The issues “From Russia with Love” and “Education for Adults” are dedicated to the trip of the main characters to Chelyabinsk. The footage shows people drinking heavily against the background of smoking pipes and for some reason oil pumps, collapsing houses and flying into space on a rocket with the inscription “USSR” Belka (or Strelka). Politicians, angry at these scenery, hastened to demand that the episodes be banned in Russia, without making allowances for the harsh sarcasm common to an adult sitcom. But the work of colleagues was appreciated by professional animators from Chelyabinsk.
In the story, Meg and Stewie Griffin, along with the dog Brian, travel to Chelyabinsk to deal with a local hacker who stole the dog’s Instagram account (owned by Meta, a recognized extremist organization and banned in Russia) and gained access to his bank account.
The filmmakers did not pass by the political component, but did not put the military conflict in Ukraine in the first place: there are several jokes about Vladimir Putin, policemen beating a man with a Ukrainian flag, and the priest declares “Ukraine is part of Russia” and only then Meg and the hacker become husband and wife (in the second episode, Meg married him and stayed in Chelyabinsk).
All this coexists with a topical satire on social benefits in the United States. When Meg is hospitalized and worried about a big bill, the Russian hacker says, “It’s free. Even in Russia, health care is an inalienable right of a citizen, provided by the state. I’m sure it’s the same in the wealthy and advanced United States.”
Are you seriously?
The very first “Russian” series of “Family Guy” became widely known thanks to State Duma deputy Yana Lantratova.
“I understand that the artist has the right to his own vision, but this is a deliberately offensive artistic image that has nothing to do with reality. Would I like my son to see this cartoon? No. I’d rather show him the incredible beauty of Turgoyak Lake, Zyuratkul National Park, Ignatievskaya Cave, Arkaim. This will help him draw conclusions about the region, ”she wrote in her telegram channel and called on the management of TV channels to limit the broadcast of episodes.
“Such cartoons are deliberate work against our country. Information war through works of art.
Yana Lantratova | Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
In the post, the deputy drew attention to the unflattering image of Chelyabinsk, but the creators were clearly preparing and collecting information about the city. For example, Stewie several times mentions Kuznetsov’s tea-packing factory – its building still stands in Chelyabinsk and is included in the list of Russian cultural heritage sites.
Interestingly, according to the Google Trends service, in the United States, a surge of interest in Chelyabinsk began on May 8 and continued until May 10 (the last episode of Family Guy premiered in the United States on May 7). These days, the number of English-language queries with the name of the city has grown to 39 points, while earlier Americans searched for the Ural city with an activity of 4-6 points (according to the Google Trends scale, 100 points is the maximum popularity, and 0 points is the absence of requests).
Chelyabinsk still retains its popularity in global searches: on May 8, the English-language name of the city was searched with an activity of 50 points, and already on May 10, it increased to a maximum level of 100 points.
Ilya Ananiev, a Chelyabinsk political scientist, said that the “Family Guy” did PR for the city at the world level:
“Let’s be honest – we didn’t finish, we didn’t finish it. Today, not even all Russians know where Chelyabinsk is located, and many confuse it with Siberia, although we are the South Urals. Why make noise, why bans and these propagandistic “our answers to Chamberlain” <...>. Hung “Family Guy” Chelyabinsk brand “Chicago Ural” – no question. Is it that bad? Chicago is one of the most beautiful and tourist cities in the United States and the world, with a chic Lake Michigan (which is also in the Chelyabinsk Territory). It is already possible to write “ironic letters” from Governor Texler to the mayor of Chicago. Call to sister cities.
Chelyabinsk made clear to the world
The level of sarcasm and satire in the “Chelyabinsk” series of “Family Guy” is no more than in other issues, the only difference is that he touches the inhabitants of the region for the living and familiar, shares his opinion with “Oktagon.Ural” animation film teacher at the Faculty of Journalism Chelyabinsk State University, lecturer at the Department of Film and Television Directing, ChGIK, executive director of the animation studio “Apparently Invisible” Anna Abalmazova. She separately notes that the series was created for adults and statements that it cannot be shown to children are inappropriate here.
“We are ready to laugh at someone, even assuming the unacceptability of this, but we immediately transfer the bangs and Adidas (Appearance of a hacker. – τ.) to our appearance and shout that we are not like that.”
Anna Abalmazova | executive director of the animation studio “VisiblyInvisimo”
– Although the humor is international, stereotypes about the industrial hinterland will be clear to the Americans with their Kennecott, abandoned mining village, Detroit, Bodie and other ghost towns, and to the residents of Chelyabinsk. It hurt – it means that the idea was a success. Regardless of whether we like to watch it or not, the expert believes.
In her opinion, the writers did a great job:
– And since the distorting mirror worked so well, and the materials were clearly not collected on the scene, it means that all this is freely available on the Internet, and simply showed one of the facets of reality within the concept of the series. The reputation of the city, of course, will not get better. But for inquisitive minds, this is an occasion to google: is it really so? And find out that of course not.
In the Chelyabinsk region, meanwhile, they have already offered to respond to Family Guy not only with bans (whether they will or not, it is not entirely clear – Kinopoisk has postponed the premiere of the series, but there is no talk of cancellation yet), but also to make a cartoon about Chelyabinsk. Family Guy’s chief critic said she was looking for sponsors.
“I know how many talented people we have who love their region and can show its best sides. Let’s come up with a good, kind story and show it to our young viewers. I am already negotiating on the financial side of the issue, ”Lantratova spoke after her first statement was widely circulated.
In Chelyabinsk, children themselves create cartoons – in the animation studio “Apparently Invisible”.
“Children film fictional stories about fairy tale characters, animals and monsters. They reveal in their scripts the eternal themes of friendship, relationships at school and family that are important for themselves, and reflect on what kind of people they want to be and with what kind of friends. This year the senior studio members are shooting a computer-drawn sketch about the love of Lenin and Cleopatra. The premiere is coming soon,” says Anna Abalmazova.