How a Family Guy lost its way
Family Guy is the only show that seems to have lost its plot as spectacularly. Family Guy’s animated giant, Seth MacFarlane, has always provoked outrage from both sides of the cultural divide. But there was a time when its legions of loyal fans were willing to stand up and defend their champion with unquestioning devotion.
It seems that the mood has changed. Few would be willing to help the Griffin family in 2022, rather than being divisive and relevant cartoon that mocked the American nuclear family and went to places The Simpsons were unwilling to go. Family Guy is no longer credible 20 years after its debut season. Family Guy is now the internet’s cultural whipping boy.
Family Guy was a very different show from today’s one when it debuted on Fox in 1999. The show’s basic setup and a cast of characters are the same. However, it premiered with a completely different tone. Cutaways were rare, humor was more gentle and subtle, and the zany streak that would develop after the reboot was much more muted. Family Guy seemed to have been aimed at a more traditional audience in its early years.
After MMacFarlane’sbaby was canceled, things changed. The show was then relaunched in its third season. Season 4 premiered in 2005. It is arguably the best run. Family Guy made a change of direction in 2002, switching from the set-up-knock-down gags of the past to embrace the surreal, zany humor that would be its hallmark. Some might refer to the first seasons of Family Guy as the peak. Seasons 4-8 feel like Family Guy is firing on all cylinders.
Each character discovers their comic niche during this period. Peter is at the right level, Lois less oppressed, and Brian far removed from the pseudointellectual douchebag he would become. Each dynamic is comically lucrative without dipping into exploitative humor. Each participant maintains some nuance while still making genuine laughs. Family GGuy’smost memorable episodes include Season 4,’Petarded, aand’TV to Season 6,’Lois Kills Stewie_ and Season 8,’Road To the Multiverse_.
Family GGuy’s” olden period” features some of its strongest writing. While its cutaway gags are often decried for being lazy and out-of-date, they remain fun rather than confusing and arbitrary. These seasons coincide with the rise in popularity of YouTube and other video streaming sites, so iit’snot surprising that they were also a time when these self-contained sketches or vignettes were available. Many of the perennial favorites, such aas’AlanRRickman’sAnswering Machine_Peter Narrates his Own Life_, Cookie Monster In Rehab_, and will SSmith’sClean Rapping_, have been viewed millions of times online.
These days are long past, just like The Simpsons has been suffering from the laws diminishing returns. FFox’sanimated sitcom has suffered a huge decline in quality and its growing contempt for its characters. Family Guy has never received the respect and loves it deserves from its peers and contemporaries. Criticism and disapproval were present before any real dip in quality.
South PPark’sTrey Parker, Matt Stone, and Matt Stone are outspoken about their hatred for their animated rival. They admitted that they “love it…we just ddon’trespect its writing” Stone and Parker shared their disgust at Family GGuy’sepisode ”Artoon Wars” They spoke of getting calls from both King of The Hill and The Simpsons thanking them for doing “God’swork.”South PPark’sparody barbs stemmed from its ccreators’belief that the rival cartoon was filled with lazy writing and easy gags. This assessment has become increasingly relevant. Family GGuy’sdownfall has led to it being almost universally disregarded by audiences and critics alike.