You would think that a) a comedienne would have a better sense of humor about such things than this and b) that someone who used to have her own show which did spoofs of other TV shows and movies would know that she doesn't have a case here. But you would be wrong.
The Bored are already here. Idle hands are the devil's workshop. And no... we won't kill dolphins. But koalas are fair game.
There is a difference between parody and satire, but this was clearly parody. While both satire and parody involve ridiculing the subject matter, satire is generally for the purpose of social or political criticism, while the intent of parody is purely humor. Furthermore, parody is necessarily mimetic in content, while satire is not. I can see why someone would consider satire more sophisticated than parody (in fact, I'd probably agree with that assessment), but the Family Guy bit was totally parody, not satire.
She's had a previously successful lawsuit over her image. She sued the Enquirer and won in what I believe was the first successful suit on that scale against a national tabloid.
I'm surprised more people haven't sued over the more direct insults leveled by the show. The producers could argue they didn't claim they created the character. In fact, its use relies on public awareness of the character. But what they did, it sounds like, referred to the character more than the comedienne. And her suit seems to play it both ways; she claims they used the character but defamed the actress.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
Given, I don't have the episode available in front of me for review.
My recollection of the show was a lovely homage to something from Seth's childhood. A totally respectful homage ... other than that tricky context within which it was presented.
Seth does a huge amount of that kind of thing -- &, unless otherwise skewed, I tend to think of them in a fond & caring way. I sat with my mouth gaping open for the entirety of the presentation of "Shipoopi" (en.wikipedia.org), including correct details of choreagrophy!!
On the other hand, I can totally see where somebody very sensitive about "their personna's image" might have ben less than flattered. Espcially if it's someone who isn't familiar with Todd's total body of work, or who is very sensitive to how his work might be excerpted out of contet. Should one consider any extra implications of swabbing up ... a porn shop? Kinda tricky!
Earlier tonight I believe they aired a "Family Guy" which ended with a total homage to "All in the Family" -- the whole "Those Were the Days" deal, kinda inverse of the opening, including a zoom-out of the neighbourhood ... Not a lot of surrounding context. so not much that Normal Lear might take offence to.
That the 20th Century Fox spokesman actually had the audacity to put Family Guy and Carol Burnett in the same league is reason enough to keep him off the stand if this thing goes to trial.
I'm sure it was because it was a porn shop. It's not about having a sense of humour. I saw Betty White on television talking about how much trouble they used to get in for those double entendres, and how today they're "just single entendres." No one of that generation probably has a sense of humour that includes what the people behind Family Guy consider appropriate yuk fodder. Let's face it, in their day you had to work a little harder, and be a little smarter, to get in your shots. Family Guy is a great example of how successful you can be today saying what the fuck comes into your head, but Seth McFarlane couldn't have made it even as little ten years earlier than he did.
So now we know what the gang was doing during game 5 of the World Series last year, and it involves Mac's love letter to Chase Utley (with stickers!). Plus we get Green Man vs. the Phanatic and a push-up contest in front of the judge.