Family Guy 8.12

Disclaimer: I am not representative of those who are or are allies for Down’s Syndrome persons.  This is mostly the opinion of a Family Guy viewer who saw a lack of coverage on the Internet about something that is important to me, which is: equal opportunities for everyone, and support for those who are not given such opportunities.

So, there’s been a lot of controversy (if that is how we describe wounded shouting these days) about Family Guy’s Season 8, Episode 12 musical number “Down’s Syndrome Girl.”  For the uninitiated:

Is your toe tapping?  Good!  Do you feel your cheeks burning a little?  Why is that?  Do you feel like there is something to be ashamed about when making a comedic song about getting ready for a date with a girl who happens to have Down’s Syndrome?  I don’t think you need to be embarrassed about it.  Why?

Well, for a multitude of reasons.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite reason:  Andrea Fay Friedman, the voice actress for Ellen in this episode of Family Guy, specifically stated her support for the show’s portrayal of her character.  Her response to Sarah Palin’s poor reaction was quite igniting in the news and blogging world.  My favorite line from the HuffPost article?  “My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.”  And…ouch!

Sarah Palin and son Trig

Could this be the loaf-toting Andrea is talking about? Obviously, I found the most “incriminating” image…

Reason two: have you listened to the lyrics for the song?  Nothing in them makes Down’s Syndrome itself a joke.  It pokes fun at particular traits that might be exhibited by a person with Down’s Syndrome.  It’s a fine line, but Family Guy treaded it thoughtfully.  And it’s a line that not everyone can see.  It’s like the difference between telling someone They Are funny, and Things They Do are funny.  Sloppily handling the Line makes the difference between a thought-provoking and enjoyable discussion and a cringeworthy, poorly executed excuse for comedic commentary.  It also makes the difference between an observation and an attack.  Family Guy, to my personal understanding, has made an opening for critical and open-minded discussion with the production of this episode.  They did not simply use Down’s Syndrome as a launch-point for some painful “comedy.”

So, what sort of Down’s Syndrome-themed news should make us feel crappy?  Try this: Down’s Syndrome Pakistani Girl Accused of Blasphemy.  Want to know why?  Because she is a victim of an unfair patriarchal theocracy.  It doesn’t innately matter that she has Down’s Syndrome.  What does matter is the likelihood that her physical appearance and cognitive ability may have painted her as a target for religious and political persecution.  This is wrong.  This is sickening.  This is inhumane.

On the flip-side: how are people helping our fellow humans?  Well, we’ve got a company called Downs Designs, which makes clothing specifically sized and cut with the more typical body shapes of Down’s Syndrome persons.  The concept of specialty stores making appropriately tailored items is not new.  Tying back to the community I am more familiar with: many transgender persons have notable difficulty finding clothing that looks good and fits flatteringly on a body shape that was not necessarily in mind.  F-to-M dudes usually have trouble finding pants that don’t slip down, and that don’t accentuate the hips in a counter-productive manner.  M-to-F ladies often have the MOST HELLISH time finding cute, feminine shoes that come in sizes big enough.  It’s not so different that Down’s Syndrome persons have their own needs for looser-fitting necklines and specifically tapered jeans.

To go an even more fashionable route, we’ve got 10-month-old Valentina modelling Spanish designer Dolores Cortez’s 2013 kids’ collection.  AND, Cortez is donate 10% of profits from the fashion line to the Down Syndrome Association of Miami.  Here’s a photo of the cutie, to send you on your way:

Valentina Models for DC Kids

Valentina Models for DC Kids

Cool Story, Bro

True fact: if you are on a budget and use foaming hand soap, buy the regular hand soap.  Fill your empty soap dispenser about 1/5 full of the regular liquid soap.  Fill the rest with water, leaving room at the top for the gigantic pump.  Screw the pump on.  Gently swirl (it will foam quickly if agitated).  Use.

If you wait overnight, the soap have passively well-distributed itself and it will look like normal foaming soap fluid.

Viola!  You have saved yourself the wasted time, money, and effort of replacing an entire soap dispenser.

On the flip side; foaming hand soap now feels like a dirty, dirty con.  Like ice in soda.  You know what Germany did about that?  They have lines on their glasses that your soda has to be filled to, and they tend to grudgingly hand you a second glass with ice in it.  (If I could find a dang picture, I would show you.)

Pot Pie!

[RECIPE UNDER CONSTRUCT–will be updated with more concrete, less messy instruction]

I do pot pie right.

I look into my fridge and grab left over meat, in this case, delicious pulled pork from a week ago, and turn it into the filling for a pot pie.

It works for those of us who haven’t “enough” meat, too, if you cook rice and then use it to stretch out the meat filling.  Throw in some frozen peas to the mix and you’ve got a tasty, meaty, pie-crusty dish that fills you right up!

Now, pot pie is a three (or four) -part business.  You’ve got crust, gravy, and filling, (and maybe rice to cook separately and then add to your filling).  In the order you will need to do this in:

 

THE NIGHT BEFORE

Make a pie crust.  Or, pat it into a 1/2 inch disk and stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

I pulled my recipe from the internet, but altered slightly as follows [I did mine in a 8-in cake round, so you may need to double this crust recipe in order to make a top for your pot pie.  I will be doing this again in a more standardized way and eventually fixing this post]:

PIE CRUST

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Directions

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add half of the cold water, mix loosely, the add the rest of the water and mix until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight [or that thing I said about the freezer].

THE DAY OF

[Start your rice in the rice cooker.  Brown rice is good for this recipe, cooking 1 cup (dry measure) will be plenty for most.   This is an optional step for those of us using leftover meat and who may not have enough to fill the pie.  You may skip this step otherwise.]

FILLING

1 pound of meat, cubed or otherwise bite-sized.  OR as much as you have up to 1 pound, and add cooked rice, as discussed above.

1 cup of frozen green peas or corn

half a medium-sized onion, chopped

one medium-sized potato, cut into approx. 1×1 cm cubes.

butter. butter butter butter (half a stick will get you through the rest of this recipe, easy)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in large pan on medium-high heat.  Take potatoes, frozen peas or corn, and chopped onions, and cook, stirring every few minutes to prevent vegetable from sticking, for about 8 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to soften.  Add meat and cook another 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

 

GRAVY

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
Salt
Pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
2 1/2 c. milk
Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper; cook until smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling on medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir and boil 1 minute. Remove from heat.  Pour half of this into the FILLING mixture and stir to combine.
[Is your rice done?  Add what you need to the FILLING mixture at this point and stir it again.  Eat any leftover rice while you’re waiting.]
And now we PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 375 degrees Fahrenheit!
While the oven is heating up, roll out your pie crust dough.  One crust for the bottom of your 9-inch pie dish, the other for the top.
Place your bottom crust in the pie dish.  Dump the FILLING into the bottom crust, and smooth the top.  Then pour the remaining GRAVY over the top of the FILLING.  Place the top crust and seal the edges as you like.  I like to trim the top crust to fit in the dish and then take the untrimmed bottom crust and flop the extra bits on top, sealing with water as needed.  Cut slits or poke holes. in the top crust.
BAKE for 40 minutes at 375 degrees.  The filling should bubble a little out of holes in your top crust.  Remove from oven and let to cool for 10 minutes.