You Would Think That Carol Burnett Would Know What Parody Means
from the wouldn't-you? dept
syzygy was the first of many to submit to us the story of comedian Carol Burnett suing the producers of the TV show Family Guy over a parody of a Carol Burnett character that was included in one episode last season. If you’re a regular (or even not-so-regular) watcher of Family Guy, you know that they often include short parodies of various famous TV shows. You would think, of course, that a comedian like Burnett would understand parody — and understand that it’s protected fair use under copyright laws. Apparently, that’s wishful thinking. The producers of Family Guy have noted the irony of Burnett, famous for her own parodies and spoofs of popular culture icons, suing someone else for doing the same thing. However, if Burnett is unfamiliar with the meaning of parody, perhaps she’s unfamiliar with irony as well.
Comments on “You Would Think That Carol Burnett Would Know What Parody Means”
She's still alive?
Does she still wear a kerchief on her head and work at a canning factory, as if that were the norm of American working life today?
That was Lucille Ball genius
…maybe it was Carol Burnett parodying Lucille Ball?
Two million dollars in damages for a 15 second parody of a TV show from 30+ years ago. F’n Hollywood.
Perhaps the “trademark bonnet” is hiding a head with a larger point than her chin.
Carol often portrayed a Janitor. Remember her famous mop?
Maybe she wants to make a comeback and is looking for some free publicity.
I have a tendency to agree with Matthew, however I also think there be some other influence here. Some one who stands to make like 50% of what ever they make in the litigation…..I do believe Carol once said that Parody is the best form of flattery.
True. F’n Hollywood lawyers.
Don't mess with Carol
At a time when most celebrities ignored libelous articles in the tabloid press, Burnett sued them and won. If the ‘Family Guy’ parody had been in good taste, she probably would not have sued, but their ‘parodies’ are often closer to character defamation.
Re: Closer to defamation
it is impossible to go from parody to defamation…. It is not like one is an extension of another…
Defamation is an act of communication that causes someone to be shamed, ridiculed, held in contempt, lowered in the estimation of the community, or to lose employment status or earnings or otherwise suffer a damaged reputation. Such defamation is couched in ‘defamatory language’.
THere is the mattter of intent
Re: Don't mess with Carol
You mean a character of a character.
The lawsuit actually contends that
Fox infringed upon her copyright… They say nothing about the way that she was portrayed.
Re: The lawsuit actually contends that
In that case, she will certainly lose because “fair use” means that Fox is exempt from infringement.
She should be grateful for the publicity. It’s the only time her name as been even mentioned in decades.
Sucks for her...
What’s really going to “grind her gears” is when the lawsuit gets thrown out and Family Guy spends an entire episode making fun of her in any way that they can. Unless of course she’s expecting that and simply plans to use this as a way to trump up publicity for some new project she’s working on. That’s definetly a possibility too.
Anyone who thinks Carol Burnett herself was in any way involved in this lawsuit is likely kidding himself. She’s nearly 74 years old; I’m sure someone on her agent’s legal staff felt he needed some job protection and happened to be watching FG at the right moment. Sure it’s meritless, but that’s what’s great about America: a completely open legal system available to any schmuck with the time and energy to file the right paperwork. God I love this country.
Conversation goes like this
This is probably how it started … Lawyer to Ms. Burnett, “oh by the way, we’re suing someone on your behalf” …
I’d hate to think the hollywood people really care about any of this. I somehow doubt Ms. Burnett watches Family Guy much less is even aware of what it is.
A smell a lawyer .. or dog crap. Sometimes hard to tell the difference.
Please… no more parody’s of her or her shows.. The sooner it fades into lost memories of the 70’s – the better.
But yea, what a charlatan she is… or true enough, at least her lame brained lawyers.
Canning Factory? Well, if you’re sure it was a canning factory, then it must have been Burnett possibly parodying Lucy Ball, because aside from another instance I cannot specifically recall, Lucy was working the conveyer line in a chocolate or candy factory where she was in charge of wrapping the darn things, and the line was going so fast she just started eating them.
Permission is the key
I do know that one big difference in the comparisons is that the CB show got PERMISSION to parody the shows/movies that they lambasted on their shows.
I’m not entirely sure Carol Burnett would care if her stuff was parodied, it sounds more like a case a lawyer boredom as someone else previously mentioned. I do think she knows what Family Guy is though.
If she was upset, it was probably because her character was a janitor in an adult shop and they made a rude sexual comment about her signature ear tug. And the only reason Family Guy went after her in the first place is because they asked permission to use the Carol Burnett theme song and she refused.
Now I like Family Guy and think it’s hilarious. I also think she shouldn’t win her lawsuit because my loyalties lie with Family Guy. But I do understand she has every reason to be upset.
Carol Burnett has nothing better to do these days.
I am definitly seeing a small pattern in the MSM at this time. It started with the NFL Thing a couple months back.
First pick someone who is well within their rights to do something.
Second, attack them for something they are well within their rights to do.
Then the split.
Third Win your lawsuit, collect $$$ in royalties/damages/whatever. Stop said entity from doing what it was you didn’t like.
third Lose said lawsuit, targetted entity continues doing what they were doing & in this case parodies you further. THUS increasing your own publicity. Collect $$$, sit back and live the life of luxury.
It seems that the streisand effect is in full swing here.
Gosh, someone is suing Fox for roughly the same amount of money that Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes spend on their daily quota of blood from infants.
Let us all, bravely, attack an old woman for not being With It. Clearly, she deserves our unrelenting scorn.
Why can’t people and/or corporations understand fair use and trademarks and copyrights? Parody is fair use. Anyway coming from Carol Burnett it seems a bit hypocritical seeing as her repertoire was mostly ummm…borrowed…from Lucille Ball. So if lawyers back in her day were so myopic when it came to trademark/copyright and fair use it’s pretty safe to say she would have been sued out of a career. Which would have robbed the public of her wonderful work and the advancements she made in comedy by building off of what Lucille Ball had done before her.
As I always say, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I think Family Guy borders on obscene at times and I’m sure I’ll be termed a fuddy duddy and ‘not with the times’ thinking this way. I honestly believe Carol Burnett was offended by the portrayal and use of her image. I don’t think she would have sued had her character not been portrayed in a porn business. And by the way, I also don’t think Carol Burnett starves for attention. She’s a classy broad who has talent beyond anyone who we term as ‘celebrities’ these days. At least she doesn’t flash her business when getting out of a limo like some these days.
If Family Guy was sued over every parody they
do, the show would cost Fox so much it would never see the light of day again.
The fact is a has-been like carol Burnett or probably her “legal team” although I’m not sure she really would need whole team is just looking to hear people bring up her name again.
After all it has been 30 years.
I say, get a life Carol and go back to the seniors home lifestyle you’ve probably just grown tired of…
There is a difference between parody and ripping off. And Family Guy does a lot of “ripping off”.
The most famous example of this would be Stewie doing Shatner’s version of Rocket Man. Now, if Shatner made his name off of that version- doing it just like that and that was his livelihood then he would have grounds to sue because it wouldn’t be parody- it would be a form of plagiarism, also it isn’t that origional.
That would be my man problem with a show like Family Guy- nothing they do is original.
That’s the most re-freakin-diculous thing I’ve ever heard of! Is she really THAT desperate? It’s sad to see her come down from her lampooning pedestal and sink to the depths of despair.
she’s dead to me now! What? Carol whom?
Oh come on...
They do at least three of those stupid things every episode (I counted)! There’s always a parody, something hate-filled (usually targeted at the daughter) or sexual, and something of bad taste (like last night’s Prom Night Dumpster Baby song when FG aired on Adult Swim). The most blatant rip-off they did was the Peanut-butter-jelly time bit that was stolen off the Internet, and that was most likely because the producers didn’t know that the dancing bananna was someone’s actual creation.
What they did to Burnett’s character was so minor I can barely remember what it was…it was pretty innocuous and happened in the last season, and should’ve garnered a lawsuit sooner than now if it were truly a problem.
I’m not a big fan of the show (I hated it the first time around, but eventually liked what I saw in re-runs) as it has become a bit predictable, but I don’t think what they’ve done is akin to copyright infringement (especially since they didn’t try to pass it off as their own creation). It’s a lot of noise over nothing.
Perhaps she just doesn’t want to be associated with a show that seems to find humor in the battering of women and domestic violenence. Hardy Har har, rip roarious Fox.
I’d like to sue the producers for 2 million just for making such an unfunny cartoon. I mean that’s hard to accomplish.
Carols show was like 100X funnier than any episode of FatlyGuy. I hope she wins and enjoys a nice well deserved retirement.
What no one comments on Fox and fair use?
And I await the time when Fox sues over fair use and their arguments in Carol VS Peter are parroted back.
Come one people – look at the long term!
It reminds me of the time Matt Groening sued Bunnyhop over a parody cover of his Life in Hell rabbit punching out the Trix Rabbit. He explains how he needed to do it in Mother Jones, but he still comes across like a douche.
The clip is on the 'tube.
I wish I put this up. Consider it fair use (educational):
Carol was one of the best
Many of you are quite underinformed. The part of this that was worth suing about was that she didn’t give permission when Seth asked to use her likeness and theme song…soooo, he did defame her (with malice) by intimating she jacked-off her father at night before bedtime. The rest of the lawsuit is just lawyers jacking-off each other. She was an icon of “real” entertainment and by any measure deserves to be treated with dignity.