Fox’s “Family Guy” takes on Tom Selleck this Sunday in a takedown of the CBS star’s commercials touting reverse mortgages.
The show also takes a passing shot at Jennifer Garner’s commercials for Capitol One’s Venture Rewards credit card.
In the show, cash-strapped “Family Guy” dad Peter Griffin comes across a satirical Tom Selleck reverse mortgage ad on TV.
Based on Selleck’s folksy recital of the benefits of reverse mortgages, Peter is persuaded to take one out. Later, however, he learns that reverse mortgages have certain pitfalls, and now he faces a possible foreclosure on his home.
So, he enlists the help of the mayor of Quahog, the long-time hometown of the Griffin family, to find Selleck and demand that he reimburse him for his lost money.
The mayor is named Wild Wild West, namely because his predecessor also had the surname West -- Adam West, who played the role, which also carried his real name, for more than 100 “Family Guy” episodes.
After Adam West passed away in 2017, Sam Elliott was recruited to apply his distinctive voice to the role of the new mayor.
Elliott has provided his own voice to the character since then. But the voice of the Selleck character on Sunday’s episode of “Family Guy” is not Tom Selleck’s.
It is a fairly accurate imitation, however, and it is heard in the spoof commercial and later in the episode when he is confronted by Peter and Mayor Wild Wild West, who long ago was a personal friend of Selleck’s.
In the spoofy spot for reverse mortgages, Selleck identifies the company he represents. “Do you own a home, but can’t afford the things you need to make your life more comfortable?” the cartoon Selleck asks at the outset.
“Hi, I’m Tom Selleck. Ask your nurse to turn down your breathing machine for a minute so I can tell you how a reverse mortgage from Hey Alright Reverse Mortgages, or HARM, can help you!”
In real life, Selleck has been the commercial spokesman for mortgage lender American Advisors Group since 2016, following the death of actor Fred Thompson, who preceded Selleck as spokesman.
On its web site, AAG states its corporate mission: “We help older Americans navigate their way into and through retirement with ease and peace of mind by providing them with personalized service and a full suite of home equity solutions designed to give them the best financial outcome for a better retirement.” The company’s products include reverse mortgages.
According to Merriam-Webster, reverse mortgages are mortgages that allow people 62 years and older to convert home equity into available funds through a line of credit, cash advance or periodic disbursements to be repaid with interest usually when the borrower dies, moves or sells the home.
They have pros and cons, according to Forbes.com. Pros include “helps secure your retirement” and “you can stay in your home,” Forbes says.
Cons include “you could lose your home to foreclosure” and “it’s not free.” On “Family Guy,” Peter Griffin faces the former.
Written statements appear on-screen at the episode’s conclusion. “Tom Selleck was played by an actor. The real Tom Selleck continues to sell reverse mortgages to probably your grandparents.”
And just for good measure, the show has this to say about Jennifer Garner, one-time star of “Alias” on ABC (2001-06): “Up next, Jennifer Garner selling you a high-interest credit card. She probably doesn’t need the money. But then again, ‘Alias’ was a long time ago.”
That’s a joke, of course. Jennifer Garner’s net worth today is estimated at $80 million.