The other night I had the telly on while I was working. I was paying just enough attention to know that what was rumbling on in the background was an episode of Family Guy.
Somehow I managed to notice that near the end of the episode (which it turns out was called Quagmire’s Baby) there was a brief, funny, disability-related joke that really made me laugh. I liked it because it came out of nowhere, was well observed, and very quick.
I’ll give you a brief plot summary so that it all makes sense:
Quagmire’s discovered he’s a dad. He decides he’s not cut out for fatherhood, so the baby’s adopted. But he soon has second thoughts and, accompanied by his mates, Steve, and Joe – who uses a wheelchair – he sets off to check up on the baby in its new home. When they get there, there’s a step at the front gate and the following scene unfolds:
Joe: Well, it’s just me an’ my old nemesis – first step
Step: Hey Joe what you doing, you out for a walk?
Joe is left out of shot on the pavement while Quagmire and Steve go to the window of the house and peer in at the baby and her new family. In the middle of all the emotion you hear Joe shout ‘What’s happening?’ from off-screen.
Steve: He’s not going to go through with it – it’s a nice family and the kid’ll be better off here.
Joe: Oh that’s sweet, what does the inside of the house look like?
Steve: ‘Colonial, furniture’s pretty good, possibly imported…’
The whole scene lasts just over a minute and it’s completely unrelated to any of the episode’s main themes. It’s refreshing to see issues around disability and access touched upon in such a light, natural and humorous way.
I was glad to have caught this and seen my old nemesis, first step, exposed in animated form.
“Father Christmas and the tooth fairy eloped to St Tropez.”