Is it possible to hate Family Guy but still like Seth MacFarlane?
by Danny Gallagher, posted May 25th 2009 12:02PM
When it comes to Family Guy, I really tried. I honestly gave it my best shot. I watched the Sunday episodes, the late night reruns on Adult Swim, and even some of the DVDs from my college-aged brother's collection, including the famed feature-length Star Wars parody. I watched until my eyes started planning a prison break from my skull.
I wanted to like it. It's goofy, occasionally satirical and completely unafraid to be silly and bat#*$& crazy. Alas, I couldn't take it. I didn't find it funny or entertaining. The jumps to the pop culture flashbacks made the whole thing disjointed and screwed up the continuity. The characters are as two-dimensional as the paper the Korean sweatshop animators draw on for each episode. The way the show just drags on certain jokes is downright irritating. We get it. Peter hurt his knee jumping out of The A-Team van. A prom night dumpster baby musical number would be hilariously tragic. It's the one and only time I ever rooted for Cartman in an episode of South Park.
That doesn't mean the show's creator deserves the same contempt.
Seth MacFarlane has a rise to fame that's rarely seen in this day and age of celebrity royalty and shoulder rubbing. He also has a very affable personality and funny sense of humor that makes him a great talk show guest, a nice guy, and quite possibly the world's greatest drinking buddy.
Sorry guy-who-can-drink-a-whole-martini-through-his-nose, someone just took your throne.
Maybe that's because the person reflects his work. Family Guy NEVER takes itself seriously and neither does MacFarlane, even when he's on shows that can sometimes take themselves too seriously, like his appearance earlier this month on Real Time with Bill Maher.
His taste is darn near impeccable. He has just as much love for the classics and music composition as he does for turning every corner of American popular culture into his personal gimp, which is probably why I generally like his Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy better than his network fare.
Most of all, he just seems like a nice guy. Even when he's in the middle of something as nasty and venom-filled as the South Park episode that mercilessly ridiculed his show or getting his weekly complaint letter from the Parents Television Council (motto: if we don't get to enjoy TV, no one gets to enjoy TV!), he generally takes the high road and lets the other side have their say. He doesn't put them down or does it in a way that lets you know he's joking.
Some thing tells me that MacFarlane may have answered the wrong calling. Maybe he shouldn't be producing animated network shows. Maybe he should be the chief negotiator in the Mid-East peace talks.