So the topic of rape jokes is kind of a big one these days. Recent high-profile dust-ups have involved Penny Arcade, Daniel Tosh, and The Oatmeal. Every case goes the same way. And the fans - ostensibly the comedian's supporters - are always the worst.
"Friends Without Benefits"
Basically just one long rape joke.
Personally, I believe that everyone has the right to joke about rape. I mean, I wish they wouldn't. But I also firmly believe in the First Amendment. Particularly when it comes to the arts. And in comedy, that's kind of how it works: you don't get laughs unless you push the boundary of what's acceptable.
But I will say that if someone makes a rape joke, they give up the right to act petulant and annoyed when the audience responds badly. You can't use shock humor, then get pissed when people get shocked by it. Just apologize and move on.
Sadly, rape jokes have become commonplace. That's part of what people mean when they use the term "rape culture." A lot of people (like the Penny Arcade guys) refuse to believe that there is such a thing as "rape culture," much less that it is central to American contemporary pop culture.
Allow me to offer the following evidence: This episode of Family Guy.
Family Guy has made rape jokes in the past. Most of them have been pretty shocking. That's their right, and it's part of what the show is about: being shocking. But this was an ENTIRE EPISODE that was one long rape joke. And it contained within it several smaller rape jokes. And you might argue that some of it was funny, but it was also 100% horrifying.
I guess that's better than being boring.
In this episode, Meg falls in love with a gay guy. She then proceeds to try to figure out how she can have sex with him, either literally or figuratively. (Strangely, it never seems to occur to her to roofie Kent and try it that way. Maybe the writers decided THAT would be going too far? That's the line now, I guess? Okey dokey.)
It has long been established that Meg's sexuality is weird and disturbing, and frankly I love it when the show just sort of revels in that fact. But in this case they had to neutralize Meg's sexual threat by making her the victim of circumstance. It gutted what could otherwise have been seriously cruel and disturbing, and was kind of a chicken move if you ask me.
So overall, I'm going to have to call this episode one big failure.