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'Family Guy' to further bait Palin by bringing back character with Down syndrome

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Image Credit: FoxYou know the best way to get Family Guy to bring back a guest character? Protest vociferously in the media — it helps if you’re a publicity-magnet ex-VP candidate — so as to create a rather grand controversy. Remember that girl Chris went on a date with during a February episode, the one who has Down syndrome and whose mom is the former governor of Alaska? And remember how Sarah Palin, in real life the mother of an infant boy with Down syndrome, fought back with a Facebook post and media appearances, calling the episode a “kick in the gut”? And how her daughter, Bristol, called the Family Guy writers “heartless jerks”?

Well, congratulations, Palins — you’ve earned Ellen, the demanding girl with Down syndrome, a repeat performance on the topical Fox hit. Creator Seth MacFarlane told a Comic-Con audience that she’d be making an encore “at some point … despite all the Palin business.” Oh, that coy MacFarlane, pretending it isn’t precisely because of the Palin business that Ellen’s getting more screen time! Though I still think the episode in question was Family Guy‘s twisted version of inclusiveness, it also clearly set out to bait the Palins — and got exactly the publicity it wanted. The question is whether Palin will respond again, or leave well enough alone this time. Say what you will about Palin’s politics, but you’ve got to respect her for speaking her mind — and if there’s ever a time to be on her side, it’s when she’s defending disabled kids.

So I ask you, PopWatchers: Are you Team Palin or Team Family Guy if the show brings Ellen back? And is it better to speak out against such controversy-courting shows, or let their offensive moments pass without public incident?