The Griffin family. From left to right: Brian, Lois, Peter, Stewie, Chris and Meg
|Created by||Seth MacFarlane|
|Voices of||Seth MacFarlane
Walter "Disco Beethoven" Murphy
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||13|
|No. of episodes||258|
|Original run||Original series:
Super Bowl XXXIII – November 9, 2003
May 1, 2005 –
Family Guy is an American adult animated sitcom created by baritone Seth MacFarlane for the Fox network. The series centers on the Griffin family—father Peter, mother Lois, son Chris, daughter Meg, baby Stewie, and dog Brian—a dysfunctional family who live in Quahog, Rhode Island. The show lacks much of a coherent plotline, instead opting for '80s references, cutaway gags, Broadway musical numbers, and bouncy, off-color humor, that seems so off, Nobody seems to care.
MacFarlane conceived Family Guy after watching BBC drama American Dad! while on high-tripping acid. He created his own version titled Larry & Steve, and pitched it to Hanna-Barbera at at Cartoon Network. When plans fell through, he turned over to Fox, who needed a fresh new adult sitcom to replace the horribly failing Simpsons. The show was canceled thrice, but returned in 2005 due to high DVD sales and popular demand among the college demographic, and fat people sitting at home all day long, and it all continues to this day.
Much like pancreatic cancer, Family Guy refuses to go away, and the critics haven't stopped it from pulling in ratings, making Seth billions, and spawning a line of cheesy merchandise, like dumb box looking bubble gum.
Family Guy centers on the Griffin family, a dysfunctional family who live in the sleepy town of Quahog, Rhode Island. Like The Simpsons and other animated sitcoms, the show explores—from an extremely liberal angle—cultural and political themes that are important in the world today, as well as taking humorous approaches to both old and modern popular culture.
Each episode of Family Guy is remarkably low on story, but high on irreverent humor. The majority of the humor in the show is a patchwork of 1980s cultural references that appeal to Gen X-ers who grew up in that particular decade and are indeed aware of it transpiring in a similar fashion to how their childhood was. The remainder of the humor consists of celebrity-bashing, profanity, bathroom jokes, violence, nudity, and most of all, numerous cutaway gags. Like that time I locked Nicolas Cage in a cage!
Family Guy is known for its constant use of rude and profane speech, violent and crude humor, and liberal deceit. In that vein, the show has made numerous off-color jokes about teen pregnancy, bestiality, abortion, homosexuality, the Holocaust, mental illness, suicide, and religion, among other topics
- Peter Griffin – The father of the family. An obese, foolish middle-aged man with a thick-as-chowder New England accent with the mental capacity of a four-year-old. Despite being the so-called "hero", he constantly abuses everyone around him through drunk violent rage and annoying shenanigans.
- Lois Griffin – Peter's doting stay-at-home wife. She's pretty much like every other stereotypical house wife who slaves over all the chores while her fat lazy husband lays on the couch watching sports. She is somehow considered attractive, despite having an annoying voice and a Jew nose.
- Chris Griffin – Their mentally deficient teenage son. He closely resembles a manatee due to his body fat and his small mouth located low down his chubby face. He has blonde hair despite the fact that neither Peter, Lois, or their parents are natural blondes.
- Meg Griffin – Their awkward teenage daughter who the entire universe seems to despise. She could never seem to get any dates (with the exception of Mayor West, and Brian when he was really drunk).
- Stewie Griffin – Their baby with a football-shaped head. He started off as an evil genius bent on world domination, but is now a happy-go-lucky homosexual with a crush on Brian.
- Brian Griffin – An anthropomorphic white canine who serves as the family pet, ever since Peter stole him from a Chinese restaurant as take-out and then decided not to eat him after all. He started out as the voice of reason, but is now an odious self-absorbed who constantly preaches his liberal agenda.
- Glenn Quagmire – The wacky next-door rapist and airline pilot. Despite constantly stalking Lois, he is somehow one of Peter's closest riends. He has also kidnapped hundreds of women and has never once been arrested by Joe Swanson. How does he keep getting away with this? The answer is simple: He's Quagmire! Giggity-Giggity-Goo!
- Joe Swanson – A cripple police officer who screams at the top his lungs during random intervals. He strongly resembles Stan Smith due to his large chin, but is in no way related.
- Cleveland Brown – A slow-talking black man who talks slow and is the proprietor of the local delicatassen. The guy who voices him is actually white. He is seen falling out of bathtubs a lot due to Peter's shenanigans.
- Evil Monkey – An evil monkey who lurks in Chris's closet.
- Ernie the Giant Chicken – A man-sized anthropomorphic chicken who is the archenemy of Peter, ever since Peter ate chicken nuggets made out of Ernie's son.
- Mayor Adam West – Some guy who is know for his random yet hilarious antics and somehow ended up the mayor of Quahog.
The Giant Chicken
In the show's great tradition of jokes that go for way, way, way too long, in the early episode "Da Boom" there was a 3-minute-long cutaway where Peter fought a giant chicken. For some reason, Seth thought this "joke" was comedy gold, so he bought it back several times and it now comprises about 40% of the show's content. It is so popular, in fact, that it has an entire DVD commited only to showcasing the battles.
One night in 1995, Seth MacFarlane, a student at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), was joking with his roommates about wacky and dated '80s pop culture that they grew up with. "Hey guys, remember ThunderCats? How about The Facts of Life?" he spouted. He got a brilliant idea: congeal Things We Remember into a cartoon. MacFarlane pitched his idea, titled Larry & Steve, to Hanna-Barbera at Cartoon Network and created a pilot short. However, he left the network after discovering that even kids were too intelligent to enjoy his work.
Retitling the show Family Guy, MacFarlane revamped the animation style, added a pinch of off-color humor, and commenced work on a pilot. The pilot took his production company, Seth Animation Studios (SAS), eighteen months to create. The process was long and tiring, as the studio wasn't air-conditioned and supplies consisted only of a chair, some pencils and paper, a Windows NT workstation, and Seth's sleeping bag.
Once the pilot was finished, MacFarlane pitched it to Fox. Executives were very impressed by the show's cutaway dynamic, and greenlit it for two seasons.
Fox decided to cancel Family Guy in 2000, due to the fact that nobody was watching it and reviews were positively scathing.
But. Fox made a last decision to renew it for a third season in 2001. By 2002, further abysmal ratings caused it to be cancelled. Again.
Cancellation (again again)
Then, Adult Swim brought the show back through syndication, and aired one "banned" episode in 2003. Then the show ended, a third time, for good...or not.
Fox released seasons 1–3 on DVD all over the American Empire, which were an instant success with the 18–24 year-old college frat-boy/stoner demographic. This convinced executives to renew the show for a fourth season in 2005, and it thrives to this day.
Family Guy has had nearly 250 episodes and 13 seasons, which can basically be divided into two categories: "pre-cancellation" (aired from 1999 to 2003) and "post-cancellation" (aired from 2005 to now).
Some fans have criticized the show for having declined in quality since its "un-cancellation", for reasons including:
- Its constant recycling of jokes.
- Its departure from the more smart, dialogue-based humor of seasons 1-3 in favor of shock and gross-out humor.
- Drastic changes in the characters. For example, Brian was originally portrayed as the voice of reason in the family with a dry sense of humor, but eventually became an alcoholic, preachy, atheist (despite being an ordinary Christian in earlier episodes), marijuana-smoking hypocrite who served the sole purpose of being a loud speaker for Seth MacFarlane's political views.
- The fact that most of its fans were probably 13-year-olds when those old episodes came out and thus have more nostalgia for them.
Family Guy enjoys success, and has spawned t-shirts, pens, underwear, drinking mugs, panties, flamethrowers, books, comics, fruit snacks, a video game, a rap album—like that time the show had an unnecessary '40s-style big band/jazz musical number for no reason other than for Seth to show his singing voice!—syndicated re-runs, and multiple TV movies, like that one where Peter discovers the lost city of Atlantis!
So far, there have been four Family Guy movies. The first movie is about Stewie going into the future to learn that he's gay. The second movie is an adaptation of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The third movie is an adaptation of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The fourth movie is an adaptat—I think you can see where this is going.
A theatrical Family Guy film is planned for sometime in the near future, which will be followed by Family Guy On Ice. Seth is also planning to film a documentary that showcases the day-to-day production of his show. One can only wait and hope that these new upcoming projects will contain his rarely-used '80s references.
Family Guy retains a strong fandom, which consists mostly of loud, stoned college kids who chant quotes from the show like mantras. Some of them will excuse the fact that the show is 80% fart jokes by prattling on about its excellent post-modernist commentary. If you were to insult Family Guy to a fan, said fan would likely rant on how much you "Have no sense of humor", and how "You should like Family Guy. Why? 'Cause it's funny, dude!" Like that time I tried to get Avril Lavigne to explain her lyrics to me!
Numerous critics have argued that Family Guy is a mere ripoff of The Simpsons. And they'd be right considering both shows feature a lovable idiot, his busybody wife, a loser son, a daughter who hates him, and an intelligent baby. South Park has repeatedly attacked Family Guy, arguing that its writers are manatees who use "idea balls" to create plotlines. MacFarlane has grumbled at this, as he's been known to hate any show that's actually funny.
The show has been known to offend numerous religious and ethnic groups. Christians protested against Family Guy for endorsing "laughter before marriage". Creationists deny the existence of Family Guy, after the show endorsed the possibility of human beings actually finding that shit funny, which leads many to question if the apocalypse is well overdue. Many Chinese restaurants were closed down by the FCC after a graphic scene showing Peter Griffin drowning in Wonton soup.