Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters
socratic

  • Mood:
  • Music:

How to get Iconoclast to hate you

I watched the series re-premiere of Family Guy yesterday (TiVo was threatening to delete it) and it was...

mediocre.

I've never loved Family Guy, though I did buy the first season DVD and find it mildly enjoyable enough to watch without commercial breaks. I should probably also admit that I was never a huge Simpsons fan, but I did watch during the show's peak and there are certainly some episodes that are up there with anything that television has ever produced.

Family Guy is, in my opinion, a watered down Simpsons with one great character, Stewie, and a bunch of mediocre take offs for the rest of the family. Peter is like Homer in his later, dumber, iterations and while he can be amusing with sight gags and the occasional punch line he's so impossibly unrealistic that nothing he does is ever surprising. The wife is nondescript and uninteresting. The kids are useless, with Chris being a mini-Peter and Meg being so bland I cannot remember any gags with her from the episode. Brian the Dog is an interesting concept not taking far enough. He's supposed to be a hard-bitten alcoholic but he's also someone Peter can talk to and often ends up being the responsible one, which doesn't work. It's as if Barney and Ned Flanders from the The Simpsons were rolled together into one bipolar character.

The main problem with Family Guy is not the characters though. They are pretty lame, but lots of shows have lame characters, and the genius of Stewie should help to overcome the foibles of the others. The main problem with The FG is the fact that it has no THERE there. The world of The Simpsons Springfield is a solid place with landmarks, rules, and a reality all its own. It's a solid setting for the family to run amok in, or at least it was until recently. It's funny when they build a monorail there because you instantly know there's no way Springfield needs a monorail. It's funny when guest stars appear there because you know they're totally slumming it and couldn't care less about this podunk. Comedy relies on reality gone twisted and The Simpsons provides a reality to play with.

Family Guy does not. There's no real sense of setting and absolutely anything can happen at any time. Peter might have a flashback to fighting a Chicken in an office building or the family might go into Witness Protection or deal with the apocalypse or WHATEVER. In fact the only character who HAS an established world with rules is Stewie, who must somewhat obey the laws of babydom. His funniest moments are when he must battle between his evil genius and his baby urges. When he grudgingly trades his superweapon for a pacifier or has to set an evil plan in motion to get his diaper changed (The best moment from the latest episode.) This is what makes Stewie work so well and everything else...not. The show ends up feeling like one long string of rampant silliness and while it has amusing moments it also has minutes where absolutely nothing interesting is happening and I just sit there waiting. It has no plot or characters you care about or ANYTHING to fall back on when the gags fall flat. Nothing.

I admire Seth McFarland for what he's done with the show. Getting a show on Network TV is never easy and he's a risk-taker when it comes to pushing the broadcast envelope. He does a lot of good voice work and he created one classic character. I just hope that in his next project he focuses on mixing some storytelling in with the endless gags and creates something with more comedic substance than cotton candy.

And now for something completely Polish:

Poll #487733 The Family Guy MY EYE poll!

Do you watch Family Guy?

I've seen every episode eighteen billion times
3(23.1%)
I try to catch it whenever I can
5(38.5%)
If it's the only thing on
2(15.4%)
I tried it but lost interest
3(23.1%)
Cartoons? I said what! I don't abide those fancy shadowpuppetries!
0(0.0%)

What do you think of Family Guy

I want Seth McFarland to impregnate me with his comic manseed
2(15.4%)
It's pretty awesome
5(38.5%)
It's alright
5(38.5%)
I have an attitude of educated disinterest
0(0.0%)
It's not Scottish, which makes it CRAP
1(7.7%)

Paste?

Yes
2(20.0%)
No
2(20.0%)
Maybe so
3(30.0%)
99
1(10.0%)
100
0(0.0%)

Anything else to add?

Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 15 comments