Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Family Guy Blog
June 12, 2005 7:52 PM   Subscribe

The [Official] Family Guy Blog. Want to know what the people behind Family Guy are thinking? Well here you go. Be sure to read the post about why cartoonists are notorious for killing themselves.
posted by handshake (53 comments total)

 
This is the first that I've heard about supposed problems with this season. I can't believe that people are complaining, I think the show is just as good as it was when cancelled and I've been laughing my ass off.

Thanks for the links, there's some good reading in there.
posted by purephase at 8:06 PM on June 12, 2005


Speaking of which, I though tonights episode was rather lackluster. Another testament to what is gradually appearing to be a downward trend.
posted by cyphill at 8:07 PM on June 12, 2005


"North by North Quahog" was excellent, but the other episodes have been rather mediocre.

I get the distinct impression that they completely forgot who Bryan was between season 3 and season 4.

However, even with the recent Family Guy disappointments, the series still manages to easily beat recent episodes of The Simpsons in quality.
posted by nmiell at 8:14 PM on June 12, 2005


if you read the blog they state that the episodes that have aired were written 3 years ago, with the rest of season 3...

just sayin'
posted by schyler523 at 8:37 PM on June 12, 2005


Hated Family Guy when it first came out, but I've slowly warmed to it.
posted by ColdChef at 8:39 PM on June 12, 2005


The first blog entry in the first link says the following:

Many of the fourth season shows that have been getting so much flack on this site were written 3 years ago as part of a partial pick up at the end of 3rd season..

So, if this is disappointing, then here:

And by the way, there are new episodes deep into this season that I truly believe are funnier than ANYTHING in the first 3 seasons. Just wait for it.

Can't wait.
posted by purephase at 8:39 PM on June 12, 2005


Yeah, but those 3-year-old episodes they're airing now are the ones that Fox gave up on. It's almost like they're daring Fox to cancel them again.

I mean, if I came back from the dead, I'd pretend I was invulnerable, too.
posted by paul_smatatoes at 8:42 PM on June 12, 2005


Worst. Season. Ever.
posted by keswick at 8:45 PM on June 12, 2005


sweet! great link!

also just viewed the page source to get the RSS 2.0 feed. Now i can happily be updated on my family guy.
posted by freudianslipper at 9:16 PM on June 12, 2005


Man, people just never stop complaining about animated shows not being "as good as they used to be". I remember reading an interview with Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson) a couple weeks ago where she said that people said that the Simpsons had jumped the shark after the 4th season. Are current episodes of the Simpsons/Family Guy/South Park the best episodes ever? No, but they aren't the worst either. All shows have their ups and downs. I don't want to deny anyone their right to an opinion, but it seems that fans of animation in particular get really pissy if there's the slightest inkling of change. Reminds me of all the comic book fanboys who freak out when there's any sort of departure from the status quo (see Hal Jordan as Green Lantern, for example).
posted by papakwanz at 9:24 PM on June 12, 2005


I don't think you can use the term "comic book fanboys" disparagingly in the same sentence that you mention a shift in the secret identify of the Green Lantern.
posted by jonson at 9:32 PM on June 12, 2005


I think the new episodes have been good. The problem is that expectations run so high. Just as American Dad has really came into its own, but people seemed to write it off immediately.
posted by drezdn at 9:34 PM on June 12, 2005


papakwanz: I actually think tonights Family Guy was one of the worst episodes I've seen. I also think that The Simpsons are getting worse and worse (on average) with each season and that South Park is almost unwatchable these days. Is this because I remember the good ol' days through a haze of alcohol and marijuana smoke? Maybe. But I actually think that I have good reason to be disappointed.

Look at The Simpsons, for instance. These days the episodes seem like a lame plot for a string of hackneyed jokes. Tonight the Simpsons went to China, the latest non-springfield locale providing an excuse for a series of ethnic predictable gags. Compare this to some of the older episodes, in example, the one where Milhouse's parents get a divorce. This episode has some great one liners ("I sleep in a drawer") while also cementing the bondage of love between Marge and Homer. Plus, the episode doesn't have a "wrap-up" ending but rather ends with Milhouse's dad - Kirk, I believe - living in a dumpy apartment by himself after being rejected again. I think some of the issues with the decline of the Simpsons are that the writers are running out of ideas, which explains the ever-increasing cameos and locales, and that the creative team is tired of promoting a series that is beginning to repeat itself (tonight, Moe changed his bar AGAIN and of course at the end completely reverted back)

South Park's decline, in my opinion, has been even more pronounced. South Park used to be a show about children handling adult situations with child-like simplicity resulting in hilarious results (anyone remember the South Park lord of the flies). But this season seems to be looking only for shock jokes and lame satire. The Schiavo episodes especially. The kids no longer approach these situations as children but as hardened adults. The naivete that made the swearing and the search for the clitoris in the movie so funny is gone. I think this is because Trey Parker is plain sick of writing the show and is only half assing. Its widely said that him and Matt Stone don't want to work together anymore and that the episodes are thrown together at the last minute. Because of this, the show is suffering dramatically.

I really hope that this recent series of episodes from the Family Guy team are just flukes and that we're going to be getting some great material soon, but I don't think its wrong to criticize the slumps in your favorite shows either. If were vocal about our problems with the new episodes, but continue to give Family Guy our support (it appears even the people that think they suck are still tuning in every Sunday) then maybe they can take our advice and tweak the show.

P.S. I think American Dad needs to seriously be worked over. I think the content is decent and the characters are all right (do something with the annoying fish or dish it) but the timing seems really, really rushed to me. As is the people are treading all over each others lines. I feel as if there's no time for the jokes to absorb, but I'll save that diatribe for another time.
posted by cyphill at 10:20 PM on June 12, 2005


Speaking of which, I though tonights episode was rather lackluster.

I'm sorry, but Peter singing "Rock Lobster" was one of the funniest things ever. It was one of those jokes so far out of left field, and they stuck with it long enough to go from funny to not-funny and back to hilarious (see also "Sideshow Bob gets hit by rakes").

Although, if American Dad were in any other timeslot there would be no reason to watch it at all.
posted by Gary at 10:22 PM on June 12, 2005


Jonson - uh, ok. I guess you're trying to imply that anyone who knows about a plot development in Green Lantern comic is a "fanboy." There is a difference between reading something, and being a fanatic about it, imho. A "fanboy" is an irrational adherent, a cheerleader, a worshipper. You can see them in many subcultures. Gaming for example; I lost track of how many "xbox roolz, ps2 droolz" websites I read a few years back.

My point was that the people who freaked out over the change in Green Lanterns were having a negative reaction not to any change in quality, but rather a change in status quo, yet they acted as if it was the death knell of all that was good and holy. I see the same thing in many fans of various animated shows.
posted by papakwanz at 10:32 PM on June 12, 2005


cyphill South Park used to be a show about children handling adult situations with child-like simplicity resulting in hilarious results

Well, first off, I don't know that I agree 100% with that assessment, but my point is that just because a show "used to be" something doesn't necessarily mean that changing it to something else is bad. Back in season 1, the Simpsons "used to be" not much more than an animated cross between Roseanne and Dennis the Menace. You watch any Season 1 episodes recently? They are mostly unbearable.

Now, if you think that it has changed for the worse, that's fine, but my opinion, probably unsupportable by any sort of factual analysis, is that people dislike change in their favorite shows simply because it's something new. And as the Crispix story demonstrates, even the perception of change can make people dislike something, even if its the same old thing they've always enjoyed.
posted by papakwanz at 10:39 PM on June 12, 2005


I'm personally loving the new Family Guy episodes. There have been some really, really funny jokes. The latest one, for example, referenced Kicked in the Nuts. Laughed until I had tears in my eyes.

As for the Simpsons, I think it's been hit and miss for the past two or three seasons. I used to be a die-hard Simpsons fan, never missing an episode, but now I don't care if I miss a night, unlike new Family Guy.

Interestingly enough, I think they just announced the start of the Simpsons movie, which means it's the begining of the end for the show. The contract runs out after the 19th season, which happens to be about the same time the movie is said to be coming out.
posted by handshake at 10:57 PM on June 12, 2005


American Dad's strongest suit is when the alien and son work together on a zany scheme.

The worst? The Petercopter? Rock Lobster? The Lassie bit? Comedy gold I tell you, comedy gold.
posted by drezdn at 11:03 PM on June 12, 2005


Jonson - uh, ok. I guess you're trying to imply that anyone who knows about a plot development in a Green Lantern comic is a "fanboy."

Yes. Yes, that is what I'm trying to imply.
posted by jonson at 11:41 PM on June 12, 2005


Kirk, I believe - living in a dumpy apartment by himself after being rejected again
Kirk: And another great thing, you get your own bed. I sleep in a racing car, do you?

Homer: I sleep in a big bed with my wife.
I agree that the Simpsons is long overdue for cancellation. Homer, like the show, has been completely lobotomized.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:43 PM on June 12, 2005


Family Guy is fine. I was deeply heartened when, in the first new episode, Lois was so excited she wanted to prep her diaphragm right then... gross. And the petercopter ruled, as did "how do you afford these things," and Rock Lobster, and Brian offering to make out with Meg.

Just another case of the perfect being the enemy of the really damn good, I guess. At least you grinches will get a few new episodes that, in a few years, you can use to complain that new comedy just can't compare to old classics like the 4th season of Family Guy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:10 AM on June 13, 2005


American Dad is better than new family guy, deal with it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:52 AM on June 13, 2005


Heh. Yeah, right, george.

American Dad hasn't been bad these past couple eps, but Family Guy is still better.

Frankly, I think the last two Family Guys have been MUCH better than the rest of this season.
posted by Target Practice at 1:27 AM on June 13, 2005


and Brian offering to make out with Meg.

This always amused me; here in Australia, for a long time, Family Guy and The Simpsons have both been given a "PG15" rating. But Family Guy is so much more...wrong...

Happily today, however, I enjoyed an all day Family Guy marathon on TV. I can see just a hint of it heading in the same direction as the Simpsons, but it's still got a hell of a lot of life in it.

The hole the Simpsons have crawled into, basically, is this:

Every episode has some kind of joke they want to explore, and it's directed to that one purpose. An example, as mentioned above: "Let's see, how can we make a joke about Australia England France Japan China. I know. We'll spend the first two minutes of the show putting Homer in some completely irrelevant situation that leads to the family having to deal with this. Then we can break out all the one liners we want! Oh yeah, and we'll reveal that Principal Skinner isn't really his mother's son, because we haven't heard from him in a while."

Like I said, I caught just a whiff of that kind of comedy-by-numbers in the Family Guy today. But shit, I watched about 9 episodes in a row. I wish them the best. Nice link.
posted by Jimbob at 3:58 AM on June 13, 2005


Yes. Yes, that is what I'm trying to imply.
posted by jonson

Not trying to get defensive here, but what the hell? Because I know that it was Fredo, am I a Godfather fanboy? Or is it just because "comics are for nerds." I mean, if that's what you're trying to say, go ahead and say it. It's a stupid thing to say, but say it.
posted by papakwanz at 6:24 AM on June 13, 2005


I liked the CPR instructor, Brian propositioning Meg/ Brian drunk (always dead on), Rock Lobster, Peter Copter, the Portugese pee in the punch, Lois takes her pants down and wants to be spanked shes so excited/ Brian follows through, Stewie and Anika Sorenstam. I liked this episode. I agree with the posters above about how Family Guy commits to a joke, willing to go places that might be uncomfortable, and ending up Hilarious.

There's a recent episode of the Simpsons that I saw, the one where Homer pretends to be a robot and has to enter the robot gladiator tournament because he is afraid of losing Bart's respect, that reminded of the Simpsons of old. Dunno how old it was, but I'd never seen it before and it referenced Armand Tamzarian, so I'm guessing it's newer.
posted by ishmael at 6:30 AM on June 13, 2005


Look at The Simpsons, for instance. These days the episodes seem like a lame plot for a string of hackneyed jokes.

Actually, I think that describes about EVERY episode of Family Guy. In fact, I blame Family Guy for what has happened to The Simpsons, because when FG was cancelled, a lot of the writers went to The Simpsons.
posted by emptybowl at 7:13 AM on June 13, 2005


The Family Guy is quite possibly the greatest show I've ever seen.

I don't mean that necessarily by "quality" but by "content".

It is like the show was custom-created for me. I wish I knew somebody who knew somebody who knew a guy who worked with somebody who works on the Family Guy. I would quite literally sell my soul to work on that show. It's not like I'm using it for anything. I would pledge my life to Seth McFarlane as my god and savior, if I could quit snickering.

"Oh Mighty Seth.. I have done as you commanded and sacrificed your children upon an altar. What? MY children? Ooooh boy. Yikes. Yeah... well, you're probably not going to want to look in the storage shed then."

I laugh hysterically at every episode and reminisce about it for days afterwards.

Its been a very long time since a TV show made me simply that happy.

American Dad is good. I like it. That's all I'm ready to commit to at this stage.

However, the scene in the gynecologists office last night was rather impressive.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:19 AM on June 13, 2005


Where's the righteous indignation from other comedy snobs? I want to rail on Seth MacFarlane's hackery, but don't want to be the first.
posted by BigFatWhale at 9:02 AM on June 13, 2005


Um, my comment wasn't railing on Seth McFarlane's hackery?
posted by emptybowl at 9:12 AM on June 13, 2005


I think the 'Rail on Hackery' posse are still attempting to storm Skywalker Ranch (fat chance) but I'm sure they'll be over soon...a few early adopters seem to have waded in here already...
posted by i_cola at 9:13 AM on June 13, 2005


Okay, BigFatWhale, I'll join you. Man, I just don't see the brilliance in that show at all, never have, never will. So much so that I'm not even giving the new season (nor the American Dad show) a chance. Loved the Simpsons, even occasionally enjoyed Futurama. Never got beyond the periodic chuckle @ Stewie's antics and funny voice on Family Guy.
posted by jonson at 9:44 AM on June 13, 2005


I'm sorry, but Peter singing "Rock Lobster" was one of the funniest things ever.

EXACTLY!!!!

I fell of my couch I was laughing so hard at that song. And Lois taking her pants down was pretty funny as well. And Stewie and the CPR doll trying to talk his way out of a relationship and then poking her bellybutton on the way out.

Previous shows this season haven't seemed very funny to me and I thought maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind, but last night was hilarious.
posted by willnot at 10:47 AM on June 13, 2005


And the petercopter ruled, as did "how do you afford these things.

I think "how do you afford these things?" is a pretty good example of why the show works for me. The setup with the blimp could be seen a mile off, but that line made the whole joke work.
posted by Cyrano at 10:48 AM on June 13, 2005


And Lois taking her pants down was pretty funny as well.

among other things. good bless animation geeks for drawing hot wives for their fat slob protagonists.
posted by jonmc at 10:51 AM on June 13, 2005


There was also a very subtle Transformers reference in the episode. I’ll over look a lot of comedic hackery for one of those.
posted by Gary at 11:11 AM on June 13, 2005


among other things. good bless animation geeks for drawing hot wives for their fat slob protagonists.

I'm glad I'm not the only one round these parts that finds Lois Griffin h-o-t.
posted by i_cola at 11:49 AM on June 13, 2005


Where was the Transformers reference? I remember the one from "When You Wish Upon A Weinstein," where Optimus Prime enters the synagogue, but didn't notice one Sunday.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:26 PM on June 13, 2005


I too, once was a religious watcher of Simpsons. But lately the jokes feel disconnected from the story, and the story seems disconnected from logic. A lot of the humor I found in Simpsons was when the joke seemed to spawn out of the situation instead of having the story turn a sharp left to get to Joketown.

These days the show veers off to get to one single joke, when before they would have just had a better story that would allow for the same amount of jokes. It comes off as just trying too hard.

Family Guy feels similar, that they are trying too hard. I will admit there are a lot of gems in the average episode, but there is a lot of crap you have to sit through. You see, I get bored easily. The throw-aways they keep in an episode, just tire me with yawns and mental groans. It is as if in the writing process they completely lack someone that shoots down bad jokes. No one to go, "Uh, no, that is lame."

It just isn't that watchable for me.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:30 PM on June 13, 2005


In a cut between two scenes, they used peters head on one side, and turned to Quagmire's, with the transforrmer music playing.
posted by dial-tone at 12:43 PM on June 13, 2005


Okay, my turn to "Rail on Hackery"...

The most obvious thing about "Family Guy" is that it takes a central storyline that might fill a 5-minute cartoon and goes off on as many wild tangents as possible (anybody notice that none of the "best bits" quoted previously had anything to do with the "Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire" story?). All the CPR business at the beginning was a Simpsons-like misdirection before the real story kicked in.

Peter singing "Rock Lobster" was one of the funniest things ever. It was one of those jokes so far out of left field, and they stuck with it long enough to go from funny to not-funny and back to hilarious

I respecfully disagree. It never made it back to hilarious - I was hoping Peter would go into more of an outrageous falsetto befitting of the song toward the end, or something... it just dragged out. Like many of the other tagents... did it seem to you like they dragged out the "You've Got AIDS" Quartet just for the purpose of getting their money's worth from the singers and musicians? And the Petercopter sequence with the copter blade digging up neighbor Joe's lawn seemed to be leading up to something genuinely awful (I was guessing cutting off the already paraplegic character's legs) but just stopped. The follow-up "Hindenpeter" was, in contrast, almost too quick, and the "How do you afford these things" was an obvious line (to me)... of course, they violated the Comedic Rule of Three by not revisiting the bit again, but MacFarlane and Company seem to be very deliberately breaking every rule they can think of, but this "paint ONLY outside the lines" tendency often comes across as too calculated... and over-calculation can make even "Family Guy" predictable. (On the first frame of the Anika Sorenson gag, I knew what the payoff was...) One real surprise was the "Stewie and the CPR doll" bit - it started off more squirmingly uncomfortable than funny, but the 'belly button' thing was a good payoff. And I liked the "everything in Quagmire's house folds out to a bed" bit just because it kept me engaged waiting for the next variation on the joke - I guess I'm just particular to running jokes that aren't just repetition... But "Family Guy" has a mild case of "Ren and Stimpy's Disease", the inability to judge just when a single punch line has been dragged out too long. But for a show that tried to throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks, at the end of the half-hour, my wall was way too clean.

One thing that makes "American Dad" different from "Family Guy" is that MacFarlane and his crew there are working a tighter format, more like"Simpsons" or a more conventional sitcom, keeping closer to the main story thread and sometimes actually maintaining more than one real storyline at a time (the long digression with the Electric Company repairmen tried too hard at imitating an X-Files-ish drama - but it might be cool if that "to be continued" turnsout to be serious). "The Simpsons" is weighed down by so much history, so much backstory - even though the kids never grow older and Moe's Bar always goes back the way it was at the end - that the writers sems to be palpably afraid of both contradicting the show's canon and being too obviously repetitive. So, they tread carefully until they stumble upon something they think is 'fresh' and then go crazy over it. "American Dad" is still finding the limits for its characters - Stan is locked into his stereotype (and the talking fish is at a dead end), but Roger the Alien is showing lots of comic potential. And if Seth MacFarlane wants to use "Dad" to show he can be funny in a somewhat more conventional structure, more power to him.
posted by wendell at 1:13 PM on June 13, 2005


I respecfully disagree. It never made it back to hilarious - I was hoping Peter would go into more of an outrageous falsetto befitting of the song toward the end, or something... it just dragged out.

That’s one of the things I liked about it. The outrageous route almost seems like the obvious thing to do, leading to the inevitable Stewie and Brian in B-52 wigs. That could have been funny too, but I liked their decision to leave it simple. A stupid man singing a completely inappropriate song to try and cheer up his friend.

Some of the other bits did drag on. I’m not sure if they were filling for time, or intentionally trying to go for a “The Office” effect of leaving the camera somewhere just a little too long.

The Simpsons is weighed down by history, but it also gives them a hundred characters they can go to for any given plot. Their current problems seem more due to lazy writing. They go for the cheap jokes where the older episodes would have the cheap joke, the high-brow joke, and the joke in the background you didn’t notice until the fourth viewing. Then again, I’ve been watching the Simpsons since I was an 11 year old inexplicably watching the Tracey Ullman show. So my opinion is biased very much by nostalgia.
posted by Gary at 2:07 PM on June 13, 2005


American Dad is better than new family guy, deal with it.
American Dad hasn't been bad these past couple eps, but Family Guy is still better.

Spoon! no, Fork!

Oh knock it off you two, be happy BOTH these shows are on the air on major network primetime slots and that mildly-amusing, mostly crappy cartoons like Futurama aren't. Now if we can only kill King of the Hill and replace it with Harvey Birdman.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:32 PM on June 13, 2005


anybody notice that none of the "best bits" quoted previously had anything to do with the "Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire" story?

Fine. I thought the bit where Peter had on the Quagmire mask and was trying to have his giggity with Brian-in-the-Loretta-mask was also hi-fucking-larious.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:33 PM on June 13, 2005


I second ROU_Xenophobe, and the bit with the fish as well.
posted by drezdn at 4:04 PM on June 13, 2005


A wiser man than me once said something along the lines of:
'Once you start thinking about comedy it ceases to be funny'

Cartoons finally get to the place where all the stars come out to shine and now everyone is crawling all over them like ants on jam trying to come up with evermore involved reasons why they are far more brilliant/so much less funny than ever before.

It's just a bunch of stuff that happened.

wendell: You just did comedy like they did Bambi's mom...
posted by i_cola at 4:23 PM on June 13, 2005


It was "Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it." - E.B. White. But he wrote books about dead spiders, so what does he know?
posted by Gary at 5:03 PM on June 13, 2005


be happy BOTH these shows are on the air on major network primetime slots and that mildly-amusing, mostly crappy cartoons like Futurama aren't.

imagine i'm doing an ear piercing "body snatchers" screech upon seeing this
posted by jimmy at 6:04 PM on June 13, 2005


Futurama was the best written cartoon series ever!

*runs for cover*
posted by cyphill at 6:19 PM on June 13, 2005


It had math jokes.
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:05 PM on June 13, 2005


Humour is subjective. Personally, I fucking hate Everybody Loves Raymond. But apparently a few (million) other people disagree with me. Good for them. But me and my coworkers laughed again today about last night's FG episode and my wife and I had another chuckle tonight about Lois dropping her pants to be spanked.

If it makes you laugh - even a little bit - then what are you complaining about? If it doesn't, find something else to do. I just don't get the need to dissect it. It's funny (to you) or it's not. Full stop.
posted by sharpener at 11:20 PM on June 13, 2005


Oh my sweet lord...I fucking *loathe* ELR. The worst programme in the history of anything ever.

*goes and lies down in darkened room*
posted by i_cola at 11:28 PM on June 13, 2005


Oh my sweet lord...I fucking *loathe* ELR. The worst programme in the history of anything ever.

*goes and lies down in darkened room*
posted by i_cola at 11:28 PM PST on June 13 [!]


Do you hate it because it's popular? As far as network's flagship must-not-be-offensive-at-any-cost type shows go, it's pretty funny, IMO.

Also, I absolutely loved the suspense-drama within American Dad last episode! I thought it was one of the funniest things I'd seen in a long time.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:47 AM on June 14, 2005


« Older Beware the Kancho!...  |  Billboards... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments