Toronto’s Mayoral Election is “Family Guy”!

by Joey deVilla on October 24, 2010

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”:

peter griffin is rob ford

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.

grinds my gears

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.

peter griffin special dad

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?

    1. 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.
    2. Someday a white man’s gonna to be elected President again.
    3. 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.
    4. They accuse me all the time of not liking gays…which I do.
    5. (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.
    6. 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.
    7. How are women getting (AIDS)? Maybe they are sleeping with bisexual men.
    8. Women aren’t people. They are devices built by the lord Jesus Christ for our entertainment.
    9. 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.
    10. I don’t come down to Burger King and tell you how to do your job.
    11. The reason I forgot about the marijuana charge … is because that same evening, I was charged with failing to give a breath sample.
    12. 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.
    13. Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?
    14. 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?
    15. 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.)

peter and lois griffin stoned

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:

peter griffin vs chicken

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:

On 28-jul-10, at 4:32 pm, tim finlan wrote: tim finlan  photo assignment editor  toronto star  (416) 869-4341 work  (416) 434-5460 cell  tfinlan@thestar.ca begin forwarded message: from: steve russell <steve@steverussell.ca> date: july 28, 2010 3:35:24 pm edt to: photo assignment <edtphotoassign@thestar.ca> subject: rob ford protester at city hall steve russell toronto star sent from my iphone please excuse any spelling mistakes

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:

stewie griffin is george smitherman
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?!”

stewie griffin gay bar

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.

stewie griffin raygun

ontario ehealth

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:

adam west is david miller

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:

adam west cat launcher

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

porter airlines
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!

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

OtherGuy October 24, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Stunningly accurate analysis. Who knew life was like TV?

Alex Beamish October 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm

This is brilliant, excellent, and any other positive superlative that I can think of. Thanks Joey!

Chris Taylor October 24, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I’d be more inclined to say Bob Deluce is what made Porter great. Deluce and his whole family have literally decades of experience running regional airlines. He operated Air Ontario before Mapleflot bought them out (along with a wad of other regionals around the country) and created Air Canada Jazz.

I flew on Air Ontario many times prior to its merger with the other AC regionals; it was comfortable but not luxurious, and the service was definitely a cut above regular AC. After the Jazz merger, AC brass cut most of the old Air Ontario routes and were merely interested in winding things down at YTZ. They shifted most of their intra-Ontario legs to Pearson, which made shorts hops ultra-inconvenient because now you had to stand in the gate agent lineup with 500 other people boarding a 767 to Vancouver or a 747 to Tokyo.

By the end of Jazz’s reign at YTZ you could tell the end was near. Their flight sched was cut down to one weekly flight to Ottawa and they had ditched all other routes (to London, North Bay, Sudbury and so on). It didn’t take a genius to see that Jazz had squandered their opportunity by taking a small, efficient regional and forcing it to be inefficient by working within AC’s large-hub system.

Miller may have shone a spotlight on YTZ, but Deluce had the plan figured out long before Miller got involved. He had already been running a good shop at Air Ontario, and Porter was a natural evolution of that experience.

Chris Taylor October 24, 2010 at 7:45 pm

I’d also say Smitherman is more like Mayor Quimby, a born-and-bred politician (whether or not one considers that a good or a bad thing, I leave up to the reader).

My brother-in-law worked with the teenaged Smitherman at his dad’s shipping company (Sherway Transport), and apparently the young lad had no interest in his dad’s blue-collar empire, he was always bailing out to do political volunteering for the Libs.

Joey deVilla October 24, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Chris Taylor: I’ll still argue that Miller certainly provided an incentive for Porter and Billy Bishop to excel!

I never flew Air Ontario, so I never experienced its service. I have flown Jazz short-haul and it ain’t all that hot. While many people — myself included — like to carp about Air Canada (by the way, I love the “Mapleflot” moniker), it’s still way better than flying their code-sharing partner, United, inventor of “economy plus” (pay extra, get old-school economy class legroom) and their redefined “economy”, a.k.a. “Economy Minus”. At 5′ 11″, my knees touch the seat in front of me in United economy, and that’s before the jackass in front of me does the full recline.

As for Smitherman’s work history from his teenage years, let me say this: I had no interest in my dad’s line of work, gynecology, at least in the professional, medical sense, preferring high tech. To know what your calling is when you’re a teen and following through to adulthood is a blessing that not all of us get, and hey, more power to you if you do.

Anne Onimos October 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Good piece, Joey.

I think it might be worth examining, though, just how much Rob Ford you have in you. He says things like, “…Oriental people work like dogs… they sleep beside their machines. The Oriental people, they’re slowly taking over…” You say things like, “…hippies, enviro-nuts and various layabouts and miscreants who don’t really work for a living.”

They’re the same kind of crass, distant, fearful generalizations. If you disapprove of them coming from Mr. Ford, you ought not to utter them yourself.

Labels. Libels. Sometimes, they’re not so far apart. Don’t forget the lessons of “The Breakfast Club”.

Joey deVilla October 24, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Anne Onimos: Every now and again, I do step outside my normally genial writing personality and let my inner jackass have a little run, Modest Proposal style. I know the risks of getting up one’s readership’s collective nose and how tongue deftly placed in cheek doesn’t always translate into writing, but I think that regular readers will catch my drift.

Rohan Jayasekera October 25, 2010 at 5:25 am

Joey, Anne Onimos raises the question of how much Rob Ford there might be in you. Are you “a Fordian guy”? 🙂

Darryl Wiggers October 25, 2010 at 7:49 am

And what about Pantalone? He strikes me as a good match for Brian.

Tuzanor October 25, 2010 at 9:15 am

Pantalone would probably be Meg. Everybody sort of wants to like her, but she’s ignored nonetheless.

Mike Beltzner October 25, 2010 at 9:53 am

Bravo, Joey. A stunningly accurate set of analogies.

@Darryl: Joey Pants is more like Cleveland than Brian, IMO. Maybe he’s got great ideas, but nobody’s really interested in hearing what he has to say, and he doesn’t seem like someone who’s very good at asserting himself.

Darryl Wiggers October 25, 2010 at 10:10 am

Damn, you’re right… I always forget about Meg.

Chris Taylor October 25, 2010 at 10:40 am

True, not everybody knows what they want to do at a young age. You didn’t want to be an ob/gyn, which is fair. But then you weren’t being paid to be an ob/gyn, and you didn’t owe the job you had (but didn’t want) to the fact that your dad owned the practice, and you weren’t skipping out on your paid duties to go after the thing you really wanted to do.

No harm in deciding that the family business isn’t for you—but if that’s the case, then it kind of behooves you not to take the job in the first place.

John Bowman October 25, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Pantalone is Adam West’s right hand. Giambrone is his left hand. “Quiet down! You had your chance.”

Christian mittelstaedt October 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I would have liked to say great piece – UNTIL your spiel on the island airport. Firstly your pigeonholing of airport opposers as hippies and layabout vagrants is both untrue and offensive (actually it seems like something Rob Ford might say). Secondly, you fail to point out exactly how Millers opposition lead to “porter becoming great at customer service”. Thirdly, you comment on how luxurious Porter is, and how beverages are free. Well, maybe they are trying to give back some of the tax dollars that fund their establishment(yes, Porter, a private company is funded by the federal government). Lastly, in reference to your complaint of the usual bus commute through smoggy streets, I didn’t quite understand. Were you saying that we should opt to use planes over busses for convenience? Its mindsets like that that are making Toronto, and the world such an inefficient (and hot) place. It is for your convenience that Toronto’s waterfront suffers(and speaking of suffering, lets think of our poor ‘vagabond window-lickers’ tired from being awoken by Porter testing their engines at 2 o clock in the morning) so. Very amusing post, but next time get your facts straight. Thanks.

Bonnie October 25, 2010 at 9:38 pm

What a wonderfully astute post. Thank you for this.

Joey deVilla October 25, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Christian mittelstaedt: Then the Island Airport will be a point on which we shall be gentlemen and simply agree to disagree. I am glad you enjoyed the rest of the article.

Yue Li October 25, 2010 at 9:47 pm

If you refuse to acknowledge Toronto’s over-immigration problem, I strongly suggest you make some friends who are new to the city. I mean fresh off the boat, international immigrants. How could we possibly accommodate them all when our economy is not stable enough for our current residents? Do you know how many Torontonians are unemployed?

And I can’t believe people are still brining up the DUI incidence. That was 1999. over 10 years ago for crying out loud. Who knows what kind of shenanigan was Smitherman up to.

Chris Taylor October 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Christian Mittelstaedt: Porter doesn’t test their engines at 2am, there are local noise restrictions at YTZ which prohibit that kind of activity (and the airline is fined if it violates them). What you hear at 2am is the Ministry of Health’s air ambulance helicopter, which does not have to obey nighttime noise restrictions since it is in the business of saving lives.

But I understand how getting a critically injured kid from rural Ontario to Sick Kids might disturb the peaceful slumber of those at the foot of Bathurst.

Anne Onimos October 25, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Wow, bad news, TO. I’m genuinely sorry for you, given tonight’s result.

Joey deVilla October 25, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Chris Taylor: Nice takedown, sir!

Christian Mittelstaedt:

Tuzanor October 26, 2010 at 7:06 am

“yes, Porter, a private company is funded by the federal government”

They are not funded by the feds. They make use of a federally owned airport, just like every airline does (all the major airports are federally owned) and every bus company does wrt roads. Porter has been paying to improve much of the airport terminal out of its own pocket.

donHuneter October 26, 2010 at 8:22 am

Joey! Joey! Joey!

oerg November 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

go ,go,Rob!You’re my hero.

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