My jaw hit the floor when I read the "what could they be thinking?" announcement that Microsoft had commissioned an entire half-hour special by the maker and cast of the adult cartoon hit "Family Guy". The show was to include plugs embedded in the narrative extolling the virtues of its new Windows 7 operating system.
Had they ever watched his show, I asked myself? Apparently they have now, as the company announced it is dropping the idea.
Gee, I wonder what part of Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane's oeuvre offended their Microsensibilities?
Perhaps the chorus line of aborted fetuses singing "Prom Night Dumpster Baby"? Stewie's warm comedic takes on Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden? Peter's gay ménage à trois? The cameos by Jesus? Dog/hottie sex?
There are no icons too dear or incidents too revered to avoid skewing on the tines of the Family Guy fork. McFarlane's willingness to leap off the cliff of tastefulness is one reason the show routinely finishes high in the weekly Nielsen ratings.
The edgy content also becomes a risk for sponsors. After witnessing the wholesale abandonment of Glen Beck after he called the president a racist, Microsoft probably figured the risk was not justified by the potential reward.
Also, I suspected that the producers of Family Guy would find it beyond their capacity to shill for the product when such a rich vein for satire lay opened before them, a suspicion confirmed by a story in Advertising Age.
I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed; I really was curious about Stewie's take on Windows 7, although he does seem more like an Apple baby.
News of the expected: Microsoft drops plans to sponsor Family Guy cast special