In general, I think celebrities and public figures are fair game for skewering. But I'm going to make an exception for Michael J. Fox.
Maybe it's because he was my first serious celebrity crush and the person on the first poster I ever bought. Or maybe it's because his biography, "Lucky Man," convinced me that he is a genuinely good guy. He seems to be weathering Parkinson's Disease gracefully, and he's been a powerful advocate for stem-cell research. Some of my teen idols turned out to be freaks, but not Fox. And let's not forget that he is (I refuse to say was) a talented actor with excellent comic timing.
So last night my husband and I were watching "Family Guy," which is notorious for its brutal, pop culture-themed humor. Sometimes it's random and hilarious, like the time the show ripped on the seemingly endless theme song of '70s sitcom "Maude." Even the cheap shots (Corey Haim in a sewer) make me laugh sometimes. But when Peter Griffin joked about Fox being miscast as Zorro — and the next scene was of illegible scrawl where a Z should have been — I found my line in the sand.
I've seen "Team America" three times, so I'm not that easily offended. But the man has a disease. It's not like the show was cracking on Fox for making bad movies, falling down drunk out of a limo or screaming at his kid on voice mail. With so many perfectly healthy, deserving celebrities to make fun of, why pick on him? Plus, the bit wasn't even funny in an oh-no-they-didn't way.
When my husband and I were dating, he learned not to make jokes about Mr. Rogers in my presence — and Fred Rogers was alive and well at the time. I think we're pretty clear that Fox is off limits, too.