Family Guy (1999– )
User ReviewsReview this title
I absolutely must comment on the incredible voice talent done for this show, most especially the amazing creator himself, Seth MacFarlane. First of all, his versatility is unlike anything I have ever heard. When I discovered how many voices he actually performed, I was floored. I am currently receiving my masters in speech pathology so I find his ability particularly interesting. Not only can he speak in these individual voices, he can sing in them, and very well I might add.
The musical numbers in this cartoon revive a dying art. The "Road" episodes are a hysterical throw back to the Crosby/Hope movies, which is a reference I usually have to explain to my friends though they often must explain a few that I miss. In fact, the scope of the references range from cheesy 80's TV to political commentary to Broadway. This is why everyone will find something funny about this show. Everyone in one form or another can relate to it.
Most of my guy friends think I should be offended by the show because I am a woman and this is a "guy's show." Let me tell you, this is not the case at all. Lois Griffin is a freakin role model. I like to think I have half of her savvy when dealing with my ignorant boyfriends.
Absolutely excellent television. Edgy, funny, intelligent and extremely creative. This show was a breath of fresh air for mundane television and will soon awaken the network again. Seth MacFarlane, you are a genius!!
The humour of Family Guy is definitely something the future will call "family guy humour" it's random off the wall antics generally focus on priceless flashback sequences and stammering over awkward sentences to keep you laughing. The once very promising series is beginning to wear down however as season 5 was full of very dull and humourless episodes and i believe it is because of Ricky Blitt temporarily leaving the show to do The Winner which coincidentally flopped. Seasons 1-4 have been as pleasure and the first six or so episodes of Season 5 as well but only time will tell if this series stays as consistently funny as it's almost always been.
Many criticize it and claim it as a Simpsons rip off which is totally inaccurate and unfair. Homer Simpson is a dim witted easy angered character while Peter Griffin is a pop culture obsessed moron who always means well. Marge Simpson is an intelligent, nagging, wife while Lois Griffin is a good hearted mother whose party girl side is always emerging. Bart Simpson is a little hell-raiser who loves to cause trouble and pull pranks while Chris Griffin is a slow, dopey, lummox. Lisa Simpson is an intelligent, kind, liberal while Meg Griffin is a self pitying, neglected, border line suicidal loser. Maggie Simpson doesn't speak or do much throughout the show while Stewie Griffin is a quick witted baby bent on world domination with a lot of homosexual tendencies. The shows are very different and share few similarities.
The show revolves around family and the struggles and over the top things that occur throughout their daily lives. The humour is totally random with irrelevant and hysterical flashback sequences occurring throughout the episode and contains a ton of satire that is both offensive and true.
Seth MacFarlane reminds me of Quentin Tarantino with the way he pays homage to things he loved or remembers growing up and the pop culture references will make you think "oh yeah i remember that". I believe Family Guy will become a classic and in my personal opinion already has but i see a very sunny future for this great animated series. Watch out for it in the fall of 2007 as it enters it's sixth season with Ricky Blitt back on board.
I used to love watching Family Guy, and I still do. However, it's gotten very lazy and all around bad with the writing now. Seasons 1-6 were filled with great stories and the characters weren't blown out of proportion like they are now. In this season it just seems boring and depressing compared to the older episodes. I'll give it slack due to the fact that the show has been running for almost 20 years, but I think the show has ran its course.
The only positive I can really take from the later seasons is the attention to real world issues This is a good thing that they are spreading awareness about these topics, however they don't do it in an entertaining and funny way that they used to be able to.
An example of this is the episode "Thin White Line", it's about Brian becoming addicted to cocaine and shows the spiral down that he takes from the effects of it. Seasons one through four were easily my favorite seasons to watch because they were clever, entertaining and the characters were relatable.
The episodes from around season nine and below are the best ones and are a must watch. Seasons 10-14 were okay, I guess. Season 16 was better than 10-14 and I thought they were going to take a turn back to what they used to do, but season 17 came along a destroyed that hope.
My favourite characters in family are Brian and Stewie and I like the episodes when it mainly features them such as "Road to Rhode Island" (Season 2), as they interact very well. The comments they make just have me in stitches. Peter's behaviour is also very funny as some of the things he does "are just so brilliant they're retarded." The voice acting is excellent, especially Seth MacFarlane as he provides the voices for half of the Griffin family as well as their perverted neighbour Glenn Quagmire and how he manages this range (particularly with singing) I just don't know. He deserves his two Emmy's for providing the voice of evil baby genius Stewie. Adam West also steals the show with his funny and completely insane regular character the mayor of Quahog. What I like about Chris (voiced by Seth Green) is the things he says show that he takes after his father when it comes to intelligence and common sense.
The only thing I have found annoying is that in the UK Fox has decided to change the seasons to increase DVD sales, which in no way reflect the programme itself but rather the marketing.
If you enjoy Family Guy then I would thoroughly recommend Seth MacFarlane's other project American Dad which uses a different style of humour but is still extremely hilarious.
Like many shows, it has taken a serious dip in quality. I found the more recent episodes/seasons have been more political, and less about the characters.
I remember watching a recent episode, and then watching the very first episode, 'Death has a Shadow'... Did I then realize that the show isn't once what it was...
I loved the earlier seasons, as it was Family Guy the way it was meant to be... Offensive, disgusting, crude, you name it. This show has taken a step away from that, and that was the very thing I loved about the show.
Don't get me wrong, there a couple good episodes in the newer seasons, such as 'Road to Multiverse', or 'Back to the Pilot', but I wish the newer seasons were more consistent in good content, such as the latter and/or the former.
As a Family Guy fan, I recommend only watching up to season 4. Anything past season 4 is where the quality takes a dive.
The first 4 seasons are pure comedy gold.
Regardless of the lackluster quality in newer seasons, my thoughts in seasons 1-4 are that the show is fantastic. It is the reason why I give this a show a watch, and a high rating. The characters are so crude, and humorous, that I remember almost losing my breath, since I would laugh so much.
The parts that 'kill' me, are when Peter would have flashbacks or made up thoughts in his head about prospects of his life... Pure genius.
If you are a person that wants to watch this, again, I would only watch up to the end of season 4. Past that is mostly irrelevant.
90% of the jokes in "Family Guy" fall into one of 3 categories: 1) Jokes making fun of pop culture (especially old TV shows and celebrities) 2) Gags that run so long that they become absurd 3) Flashbacks, most of the time introduced with "This is more ___ than that time I ___"
I'm sure that a lot of people find this stuff funny, but after 4 seasons with this kind of humour, it just becomes so expected that it ends up being routine. This doesn't do it for me.
I still like this show and I think it has a lot of potential, but it needs some new ideas!
Season Reviewed: 5 seasons
After 5 seasons, two cancellations and a now militant army of fans the show has amassed, I don't quite know what to say about "Family Guy" anymore.
When "Family Guy" debuted in 1999 it was a shotgun blast of comic brilliance that came out of nowhere and went unheard by an audience still enraptured by the antics of "Friends". At first it all appears relatively routine, even - as many have accused - a ripe-off of "The Simpsons". Fat, child-like, head of household Peter Griffin (voiced by creator Seth MacFarlane) screws things up while dotting wife Lois (Alex Borstein), put-upon daughter Meg (Mila Kunis) and genetic copy Chris (Seth Green) look on. Also in the mix is genius, homicidal infant Stewie (MacFarlene) - one of the most deserving break-out characters in TV history - and Brian, the family's talking dog.
If the characters sound like clichés, that's the point. MacFarlane uses them simply as vessels and with the show regurgitates every pop culture childhood memory to create a full-length parody of 70s and 80s sitcoms. Even better than a parody, a satire. Just as Archie Bunker was a product of the 50s being imposed on by a changing 70s culture, "Family Guy" is about the new millennial values juxtaposed on sitcom camp of the last century. In MacFarlane's world there are child molesters on "Lost in Space" and "Eight is Enough" actually refers to disciplinary beatings.
Yes, "The Simpsons" have covered similar ground, with a particular emphasis on random flashbacks and fantasy scenes. But with "The Simpsons" in a creative tailspin for the last decade, MacFarlane and crew swoop in to fill this gaping void. To out-Simpson "The Simpsons" if you will. What MacFarlane brings to the table is pitch-perfect comic timing - an ability to know how quick to cut or how long to drag out a particular bit to get the laugh. As well as utter fearlessness. From bits in which Jesus Christ turns water "into funk" or a TV parody "Gumble 2 Gumble: Beach Justice" staring Greg and Bryant Gumble as bicycle cops, "Guy" isn't just one of the funniest things to grace TV, it was freakin' brilliant. This breaks from are more often like an animated version of "The Far Side", then "The Simpsons".
Then it was canceled only to be renewed at the 11th hour. And then it was canceled again, brought back supposedly by strong DVD sales. But given the networks ownership of the show and how Fox beat to death the equally strong "Futurama", it's hard to buy that. This constant shakeup has got to take a toll on a series' rhythm. When the show returned for a 3rd season it felt lacking of something. As if the network notes to "slow the pace", "tone down the fantasy scenes" and "thicken the story lines" were rigidly being followed when the breaking of these rules was what made the show great in the first place. Still it contained classics like "Emission: Impossible", "The Thin White Line", "Road to Rhode Island" and "Brian Wallows, Peter's Swallows" to keep us satisfied.
Upon the 2nd return, giving us seasons 4, 5 and beyond, the show has completely lost it's footing. After a LONG agonizing wait, the 4th season premiere is a disappointing "North by Northwest"/"Passion of the Christ" parody. The rest of the season follows suit in which only "PTV", the show's satire of the TV ratings system, recaptures it's prior lunacy. MacFarlane makes the crucial mistake here, actually wanting us to care about them. Given that they where envisioned as clichés in the first place, putting the weight of a story on their backs only shows how lacking the show is for character depth. Even Stewie, once a source for huge laughs, is stripped down to a single latent homosexuality joke. The show gets story heavy where it shouldn't. Slows down when it should speed up. Goes broad when it should go cult. Gets political and angry when it should be mindless escapism. "Family Guy" was about velocity, randomness and obscure 1% gags.
I won't go as far as to say that "Family Guy" beyond seasons 4 and 5 is proof that a dead show should probably remain dead. But it is proof that a show can't go through constant cancellations and reshuffling and remain intact. It also suffers from the same fate that has plagued "The Simpsons". It is full of itself. It has become lazy in a belief that it can do no wrong in the eyes of it's fans. "Family Guy", in many ways, has sold out. It isn't the acerbic TV rebel it used to be. It is now part of the system itself
"Guy's" humor has a masterful ability to appeal to "Star Trek" nerds and drunken frat boys alike. And it is hard to deny the TV geek in my doesn't flip out when they do something half of either audience won't get like weave a "Star Wars" joke into a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" reference. But the show's die-hard legions of fans (some damn near sycophantic over the show's brilliance) have allowed it to be lazy and complacent and paved the way for MacFarlane's head to slide right up his own posterior. In some ways he deserves it, the show can still be very, very funny. But the true fans out there know that it can do much, much better.
* * * ½ / 5
The show is famous for its use of gimmicks, especially for flashbacks. Many are references to bad TV sitcoms or commercials. Some are funny(Especially from the first two seasons), most are not. Are references inherently funny? I'm not sure, but they are mostly what the show stands on considering that its characters are painfully uninteresting. Where Homer and Bart have charm, and Cartman has an artillery of self awareness and pure outrageousness to back up his awful behavior, Peter Griffin has no excuse. He's just a loud, obnoxious pig. Anything funny coming from his character is only because the writers forget how to be unfunny that day. Lois is also very shallow and dull; Meg is a prop, only to be abused; Chris is borderline retarded and only occasionally funny, and the two main stars of the show(Stewie and Brian) are so inconsistent in their characterizations that it all really kind of pointless.
Other gimmicks I can't stand are when a character points to something obviously and lingers on it for an uncomfortably long time. This happens a lot lately, and I can't bear it any longer. Not just the oft mentioned chicken that likes to beat Peter up, I'm talking about the painful moments where they talk about pop culture and prod it as if they are alien spectators. That's not wit or even ironic humor, it's totally boring and lifeless.
Not that the show can't be funny, in fact some of the earlier episodes had me rolling. Highlights include the pilot episode, where Peter loses touch with reality after losing his precious television; when Peters religious zealot father shows up and wreaks havoc; When Peter becomes a narc at Megs school, and the "pancake" episode. I suspect these are the episodes that accidentally incorporated actual human traits in its characters, or merely were times the writers had actual comedic inspiration.
One last thing, the show is not offensive. It's only offensive to those who wouldn't watch the show in the first place, so it's almost like a circle jerk to the choir of hipsters.
The show is about the Griffin family: Peter, Lois, Chris, Meg, Stewie, and Brian. Peter is the head of the household, he's a bit on the slow side, loves beer, and is in love with TV. Lois is the wife and mother, she's always the one you'd want to go to with problems, but when you mess with her, she comes back with a punch! Chris is the son, very slow and stupid, but sometimes has those strange moments of very deep thoughts. Meg is the daughter who just can't be noticed and is finding herself in the harsh world of high school. Stewie, the baby, is a wanna be dictator, wants to kill Lois, will destroy broccoli, kill he man in white, and is always looking for victory to be his! Brian is a man stuck in a dog's body who loves Lois and is trying to figure out why he's with the Griffin Family.
Family Guy has some extremely funny episodes, for me the most memorable are: Chitty Chitty Death Bang, Emission Impossible, A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas, and 8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter. Those are the episodes that just always can get a constant laugh from me. But I do recommend Family Guy, it's not for the faint of heart, but it's just a fun show if you want a few good laughs. The cast loves doing this show and they always pull in great and memorable characters. While I still prefer The Simpsons, Family Guy is also a show that I will always watch when I get the chance.
User Rating: 9/10
BOTTOM LINE: HILARIOUS AND A BIT LIKE THE SIMPSONS BUT DIFFERENT!
While the characters were pretty much all good in their own way (except Meg, who, let's face it, was an annoying brat), my favourite character was easily Stewie, who , despite being a baby, was also a homicidal evil genius obsessed with killing his own mother. BRILLIANT! Most of the side characters were hilarious as well, particularly Quagmire.
After 3 excellent seasons, however, it was cancelled. This isn't exactly a bad thing, however, as many other sitcoms have lasted a short while and have been remembered as some of the greatest sitcoms of all time, the biggest example of that being Fawlty Towers. If FG had stayed cancelled it would be remembered as one of the greatest shows of all time.
Unfortunately, it came back. BIG MISTAKE! Don't get me wrong. Season 4 was very good, with excellent episodes such as "The Cleveland-Loretta-Quagmire", "Petarded", "Peter's Got Woods", "PTV", "The Fat Guy Strangler", "The Father, The Son And The Holy Fonz" and the fantastic "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story" trilogy. However, S4 wasn't exactly as consistent as the first 3 seasons.
It was Season 5 were it really began to run out of steam, being merely an "alright" season with a very mixed quality of episodes. By this point, Seth Macfarlane had also started to change many of the good things about the show, transforming Stewie's character from an evil genius to a repressed homosexual, and making Peter more and more stupid. Despite this, there were still some good episodes such as "Peter's Two Dads" and "Meet The Quagmires". Season 6 was more or less the same. Despite containing the absolute masterpiece that was "Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie" (My two favourite Family Guy episodes by the way) the rest of the season was kind of meh. Season 7 was yet again underwhelming, with the only standout episodes being "I Dream Of Jesus" and "We Love You, Conrad".
Then we got to Season 8, and this is when the show started to become a giant load of horses**t. Not one SINGLE episode in Season 8 was even funny in the slightest and the show became way too vulgar and offensive, with the biggest examples being "Dial Meg For Murder", "Quagmire's Dad", the RUBBISH Star Wars parodies and "Peter-assment". Season 9 was again terrible, despite containing two very good episodes ("And Then There Were Fewer" and "Road To The North Pole". Season 10 was again the same. Despite some really good episodes like the fantastic "Back To The Pilot" and "Mr. And Mrs. Stewie", they couldn't make up for the rest of the season, which contained such travesties as "Seahorse Seashell Party" and "Screams Of Silence: The Story Of Brenda Q". And Seasons 11 and 12 were both completely terrible all the way through, with ZERO redeeming qualities. So I have made the decision to stop watching.
In conclusion, Family Guy was a once great show that, just like The Simpsons, has become a giant load of crap. But for once being a fantastic show, I'm going to give it an 8/10.
WARNING: If you easily get offended with jokes, don't watch this.