Family Guy Voice Actress With Down Syndrome Says Palin Doesn’t Get ‘Sarcasm’

February 19, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Andrea Fay Friedman, 39, is an accomplished actress, who is known for her recurring role on the ABC 1990s television series, “Life Goes On.” She also has Down Syndrome and has unwillingly been thrown into a much-publicized feud between Sarah Palin and the creators of Fox’s Family Guy animated comedy series. Friedman provided the voice for the teenage girl with Down Syndrome in a recent Family Guy episode that has raised the ire of the thin-skinned Sarah Palin, whom is always on the lookout for another opportunity for politically expedient victimhood. Friedman’s cartoon character was portrayed as the mentally handicapped, but bossy date of the character Chris. She said that she was “the daughter of the former Governor of Alaska.” And Sarah Palin along with her daughter Bristol jumped on the slight, claiming that the show cruelly mocked her one-year-old son Trig who also suffers from Down Syndrome. Friedman responded that Palin has no sense of humor and doesn’t grasp the concept of sarcasm.

Taking to her Facebook page once again, Palin posted a comment from Bristol, attacking the Family Guy’s writers as “heartless jerks.” And Palin continued her campaign against Family Guy with an appearance on Fox News’ The O’Reilly factor, where she said the cartoon series “really isn’t funny” and was the work of “cruel, cold-hearted people.”

But Friedman, is taking the brouhaha in stride and says that Palin should lighten up, because a little humor goes a long way. In an email interview with The NY Times, Friedman says that she thought her throwaway line, “I am the daughter of the former Governor of Alaska, was funny:

“I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think the word is sarcasm. In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life.”

Friedman also spoke via telephone with The NY Times about her experience, providing the voice of the Family Guy character:

“Q. Did they specifically tell you that the character you were going to play also had Down syndrome?

A. Yeah, they told me I was playing Ellen, who was Miss Bossy. I didn’t want to be bossy, but since they want me to be bossy, I just had to be as the character. I had to be bossy, as part of my process. That’s the only way to transform the real me to an animated person. So I had to do what an actor does. I just wing it and have fun with it.”

“Q. When did you find out about the reaction that the episode elicited from Sarah Palin and her family?

A. [laughs] That I did not even know about until my mom told me, “You’re on Channel 4!” And when I watched on Channel 4, on “Extra,” and I saw Sarah Palin with her son Trig. I’m like, “I’m not Trig. This is my life.” I was making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son.”

“Q. Do you agree with what she and her daughter Bristol were saying, that the character and the jokes were insulting to people with Down syndrome?

A. It’s not really an insult. I was doing my role, I’m an actor. I’m entitled to say something. It was really funny. I was laughing at it. I had a nice time doing voiceover. It was my first time doing a voiceover, and I had fun.”

Finally, a voice of reason.

See The New York Times for more.


9 Responses to “Family Guy Voice Actress With Down Syndrome Says Palin Doesn’t Get ‘Sarcasm’”

  1. phil on February 19th, 2010 11:38 am

    Here’s the thing, while Family Guy crossing the line–really really crosses the line–it isn’t the evil some make it out to be. Aside from a character making fun of people with Downs physically (far from a little aside, but at least this show dishes that kinda stuff out evenly across all walks of life) there was nothing in this episode to make fun of Downs. Did the character talk funny? if by funny you mean she talked like people with Downs tend to talk.
    The character itself? Well, she was a bitch. Yes, a character on television with a real disease in which the disease wasn’t in any way shape or form played out for sympathy. In fact, she was self empowered to the point of utter annoyance.
    On that same note, can you point to other shows on television that even make room for regular characters with disabilities? Family Guy makes light of those things, yes, but it sure as heck doesn’t hide them. Look at Joe. Paralyzed from the waist down, they make fun of his condition quite a bit. BUT, on the whole, his character is a tough cop, a strong bodied guy in every other way, and the alpha male of the show. Top that off with him being a likable guy, and you’ve never seen the likes of anything like that on TV.

  2. Ed on February 19th, 2010 1:06 pm

    Oh good, Andrea Friedman, you had fun. I guess that is all that matters!?

    I imagine a lot of people can justify pain they have caused others in a similar matter: “I had fun. Too bad you don’t have a better sense of humor – you’d have enjoyed it too.”

    You do your parents a great disservice by saying they taught you that sense of humor. You’ve got nothing better than to make fun of other people and people with disabilities at that? That’s all you got? Sorry, I think that familial sense of humor is severely lacking.

    And at what point did teaching your kids “sarcasm” and the ability to laugh at other people’s expense become more important than teaching them kindness, consideration, decent courtesy and a desire to make fellow humans lives better instead of laughing at them?

    Not funny! Very sad!

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  4. Ellis on February 19th, 2010 2:18 pm

    Good for Andrea. What’s Palin going to do now – slam a Down Syndrome actress for playing a part?

    Someone needs to tell Sarah that this is make-believe, and it is not wise to get in to an argument with a cartoon charter.

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  6. Campbell on February 19th, 2010 5:31 pm

    The following is the transcript of the entire song that was sung on the Family Guy episode in question.
    Do you think this is funny?

    “You’ve got to look your best tonight, you tubby little parasite
    ‘Cause there’s a lovely lady and she’s waiting for you.
    And though her pretty face may seem
    A special person’s wettest dream
    Before you get to see it there are things you must do.
    We’ll try a tie, and boutonniere of yellow.
    A rose that shows that you’re a classy fellow.
    With a posh panache of Jefferson at Monticello,
    Busting out a mile with style.
    I know you just can’t wait to stare
    At all that luscious orange hair
    But boy before you touch a single curl
    You must impress that ultra boomin’,
    All-consumin’, poorly groomin’
    Down syndrome girl.
    On any normal day you reek
    As if you’re on a farting streak,
    Your fingers up your nose and you are dripping with drool.
    But if you want a lady’s love,
    You’re better off by smelling of
    A gentleman’s cologne instead of sneakers and stool.
    A squirt, a spurt of something just for Ellen
    And you’ll see that she will find you so compellin’.
    And she does because the only smell that she’ll be smellin’
    Won’t be comin’ from your bum.
    You want to take that little whore
    And spin her on the dancing floor
    But boy, before you do a single twirl –
    You must impress that effervescing,
    Self-possessing, no-BS-ing
    Down syndrome girl.
    Her eyes are emerald portals to a secret land of love
    And her smile is like the sweetest summer flower.
    Her kiss is so inviting, and her hugs are so delighting.
    And what makes them really nice is that they’ve got a little spice
    Because they’re tighter than a vice and they go on for an hour.
    My boy, between the two of us we’ll get you on that shorty bus.
    And then you’re going to take it for a whirl.
    Now go impress that super-thrilling,
    Wish-fulfilling, Yoo-Hoo-spilling,
    Ultra-swinging, boner-bringing,
    Daily singing, ding-a-linging
    Stupefying, fortifying,
    Stimulating, titillating,
    Kitty-cat impersonating,
    Mega-rocking, pillow talking,
    Just a little crooked walking,
    Poorly pouting, boobies sprouting,
    For some reason always shouting,
    Fascinating, captivating,
    Happiness and joy creating
    Down syndrome girl”

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  9. gore on February 25th, 2010 11:21 pm

    I think that every episode of Family Guy is going to offend someone.

    Thats why its so flippin funny. It takes you from your reality.

    If you don’t like it, don’t go throw fits about it, just don’t watch it. Just like anything else. If porn offends you, don’t rent it. If strippers disgust you, don’t pay them. If clowns scare you, stay away from the circus, rodeo, carnivals, and kids Birthday parties.

    The End

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