TV Comedy, “Family Guy,” Parodies ’80s Animated G.I. Joe PSAs With Mexican Character, “G.I. Jose”

We’re not exactly sure HOW in today’s world of super-sensitivity and political correctness, that some forms of harmless advertising characterization, comedic parody and/or ethnically derived humor suffers from endless public protest, while other examples seem to escape unnoticed and/or untouched. This baffling lack of consistency is a double-standard that confounds non-PCers who cling to endangered senses of humor and common sensical abilities to discern the difference.

The Frito Bandito character as it appeared on a sack of Fritos Corn Chips. (Photo: Frito-Lay)

The Frito Bandito character as it appeared on a sack of Fritos Corn Chips.

One memorable example often cited occurred in the 1960s, when Frito-Lay created its lovable and popular advertising icon dubbed, “The Frito Bandito.” In terms of appearance, the character sported an oversized sombrero and crossed bullet bandoliers and was clearly patterned after actor Alfonso Bedoya in his unforgettable portrayal of “Gold Hat” (a Mexican bandit leader) in the 1948 film, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Like Bedoya, the Frito Bandito spoke with a Mexican accent (voice-acted by comedy legend, Mel Blanc) and the character’s advertising campaign was primarily targeted at children in a series of print ads, store displays, product packaging and of course, animated TV commercials. In the spots, the bandito’s demeanor was VERY friendly, decidedly gentle, and wholesomely upbeat. As might be expected, he became very popular among children (and parents) and sales of the company’s snack chips soared.

Now, some 50 years later, Frito’s lovable snack icon appears only on lists of TV characters deemed (by some) to be “offensive.” Very sad. But what about “G.I. Jose;” a new character occasionally shown on TV’s, Family Guy? Despite a less-than-flattering portrayal of an hispanic male (gut sticking out from t-shirt, illiterate advice, etc.), the character has generated little public outcry. This inconsistency of reaction is bound to confuse many who strive to be politically correct in “all things.” Regardless, fans of 3.75″ GIjOEs will find G.I. Jose especially amusing, as his spots parody ’80s GIjOE PSAs that were once routinely shown during Saturday morning cartoons.

An unknown driver in his customized G.I. Jose van. (Photo: The Huffington Post)

Magnifico! An unknown driver in his customized “G.I. Jose” van. (Photo: The Huffington Post)

Bottom Line: Regardless of where you fall on the ever-moving lines of political correctness, parody, and acceptable ethnic humor (see related article HERE), it appears that SOMEONE out there really likes Family Guy’s newest character (see his photo above). Go, G.I. Jose!

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