“MADtv” WON’T GIVE UP
Catalyst October Issue 2007
On September 15, Fox’s “MADtv” kicked off its 13th season by featuring a series of some of the show’s past comedy skits. The new season opener, hosted by raunchy talk-show star Jerry Springer, was the first of a four-part “Best of MADtv” series.
Included in the program’s trip down memory lane was one of several past skits by “MADtv” that lampooned the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic priesthood.
While many people would expect a program like “MADtv” to cause offense on a frequent basis, a look at the show’s history reveals little along the lines of derogatory treatment of certain demographic groups.
We did research on “MADtv” and could find nothing in the way of complaints about the show from blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays, or Muslims. One has to go back to 2000 for a sole complaint from an Asian-American advocacy group; in 2003 there was one complaint from postal workers regarding a “going postal” parody on the show.
It’s the same tired old story—in the popular culture, most groups are off-limits when it comes to causing deliberate and habitual offense. But Catholic priests are fair game, and there are repeat offenders in the entertainment world—such as the folks at “MADtv”—who have a hard time giving it up.