For fans of the button-pushing cartoon, "Family Guy," the subject matter of last Sunday's episode was hardly shocking.
Chris Griffin, the show's awkward teenager, goes on a date with Ellen, a girl with Down syndrome.
"So what do your parents do?" he innocently asks.
"My dad's an accountant, and my mom is the former governor of Alaska."
That one-line jab at Sarah Palin's special needs son, Trig, has led to a war of words between Palin and Seth MacFarlane, the cartoon's irreverent creator. Now, the battle between the two is being waged on TV, with a little-known actress caught in the middle.
"The world is full of cruel, cold-hearted people who would do such a thing," Palin said in an appearance on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."
"When is enough enough? And when are we going to be willing to say, you know, some things just aren't really funny," she said.
MacFarlane fired his own salvo in the media war. Appearing on Friday's episode of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," he said Palin's complaints were an effort to obtain "phony pity." The show's host agreed.
"She [Palin] is he queen of fake outrage ... whether it's you or David Letterman, it's always got to be somebody," Bill Maher said.
Even the actress who provided the voice for Ellen on the "Family Guy" has taken aim at Palin.
Andrea Fay Friedman, 39, has Down syndrome. In addition to the "Family Guy" voice over, she has also worked on TV shows such as "Life Goes On" and "Law & Order" and gives motivational speeches around the world about Down syndrome.
Friedman said her "Family Guy" character should be inspirational to others with the disability. And she said the episode wasn't written to poke fun at Palin's son. It was designed to poke fun at the former governor.
"Sarah Palin didn't even get the joke," Friedman told ABC News.
"It would be nice if she did have a sense of humor. Come on Sarah, laugh a little," she added.
Although there has been plenty of criticism over the cartoon, some Down syndrome advocates have given half-hearted praise to the cartoon for including a well-rounded character dealing with the disability.
Gail Williamson, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, told the New York Times, "If we're asking for full inclusion in the schools and full inclusion in the world, we should appreciate full inclusion with other genres. Even if those genres are not what we appreciate."
But for Palin and her family, the outrage is real, and personal.
In a Facebook posting, daughter Bristol wrote, "If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they're heartless jerks."