[i] Malcolm in the Middle [/i] crossed a line last night

I’m still creeped out.

Understand something. I have an awfully rough sense of humor myself. I used to be a major fan of the National Lampoon, and they weren’t exactly famous for their sensitivity and discretion.

But last night *Malcolm in the Middle * tried to make fun of a dog eating an old woman’s amputated leg.

It was gross. It was offensive. It simply wasn’t funny.

I know the show is supposed to be famous for its weird, off-the-wall humor, edgy humor, but this went so far beyond the bounds of good taste as to ruin the show for me. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to watch it again without this rather sickening memory popping into my head anc creeping me out.

There are appropriate places for sick humor, but I don’t think a TV sitcom is one of them.

Have humorists become so preoccupied with being “edgy” that they’ve lost all perspective?

I didn’t see the show… how was it done? Was the dog chewing on the leg whilst attached the the user? Was she writing and screaming?

The only comparison I can draw in my mind was the Friends episode where it was revealed that Joey once woke up in the middle of the night and in a sleep induced haze threw his girlfriend’s prosthetic leg on the fire thinking it was a log.

That was funny. :smiley:

I don’t know if that’s offensive, but it does sound gross. And yes, since part of being funny is surprise, there are always people who go for the shortcut of shocking people. It’s easier than writing really good humor.

The premise was that the mean, abusive grandmother loses her leg saving the youngest kid from being hit by a truck. In gratitude, the kid wants to do something to honor his grandma for risking, almost sacrificing, her life, and choses to give the leg a funeral. He steals the leg from the hospital. While he’s in the middle of performing a burial ceremony for the leg (which has been wrapped in a cloth) his father comes home with a dog he’s bought for the kid to cheer him up. While the kid is trying to keep his from finding out that he’s stolen the leg from the hospital, the dog gets out of the car and starts chewing on the leg. The father and kid chase him, and the dog runs away carrying the leg with him into the basement where he continues to eat it. The chewing and eating wasn’t actually shown on screen.

The humor completely escaped me. It was just weird and gross, not funny. I’m afraid this has cast something of a pall on the entire show for me. I realize it jumped the shark a season or two ago, but I’ve always been a faithful viewer. I’m not sure I will be any more.

You kidding? I was rolling on the floor laughing! Lois’ mother is one of the meanest bitches ever portrayed on the screen, and the idea that she lost her leg saving Dewey’s life is ridiculous. She’d be more likely to kick Dewey in front of a truck than save him…

And Dewey didn’t ‘steal’ the leg from the hospital-- he called up the medical waste guy and had the leg shipped to him-- and ended up with a box FULL of amputated legs. The look of horror as he kept digging into the dry ice and finding more legs… then having to play Cinderella later to find the right leg was priceless.

And really, when Hal brought home that dog, what else did you expect to happen? :smiley:

Well, I think it was offensive, and I suspect most people would agree with me. I don’t think I’m unreasonably squeamish or prudish, but this sort of thing does seem to be getting out of hand. A lot of police dramas these days show lingering close-ups of mutilated corpses which contribute absolutely nothing to the story and seem to be intended for no other purpose than catering to some sick, sadistic impulse.

If you’re this easily offended, then MitM is not the show for you. Just remember what they did to Craig’s cat.

I liked it quite a bit. The show had gone downhill the last 2 seasons and has bounced back some this season. (Still a couple of duds here and there.)

FWIW, no severed leg was shown. All legs(!) were wrapped. The ickiest part to me was the blood oozing thru the bandage on Ida’s stump. The Simpsons have done far worse.

If anyone can recall the exact wording of Hal’s line to Dewey, I’d appreciate it. Something like:
“What part of you thinks involving the authorities would be a good idea?”

Now that’s the Wilkerson view of the world.

I don’t agree with you. I think the scenario caused me to move the corners of my mouth up a centimeter. Funny - not to me. Offensive - same.

I was pretty grossed out. I was eating dinner and I overcooked the broccoli, and it was mushy and gross, and I was down about it and then the leg thing really made me feel sick. Then it was finally over and the Simpsons came on and something really gross happened on the Simpsons too. Homer vomiting up spiders! Jeez. I know the adult thing to do would be to not eat dinner in front of the TV, but of course I just threw out my dinner and watched the rest of the shows.

It was kind of a black humor moment but I didn’t find it particularly offensive; the sheer black horror of it was mitigated for the following reasons.

  1. Lois’ mother, played to horrid perfection by the incomparable Cloris Leachman, had it tragically amputated, so we should consider it “medical waste.” It happned post-op, and she wasn’t even aware it’d been eaten. When horrible things happen to horrible fictional people, that mitigates.

  2. The dog was a puppy with a red bow tie as a present to Dewey. Cuteness and irony mitigates.

  3. The doggy scoots off-camera with the leg. Everything about the devouring is insinuated by sound effects. Lack of visuals mitigates.

Of course, YMMV.

Humor snobs! This board is increasingly infested with humor snobs.

Also, I don’t see Malcolm as having jumped the shark completely. It’s had quite a few brilliant moments of sheer comic genius – remember this season’s episode when Hal exchanges presents with everyone and has the family drive and drive all the way to his non-existent present? Or the billboard protest? Or when the boys teach Craig to fight dirty? Reese’s classic: “Show me a man with pride and I’ll show you a man with limited options!”

No wonder, man, you’re eating broccoli!

I didn’t like The Simpsons thing either, but I have a thing about spiders and that’s how it is. I jumped a little when they fell off the box. The “now look at the drawing” thing just about made up for it, though, and it was a good episode.

I really don’t think I’m all that easily offended. I’m pretty sure most people would have been made uncomfortable with that scenario.

Not sure, but I think the exact quote was, “What makes you think the authorities should be involved in any part of this?”

Didn’t bother me. But I can’t believe you didn’t include the moment the ‘grandma leg eating dog’ came and licked Reese right in the mouth.

So now, why was it so gross? Nothing was shown from your words.

Btw, it sounds freaking hilarious… I’m sorry I missed it.

Really the adult thing to do is not to overcook the vegetables. It was the broccoli I tell you.

I thought this thread was going to be about Lois’ apology to Francis. I was almost in tears over that exchange. It was very deep.

I can’t believe someone other than Cotton Hill would be offended over the amputated leg-chewing scene. Sheesh.

I used to be a Lampoon subscriber back in the good old days. Are you suggesting that there are mainstream US TV shows more offensive than Doggy Wogs?

Long live Chris Miller and PJ O’Rourke.

I didn’t see it, but from the description I completely fail to see how it was offensive. Very gross, yes. But how is it offensive? Making light of amputation vicitims?

Or does gross simply turn into offensive if it’s gross enough?

Well, yes, it does.

Well, actually, there were a number of times when I’d put down an issue of the 'Poon, and say, “That wasn’t funny. That was just cruel and/or gross.”