“Dads” has found itself in a sticky situation with the Parents Television Council.
The media watchdog group is calling on its members to file indecency complaints against the Fox comedy, citing an episode that featured a semen joke and other bawdy references.
According to the PTC, the series — which counts Seth MacFarlane among its executive producers — went out of bounds multiple times with its Jan. 14 episode.
Among the jokes that the PTC takes issue with is an exchange during which Warner (played by Giovanni Ribisi) uses an ultra-violet light to disinfect the desk of Brenda Song’s Veronica character.
“These things are amazing,” Warner notes. “It even lights up semen.”
At which point, Warner’s father Crawford (played by Martin Mull) walks in and waves hello — exposing presumed traces of semen on his hand.
The PTC also objected to a gag that occurred when Camila (played by Vanessa Lachey) attempted to watch TV with David and Crawford — the titular dads — nearby.
“What about that show ‘Girls’?” Camila suggests.
“Hey, I’m trying to get erections, not lose them,” David (Peter Riegert) replies.
The episode, which aired at 8 p.m., had a TV-14 rating, indicating that it was appropriate for ages 14 and older.
“Last year the Fox Broadcast Network filed formal comments at the FCC urging the elimination of broadcast decency enforcement, and now we’re seeing why they did so,” PTC president Tim Winter said in a statement. “The airing of this kind of sexual content, especially during the so-called ‘family hour,’ may violate the law that Fox and other broadcasters are so eager to purge. The Supreme Court held that law in place, and today we are urging members of the public to file a formal FCC indecency complaint over this episode of ‘Dads.'”
While the Parents Television Council has been a reliable source of complaints over sexually oriented content, “Dads” has faced criticism on other fronts. Before the series had premiered, the group Media Action Network for Asian Americans asked Fox to re-shoot the pilot due to scenes that the group perceived as racially insensitive. (The request was rebuffed.)
Fox had no comment on the PTC’s call for indecency complaints against “Dads.”