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Is it possible to hate Family Guy but still like Seth MacFarlane?

by Danny Gallagher, posted May 25th 2009 12:02PM
Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy
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.

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The better question is... can you like Family Guy (for the above mentioned reasons... Peter's soliloquy on why he doesn't like _The Godfather_ and the family's response nearly had me in tears--"It's just so boring it's like they're speaking another language" "They're speaking Italian!" "They're speaking a language of subtlety which is something you will obviously never understand" "I enjoyed _The Money Pit_. That is my response to that statement."

On the other hand Seth McFarlane's public statements and actions make him a gigantic prick and a raging narcissist (the commenter pegging that Brain=Seth McFarlane as he sees himself is dead on.) He once sent a club that wouldn't let him in on the Hollywood strip $5000 of flowers. Self-obsession, thy name is Seth McFarlane.

And that's his _public_ persona; if he's so out of touch that he thinks that his public actions are cute or funny and not just the actions of an arrogant clod then I'd imagine in real life he's a real prize of a human being. Why anyone would like him as a person other than for Family Guy is beyond me.

May 31 2009 at 1:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you! Thank you for validating what I have been saying for years. I don't find Family Guy clever at all. It isn't original, its just random pop culture references, not even parodies of the references, literally just a reference. Look, Peter Griffin is a Ghostbuster, look, Peter Griffin meets Alf, look Peter Griffin and the Mission Impossible music. Whenever I have tried to watch the show I feel like Elaine on Seinfeld watching the English Patient....

May 26 2009 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guess Who

I have one question and one question only:

Why oh why does Seth hate "Dharma and Greg" so? Fear of leggy blondes perhaps?

May 26 2009 at 2:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Guy Behind The Guy

All these shows r just disturbingly funny and not really funny funny. I don't even know what's going on with recent Family Guy episodes. When did Stewie stop trying to kill Lois and take over the world? They have him cross dressing now and singing on stage.

May 25 2009 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"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."

In writing terms, it's called a "rake" gag. Which -- you guessed it -- is named after the episode of The Simpsons where Sideshow Bob keeps stepping on rakes, continuously hitting himself in the face.

Basically, you take something moderately funny, keep it going until it's not funny anymore, and then keep it going until it's funny again.

If you think that Seth McFarlane created it, or if you think that Family Guy is the only show that uses it, then you really need to watch more TV.

May 25 2009 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I completely agree with your statements. There are a few gems in the series, but I only laughed wholly at one episode this season, which was the Road to Germany.

But overall, it really is a disjointed show, that has all these ideas for comedy, but just can't get them together.

And I'm sorry, I've seen nearly every episode of this show (roommates), and I don't get the knee thing either. They just do it over and over again, and it's still as pointless and annoying.

May 25 2009 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan C

to answer your question:

but wow, you really dont get the knee thing...which invalidates your entire argument.

May 25 2009 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope you watched seasons 1-3 before you gave up on it. (The comment about the A-Team van suggests you did not.) It was not the same after it came back.

If you were rooting for Cartman in that episode, then you missed the point.

May 25 2009 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"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."

LOL. You just don't get it. I'm sorry.

May 25 2009 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Uh, Seth Mcfarlane doesn't take himself too seriously!?!! Are you kidding, there isn't a TV personality (maybe Trump) who thinks more of themself. He's an egotistical prick, he thinks he's a crooner, and that he's got better taste than anyone else. He's the reason why I hate Brian. If you watched the show you would see that Brian is Seth Mcfarlane, there's no fake voice there, and the character is outrageously smart and classy. You can tell the Seth writes hte character to be perfect, but he comes off ans pretentious and outrageous.
On the other hand I love the manatee jokes and the general ridiculousness of Stewie and Peter.

May 25 2009 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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