Reposted from my old, defunct blog.
Back in 1999, I fell into the evil comedy trap that Seth Macfarlane set for many an impressionable youth. I thought it was the funniest TV Show I’d ever seen, and I recall watching the first episode and telling all my friends about it the next day at school. I continued to watch the show when I could, and while I never got as excited about it as I did for The Simpsons back in the day, I was notably saddened when the show was canceled. Naturally I bought the DVD sets when they first came out, and because of that I was able to watch the entire series without planning it around the TV schedule. Again, I thought it was hilarious. I watched all the episodes many times, and quoting it became a natural expression between my friends and I.
I was excited when I heard it was coming back. I watched the first new episode with baited breath, and when it finally aired I was…underwhelmed. It didn’t seem like the show I remembered and loved. I watched the next few episodes and it seemed more and more like it wasn’t a good show anymore. It just wasn’t that funny. Of course I decided that ‘it was better before it came back’ but re-watching those episodes now, I realize just how wrong I was on that account.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how terrible the television show Family Guy was. And it’s even more aggravating because everyone seems to think it’s comedic genius. People quote it to me and talk about how hilarious it was when Peter farted for 5 minutes because he’s just so zany that way! So while I’m sure this little article will gain me a lot of haters, I think it will be worth it to open the eyes of many impressionable youth out there who may read this.
Submitted for your approval, I am going to convince you that Family Guy is the worst cartoon ever created and that your favorite show sucks.
Case #1: It’s written by manatees
Anyone who’s seen the South Park episode poking fun at Family Guy knows what I’m talking about. That episode really did the best job of making the point I wanted to make here, so why pretend I’m coming up with it myself. For anyone unfamiliar with what I’m referencing, here’s the abridged version: Cartman is shown the writers of Family Guy and it turns out they are manatees, in a large pond, who have a huge stack of ‘idea balls’ on one side of the tank. On the other side is a slot for the idea balls to go into, and the manatees slowly bring the idea balls to the slot until a ‘joke’ is formed.
The writing in Family Guy is probably the biggest problem with the show, and it definitely seems like the above scenario is plausible. Generally the major plot point of an episode is pretty basic and could easily be resolved in ten or so minutes. But since they need to fill the whole half hour, they put in so many ‘filler’ jokes that it becomes ridiculous. While I appreciate the writer’s are well aware of the many ‘flashback’ or ‘cutaway’ gags (in fact they’ve mocked themselves on numerous occasions about that), is being self-aware about an unimaginative and lazy storytelling technique really any better than being blissfully unaware? My thought is that it makes it worse. The fact that they KNOW they’re using such a tired and uninspired technique ALL THE TIME and don’t work to change it, makes me lose any little respect for them I have.
The fact is they have such a large fan base that I’m sure it doesn’t matter to them in terms of dollars, but you’d think it WOULD matter to them in terms of integrity and self respect. Unfortunately, it’s the same story for many movies out there and the reason why (Epic/Date/Superhero/Scary) Movie was made in the first place.
Case #2: Flanderization
For those unfamiliar with the term, check out the definition at TV Tropes:
“The act of taking a single (often minor) aspect of a character and exaggerating it more and more until it’s huge and cartoonish and almost entirely consumes the character.”
While this is the case with many of the characters on Family Guy, the fact is that the majority of them were Flanderized right from the get go. Here is a basic breakdown of the main characters on Family Guy:
- Peter is stupid and fat
- Lois likes sex a lot
- Chris is stupid and fat
- Meg is hated and ugly
- Brian is smart, sophisticated, and a dog
- Stewie is a baby who wants to take over the world and kill his mom and is possibly gay
- Cleveland is black
- Quagmire likes sex a lot
As you can see the characters are diverse, interesting, and properly developed. NAHT! (borat film) This show isn’t the best example of Flanderization, as these characters have pretty much been the same for the entire run of the show. Arguably they kicked up their ‘nuances’ quite a bit once they returned from being canceled, but watch the first episode of the series (don’t actually cause it sucks) and you’ll see that the characters are still the same. Lois and Meg were Flanderized somewhat, but for the most part they had the same idea from the start.
In reality, The Simpsons are the best example of Flanderization (and where the term gets it’s namesake) but that is simply because The Simpsons used to be excellent. It’s terrible now, almost Family Guy terrible, but I’ll save that argument for another day. Fact of the matter is Family Guy has been terrible since it’s inception, and therefore the Flanderization involved made it even worse. It turned a terrible show into a show that actually enrages me when I catch one of it’s so called jokes on TV.
Case #3: Fucking Quagmire
Fucking Quagmire. FUCKING QUAGMIRE. If you honestly think that this character is funny or entertaining then please shut the fuck up around the sane people in your life. Saying “Giggidy giggidy” in public automatically makes you a stupid jerk who should die in a tornado.
Case #4: Shock Value Jokes
Family Guy relies heavily on ‘shock’ or ‘offensive’ jokes all the time, and while this kind of joke can be funny when done properly, Family Guy never does it properly. South Park, by comparison, does it expertly. Unfortunately, for every clever, intellectual and thoughtful joke about Jewish people on South Park, there is a Family Guy joke involving Peter pooping on the Star of David. But the biggest difference between South Park’s jokes and Family Guy’s, is that when South Park does it they do so to make a point, and whether that is obvious or not it’s still there. When Family Guy does it, it has no real purpose. It’s simply because the writer’s thought it was hilarious.
Also the most offensive jokes usually revolve around FUCKING QUAGMIRE.
Case #5: Do You Remember the 80s
Seth Macfarlane remembers the 80s. He reminds us of this fact every single episode, because that seems to be the most common reference in the show, often times given without any background information provided. This gives all the fans watching who DO remember the 80s a little chuckle, and those that DON’T remember the 80s an appreciation for the whole ‘random=lol’ aspect.
It also seems that the manatees favor the 80s idea balls, as it’s definitely the most common occurrence, whether it’s during the regular plot or during one of the 78 cutaway gags (usually initiated by Peter saying ‘Do you remember the time I [did something] with [someone from 80s popular culture]?). Sometimes it’s fun to be like ‘Oh yeah I remember that Ah-Ha video’ or ‘I used to love that television program when I was young’ when you’re watching the show, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s lazy storytelling.
Family Guy is a terrible show. The writers are lazy and uncreative and the characters are annoying and static. There is nothing to love about this show. If you’re looking for a good, funny, cartoon with great characters and jokes, check out Golden Age Simpsons (seasons 3-8), Home Movies, Clone High, Futurama, The Venture Brothers, and South Park. These are the top cartoons out there, with Family Guy being wayyyy at the bottom.
Also please remember this is my opinion but I don’t mind if you want to argue with me about why I’m wrong. But keep in mind saying that ‘your stupid family guys awesome’ won’t convince me otherwise and also IT’S “YOU’RE” NOT “YOUR.” If you want to argue, bring some concise and clear arguments otherwise I’ll just make fun of you until you cry.
And don’t even THINK of trying to defend FUCKING QUAGMIRE.