn’t gotten Stewie baptized yet. Lois and Peter have decided to let their children figure out what their beliefs are but to appease his father, Peter agrees to have Stewie baptized behind Lois’s back. At the church the priest tells them that he will be unable to perform the baptism as their most recent shipment of holy water has been contaminated. In the next scene a cardinal at the Vatican is shown coming out of a bathroom stall and going out the door without washing his hands. Francis decides to baptize Stewie himself. Stewie then falls ill and spends the remainder of the episode in a plastic bubble to protect his immune system.
Peter is upset following the whole baptism ordeal. Lois again tells him that he doesn’t have to believe exactly what his father believes and should not be afraid to find out for himself how he feels. So Peter tries to find out what exactly it is that he believes in. He first tries to become a Mormon. When he finds out that he can’t have beer as a Mormon he quickly abandons it. He then tries to become a Jehovah’s Witness. Peter is shown going door to door to talk to people about God. The only time a door does not slam in his face he tries to talk about God but realizes he has nothing to say. Finally Peter decides to try Hinduism. Peter and a priest are kneeling on a rug when out of the blue, Peter tackles the priest. When asked why, Peter tells him it is because he thought that the dot (a pottu) on his forehead was the light from a sniper rifle. The priest explains that “It is a sacred portal through which all light, goodness, rejuvenation, joy and ecstasy may enter the human form.” “A vagina?” asks Peter.
Frustrated , Peter goes home and sits down to watch TV. During an episode of Happy Days, Howard is shown telling Fonzie that he “wants to pleasure Marion for their anniversary but has erectile dysfunction.” Fonzie proceeds to remedy his condition by flicking him in the groin. It is then that Peter realizes that his source of wisdom is the star of Happy Days. He officially founds the “First United Church of the Fonz.” Despite its attracting a few followers; Brian and Francis immediately dismiss the church. “All Peter’s done is find another way to exploit people’s ignorance” explains Brian to Stewie. Soon, Brian and Francis have recruited other celebrities to start their own churches and steal away Peter’s congregation. Later, when Peter is upset having lost his church, Brian tries to console him by saying “people like that are always looking for the next voice to tell them what to do.”
It isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last time that the writers of The Family Guy take something as personal and meaningful as religion and mock it in the most superficial and narrow-minded ways for the sake of being outré during the Holidays. For this it is our Worst of the Week.