The similarities between the characters on the animated TV series Family Guy and the characters in tomorrow’s mayoral election here in Accordion City are too great to ignore. Consider…
Rob Ford is Peter Griffin
The physical resemblance between Peter Griffin and Rob Ford, while not exact, is “close enough for rock ‘n’ roll”:
The resemblance between Griffin and Ford in conduct and deed, however, is downright uncanny. Family Guy is centred around the my-God-are-you-really-that-stupid antics of Peter Griffin, who somehow manages to come out on top despite his best efforts. Should Rob Ford become mayor, City Council is likely to become the same thing.
Eye Weekly, one of Accordion City’s free alt-weekly papers, did a pretty nice job of summing up Ford:
Wait, you say the mayoral frontrunner is an uncouth, simple-minded loudmouth with a notoriously bad temper and a penchant for saying absolutely the wrong thing? And he wants to rip up streetcar tracks, slash city spending and dismantle service infrastructure? And to top it all off, he has a demonstrated inability to get anyone on council to work with him? Where do we sign up? Seriously, though: the best-case scenario with Ford is that he can’t accomplish anything. Worst-case, he ruins the city entirely.
Ford’s campaign mantra is to “stop the gravy train” – to stop wasteful spending at City Hall. Hey, I’m all for cutting waste, but what he proposes to cut are either for show (things like free subway and zoo passes for City Council members) or useful and vital city infrastructure. To Ford, it seems that the Mayor’s number one job is to make things cheap.
Like Peter Griffin, Ford says many things that reveal his stunted intellect. Check out the quotes below. Which are Peter Griffin’s and which are Rob Ford’s?
- Go to the Orient, go to Hong Kong. You want to see workaholics? Those Oriental people work like dogs… they sleep beside their machines. The Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over… they’re hard, hard workers.
- Someday a white man’s gonna to be elected President again.
- Do you have a job, sir? I’ll give you a newspaper to find a job, like everyone else has to do between 9 and 5.
- They accuse me all the time of not liking gays…which I do.
- (AIDS) is very preventable. If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line.
- Gays don’t vomit. They’re a very clean people. And they’ve been that way ever since they came over to this country from France.
- How are women getting (AIDS)? Maybe they are sleeping with bisexual men.
- Women aren’t people. They are devices built by the lord Jesus Christ for our entertainment.
- I can’t support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.
- I don’t come down to Burger King and tell you how to do your job.
- The reason I forgot about the marijuana charge … is because that same evening, I was charged with failing to give a breath sample.
- The Nutcracker had zero physical comedy. And, and, with a name like the Nutcracker, I thought, oh, this would be worth a few yucks. But no…that title wrote a check those queers on stage refused to cash.
- Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?
- I don’t understand. Number one, I don’t understand a transgender, I don’t understand, is it a guy dressed up like a girl or a girl dressed up like a guy?
- How ’bout THAT side boob? That turn you on? Well it shouldn’t. That’s MY side boob.
(In case you wondering, 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 14 are actual Rob Ford quotes. The rest are Peter Griffin. All quotes sound perfect if you imagine them being said with Peter Griffin’s voice.)
Back in August, Ford had a very eventful week (taken from Eye Weekly) that could’ve just as easily been a Peter Griffin week:
- August 12, 2010: In a newspaper interview, Rob Ford alleges corruption on the part of a restaurant owner and the city’s executive committee, drawing immediate outrage and (later in the campaign) a libel lawsuit.
- August 17, 2010: During a debate, Ford says of immigration to the city, “We can’t even deal with the 2.5 million people. How are we going to welcome another million people in? It is going to be chaotic. We can’t even deal with the chaos we have now. I think we have to say enough’s enough.”
- August 18, 2010: The Toronto Sun asks him to comment on evidence he was charged in 1999 in Florida for marijuana possession. He denies it.
- August 19, 2010: As his mug shot and denial appear on the front page of the Sun, Ford holds a press conference to admit to the pot charges, and says he’d forgotten because he was also charged that night with drunk driving, a more serious offence, and the marijuana charges were dropped. He also admits then to two assault charges — both withdrawn — on his record.
- August 19, 2010: Toronto media outlets use the current controversies to run down his history of scandal, including: drunkenly abusing strangers at a Maple Leafs game, insulting fellow councillors, being opposed to same-sex marriage, making insensitive comments about gays and AIDS, being asked to leave a school football coaching job after a shouting match with a student, offering to try to score prescription drugs on the street for a constituent, and referring to “orientals” as people who “work like dogs” and are “taking over.”
- August 23, 2010: A poll shows Rob Ford widening his lead in the mayoral race despite the revelations.
Only on Family Guy and here in Accordion City would this be possible.
Peter Griffin’s arch-enemy is a giant chicken. A number of Family Guy episodes have been interrupted by non-sequitur all-out brawls between the two:
And perhaps sensing the Peter Griffin/Rob Ford connection, mayoral candidate George Smitherman (see below) has occasionally sent out someone in a chicken costume to show up at Ford’s campaign appearances:
George Smitherman is Stewie Griffin
George Smitherman is the other front-running candidate in this election, and like Rob Ford, he too has a Family Guy doppelganger: Stewie Griffin:
They have the same debating style — Stewie has his outbursts, Smitherman has been dubbed “Furious George” by the press — and for the most part, hairline and sexual preference (Smitherman is gay, Stewie has the occasional dalliance with a girl). If only Smitherman had a catchphrase like Stewie’s “What the deuce?!”
Both Stewie and Smitherman have had trouble with technology. In earlier seasons of Family Guy, Stewie was played of as a Dexter’s Laboratory-style mad-scientist wunderkind with dreams of world domination whose incredible devices failed him. In Smitherman’s case, it’s the billion-dollar price tag for Ontario’s eHealth system.
For the sane, sensible anyone-but-Ford voter, he’s the best bet.
Mayor David Miller is Mayor Adam West
Not only do the two front-running candidates have Family Guy counterparts, but the current and outgoing mayor, David Miller, has one too: Mayor Adam West, the not-completely-there municipal leader of Quahog:
Family Guy’s casting of Adam West is odd, but it works. It’s probably because West will remain forever typecast in the collective pop culture subconscious as “Batman” from the 1960s television show, which gave the Dark Knight a very silly, campy treatment. On the show, West plays “Mayor Adam West”, a delusional and certifiable but harmless nut under whose leadership the town of Quahog somehow manages to function.
Here’s Mayor Adam West with one of his inventions, a crossbow that shoots cats:
While Mayor David Miller isn’t as far gone as Mayor Adam West is, Miller’s image in Toronto’s eyes is certainly Adam West-esque. From a promising start as the progressive candidate who embodied the spirit of downtown Toronto, his image has devolved from that high point to ineffectual do-gooder to his current low where we generally see his work as that toxic combination of good intentions and hare-brained execution.
For Miller’s reputation, the final nail in its coffin was his poor handling of the city’s service unions, which are generally the hiding place for the sort of under-achiever who wants to get paid for just showing up. We’ve had:
In all cases, Miller stood behind the unions and their members rather than the citizenry whom they serve, and as a result, this election and the bizarre popularity of a goon like Rob Ford is at least partly a referendum on his performance.
David Miller’s Greatest Contribution to Accordion City
David Miller’s most lasting contribution to Accordion City may be one he never intended: the blossoming of the Toronto Island Airport (more formally know as Billy Bishop Airport or its airport code, YTZ) and Porter Airlines. When he was running for mayor, he made killing the proposed bridge to the island a major plank in his campaign. By making access difficult, it was hoped that it would kill off the island airport, a dream of the city’s hippies, enviro-nuts and various layabouts and miscreants who don’t really work for a living.
This sustained campaign against the airport forced the airport and the short-haul Porter Airlines, who use the airport as its home base, to become amazing at customer service. Porter’s service and friendliness is head and shoulders above any other North American airlines’, their airport lounge is more like the comfortable private lounges that other airlines offer to their frequent-flying customers than the glorified bus terminals that most airport gates are, and the food and drink on the flight – even the alcoholic stuff — is free. They’ve worked hard to make the World’s Most Pointless Ferry Ride, a 90-second boat trip from the city to the island, as comfortable and efficient as possible. Porter’s staff really look after you. I’m quite certain that in the end, Miller’s opposition to the Island Airport was a major factor is what made Porter great.
Having an airport right by the downtown core is great. Business travel, which used to involved a long schlep by car or bus through smoke-belching traffic, is now greatly simplified. That’s the sort of thing that Accordion City needs to maintain the kind of prosperity that ironically enables the sort of anti-Island Airport windowlicker to live here as a non-essential, barely-contributing member of society. As for the noise that everyone said would accompany airport expansion, the noise by traffic, partiers in the club district and streetcars turning is far worse.
So if there is something you should thank David Miller for, it’s for the success of the Island Airport, through his vigorous obstruction. Be sure to do it the next time you see him!