Family Guy

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Template:Portal Template:Infobox television Family Guy is an animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for FOX in 1999. The show was cancelled in 2002, but positive response to the show's release on DVD and reruns on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim led FOX to resume production of the show in 2005 (see Return to television). To date it is one of only a handful of shows in television history to be canceled and later revived by the power of their fan bases.

The title character is Peter Griffin, an inept blue-collar worker head of a middle class family frequently beset by the consequences of his foolish antics. Family Guy's brand of humor is notable for the (usually) brief, frequently nonsensical cutaways and flashbacks to various points in history, geography, and reality involving the characters and their ludicrous actions (see "Structural and comedic approach" below).

Seth MacFarlane, the young creator of Family Guy, also serves as a writer on the show, and voices many of the characters. Voice actors also include That '70s Show star Mila Kunis, actor Seth Green, MADtv star Alex Borstein, and comedic actor Patrick Warburton.

Contents

Characters

Template:Spoiler

File:Family guy promo pic.jpg
The Griffins, from left to right: Chris, Peter, Brian, Stewie, Lois, and Meg
Main article: List of characters from Family Guy

The show revolves around the adventures of Peter Griffin and his family. Peter is an incompetent blue-collar worker, and a bumbling, drunken father, yet still a dedicated family man. He is Irish-American and is also directly descended from an African American slave owned by his wife's ancestors. His wife, Lois, a stay-at-home mom and piano teacher, is the daughter of the Pewterschmidts, a wealthy socialite family. Their children are socially awkward: status-conscious Meg Griffin, whose supposed ugliness has driven people to set themselves on fire and jump out of windows upon seeing her for the first time; the mentally slow yet artistically gifted Chris Griffin; and the diabolical, super-intelligent, Napoleonic and potentially matricidal baby, Stewie Griffin, a 1 year old baby who has an attitude of " a crossbreed between Adolf Hitler and Caligula". The family also lives with an intelligent, cynical, alcoholic, talking dog named Brian Griffin. Even though Brian has been completely anthropomorphized, several episodes show that the Griffins still consider him a pet.

Other common characters include the Griffin family's eccentric neighbors: paraplegic police officer Joe Swanson, his perpetually pregnant wife Bonnie and their teenaged son, Kevin; sex-crazed bachelor Glenn Quagmire; mild-mannered deli owner Cleveland Brown; Brown's ex-wife, Loretta and their hyper-active son, Cleveland Jr.; the local mayor, Adam West, (modeled after and voiced by the actor of "Batman" fame) who is portrayed as paranoid and slightly mentally ill, as well as other various coworkers and town personalities. Unlike The Simpsons, Family Guy does not have an especially large cast of recurring minor characters (though this has changed in season 4, with many one-shot characters from prior episodes making appearances in new episodes), and most of the episodes plotlines center chiefly around the exploits of the Griffin family.

There are also some semi-regular characters whose appearances basically tell the same joke over and over; examples include the Evil Monkey in Chris's closet, and the Giant Chicken, Peter's nemesis, whose fights usually end up causing huge amounts of damage to the city.

One character though, has been taken out. Cleveland's son, Cleveland Jr., has not been in any of season 3 and 4 episodes (and possibly earlier). He was always seen jumping up and down rapidly and talked with a high pitched voice, and has since then been seen in photos in Cleveland's house.

Structural and comedic approach

File:FamilyGuyGIJoe.png
A pop culture reference to the G.I. Joe cartoon series and public service announcements from the 1980s.

The characters live and work in fictional Quahog, Rhode Island (pronounced "KOH-hog", IPA /Template:IPA/), a hyperrealistic and intensely satirical version of a small Rhode Island town. ("Quahog" is a term for a New England hard shell clam, and also a New England slang term for an extremely stupid person. The term also doubles as a slang term for "vagina", similar to the term "clam.") Characters' lives largely revolve around items and ideas of popular culture, which are incorporated into everyday conversation and events. Some of these references have exaggerated grounding in reality—a paranoid and psychotic Adam West (voiced by West himself) serves as Quahog's mayor, and public schools are named for Rhode Island natives James Woods and Buddy Cianci—while others unabashedly delve into the realm of fantasy without being questioned.

Although Family Guy sometimes maintains a rough sense of continuity, complicated plots are most often traded for a concentration on comedy that is based largely on pop culture references and non-sequiturs. Though this style is often played within the characters' world, the series is also known for its use of cutaways, where the plot is interrupted and segues into unrelated, self-contained sketches of variable length. Often initiated when a character refers to a past event (accompanied by phrases such as "like that time when…" or "I haven't felt like this since…"), these sketches are wildly divergent in topic—ranging from classic film scenes to historical events to contemporary television commercials—though many times they encapsulate twisted, humorous takes on reality, and sometimes they are completely nonsensical like Peter being a mirror for Kevin Federline or using his bulk to provide warmth for Lara Flynn Boyle.

The show owes a lot to Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker's Naked Gun/Police Squad! series, whose structural comedic approach has been homaged by Family Guy. Slapstick gags, dead-pan one-liners, non sequiturs, flashbacks, absurdity, and mainly parody on pop culture have been an influence on Family Guy. Family Guy finally parodied this ultimate parody movie in the fourth season episode called "PTV".

Though earlier animated series (such as The Critic) experimented with this style, few before Family Guy have wandered the line between reality and fantasy with such aggression. Indeed, the use of this style has been parodied by the show itself; an entire episode was revealed to have been a dream concocted by Pam Ewing, a character from the television series Dallas, which retconned an entire season to the same conceit.

Because of this approach, the series reverts to normality by the end of most episodes, and occurrences in past episodes are sometimes ignored. Some changes back to normality are accomplished by tortuous or unlikely means, while others are tacitly implied. The episode "He's Too Sexy for His Fat" offers examples of each: Peter's extensive liposuction and cosmetic surgery is reverted by having Peter have a car accident and land in a lard factory, where he consumes a whole vat of lard. Stewie's dramatic weight gain in the same episode simply disappears in the final scene.

But there are also cases of episodes making changes to continuity that are upheld and even elaborated on in later episodes, such as Peter's occupation being shifted from a toy factory assembly line worker to a fisherman, to a lowly worker at a beer factory, and the breakup of secondary characters Cleveland and Loretta. In a recent 4th season episode, Brian picked up a rock and hit Peter in the head, telling him that it was revenge for keeping the window rolled up when Brian tried to jump head-first into the General Lee, an event that took place in a Season Three episode, "To Love and Die in Dixie."

Being a native of Kent, Connecticut, and a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, MacFarlane has written a number of in-jokes and references into Family Guy which allude to real life places in Rhode Island and the surrounding New England area, including Providence, Pawtucket, Newport, Natick, Framingham, South Attleboro, Webster, Warwick (Rhode Island), and Warwick (Massachusetts).

Episodes

Main article: List of Family Guy episodes

In keeping with the humorous tone of the series, most episode titles of Family Guy are parodies of popular television shows, movies, and mottos.

For the first half of the first season, the writers tried to work the words "murder" or "death" into the title of every episode (i.e., Mind over Murder and Death has a Shadow) to make the titles resemble those of old-fashioned radio mystery shows. On a DVD commentary, creator Seth McFarlane says that the writers stopped doing this when they realized they were beginning to get the titles confused.

The film

Main article: Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story!

The first Family Guy film, released as a direct-to-video movie on September 27, 2005, focuses on Stewie seeing somebody he believes to be his real father and setting off on a road trip to find him. Originally three separate (though continuous) episodes as part of the fourth season, the DVD puts them together and includes additional materials. You can currently see a one minute scene from the movie (see here).

Opening song

File:Family Guy dance.png
Scene from the opening credits of Family Guy.

Its music composed by Walter Murphy, the familiar theme music of the show begins as a parody of the opening theme of All in the Family, where Peter and Lois sing at the family piano, à la Archie and Edith Bunker. The song then breaks from the Griffins' living room into a giant chorus performance performed by the rest of the immediate family and a line of Rockettes-like dancers.


Lyrics:

Lois: It seems today, that all you see,
is violence in movies and sex on TV
Peter: But where are those good, old-fashioned values
Family: On which we used to rely?
All: Lucky there's a Family Guy.
Lucky there's a man who positively can do, all the things that make us

Stewie: Laugh 'n' cry.
All: He's a Family Guy!

There has been some confusion over Stewie's solo line of "laugh and cry". Because it immediately follows a music sting, "laugh and cry" has been mistaken for "effin' cry" by both viewers and closed-captioning transcribers. This may be due, in part, to the aggressive facial expression he holds while saying the line, and the general viewer's perception of Stewie as a rude, angry and malignant being, both factors suggesting he could have been swearing (even though technically he wouldn't have been swearing anyway). Although a clearer recording of the line was featured during the third season, MacFarlane maintains the lyric has always been "laugh and cry". From season 4, the line was once again changed back to its original recording.

In keeping with the series' malleable comedy, the traditional opening song has been occasionally dropped in favor of different themes, including parodies of Law & Order, Police Squad!, and the Hope-Crosby Road movies.

An inside joke regarding composers Walter Murphy and Ron Jones occurs when Brian is nominated for a "Woody" for his work directing adult films. Walter Murphy, Ron Jones, and John Williams are nominated for "best original score" in an adult film.

An extended version of the theme song is featured on the Family Guy: Live in Vegas CD.

Murphy has also produced a Renaissance version of the original Family Guy theme for the episode "Mr. Saturday Knight"

Portion of extended lyrics:

Brian: It used to be, a big time star,
Was elegant as Garbo or Hedy Lamarr,

Stewie: Now we get whores like Jenny Lopez
You wanna curl up and die!

Pop Culture References

Family Guy often includes references to pop culture, usually from the 1970s and 1980s.

The following television series and movies have been referenced on the series:

History

Creation

While studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, Seth MacFarlane created a short film entitled The Life of Larry about a middle-aged slob named Larry Cummings, his cynical talking dog, Steve, his wife Lois and oversized son Milt. This film includes many of the same gags that would end up on Family Guy.

After being hired at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc., MacFarlane was given a chance at the tender age of 22 in 1996 to direct a sequel to the short entitled Larry and Steve, a nine minute short which was broadcast as one of Cartoon Network's World Premiere Toons. The short featured two main characters: Larry, a fat, old, balding man who did idiotic things, and Steve, a talking dog who was smarter than most people. The short features Steve in front of a camcorder recording an SOS tape for someone to come and save him from his bumbling owner, Larry. Steve recounts for the tape the misadventures that have ensued ever since Larry bought Steve from the dog pound, focusing on a series of misadventures and hijinks that ensued when the pair went to the mall to buy items for Larry's apartment. While at the mall, the two destroy nearly everything. For example, Larry is looking for a lightbulb for his bedside lamp. He puts in a high-wattage bulb and criticizes Steve for saying that it wasn't a good idea to put the bulb in by commenting that he didn't go to kindergarten for twelve years because he was stupid (but because he got his foot caught in the radiator). When Larry plugs the lamp in, it turns into a wide lightsaber and he cuts the store in half. Of course, while he's doing it, Larry references the "Luke, I am your father..." line from The Empire Strikes Back by saying "Luke, this is your landlord. You still haven't returned my weedwacker."

Executives at Fox Broadcasting Company saw both shorts, and MacFarlane was given the opportunity to develop a show based on the shorts. He agreed, leaving Hanna-Barbera and working on the characters of Larry and Steve, who eventually evolved into Peter and Brian Griffin.

Regardless, both The Life of Larry and Larry and Steve portray vast similarities to Family Guy, including similar voices and character status for Peter and Brian's character.

Initial run

The first episode was aired in the United States on the Fox Network on January 311999, after Super Bowl XXXIII. The show premiered as a regular series in April and ran for six more episodes until the season finale in the middle of May. The first season contained seven episodes and introduced the viewer to the show's main characters. The second season began on September 231999, and contained 21 episodes. The third season contained 22 episodes and began its run on July 112001. During its second- and third-season runs, Fox frequently moved the show around different days and time slots with little or no notice. Ratings suffered, and after only two episodes of the second season, Family Guy was taken off the network's permanent schedule and was shown irregularly thereafter.

When Family Guy was shown in the UK, and when the DVDs were subsequently released there (November 122001), the first seven episodes of the second season were included with the first season, balancing them out with 14 episodes each.

There was a great deal of debate and rumor during the second and third seasons about whether Family Guy would be cancelled or renewed. Fox publicly announced that the show had been cancelled at the end of the second season. In an attempt to convince Fox to renew the show, dismayed fans created websites, signed petitions, and wrote letters; some even sent diapers and baby food to the network for Stewie.

A shift in power at Fox resulted in thirteen new episodes being ordered, which formed the basis of the third season. The show's writers, aware of the uncertainty of the show's future, referenced it in several episodes. During the third season, Fox announced that the show was cancelled for good.

Revival efforts

The news of Fox's cancellation in the third season was met with dismay by fans, and renewed efforts were made to convince Fox to resurrect the show. An online petition was launched, which garnered over 10,000 signatures within only a few weeks. The petition contained the following message, addressed to Gail Berman and Sandy Grushow, the President of Entertainment and Chairman of Fox at the time:

To: FOX Broadcasting

Dear Ms. Gail Berman and Mr. Sandy Grushow,

We are avid watchers of FOX programming, especially the show "Family Guy". We have recently heard that FOX Broadcasting has cancelled this show. We are informing you of a boycott of FOX Broadcasting, FX, FOX Sports Channel, and all products shown on FOX Broadcasting, FX, and FOX Sports Channel. We are all willing to comply with the boycott and do whatever it takes to get our favorite FOX show ("Family Guy") back on the air.

We will not only be boycotting your stations, we will be boycotting every product shown on those stations. These products include, but are not limited to: Nyquil, Schick, Valvoline, Gold Bond, Subway Sandwiches, Buick Motor Vehicles, Alka-Seltzer, Monistat 7, Diflucan, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Heartguard, Frontline, any product on TimeLife.com, Ranger Bass Boats, The Xtractor, any product made by MGM, 1-800-COLLECT, Hunt's Manwich, any product made by Reeses', any product made by Walt Disney, and Gevalia coffee and coffee makers.

As you can see, we are taking this cancellation very seriously. We will contact our local newspapers, and television stations; and with that we will gain more people in our "quest" to get "Family Guy" back on television.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

The petition gained over 100,000 signatures, but this along with mass e-mailing and letter writing to Fox executives and organized street protests failed to save Family Guy. Later efforts to get other networks, particularly UPN, to buy Family Guy also failed.

Return to television

In 2003, reruns of the series found a permanent home at Cartoon Network and its late-night Adult Swim block, where, as of 2005, it continues to play. According to a Cartoon Network press release, "FAMILY GUY ranks #1 in its time period on cable among Adults and Men 18–24, and also beats both The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in head-to-head competition among Men 18–34 and Men 18–24." (This was only an occasional ratings outcome[1].)

The series found further success on DVD, when it was finally released for the US market (NTSC, Region 1) on April 152003. Divided into two volumes, Family Guy sold 2.2 million DVD units in the first year[2], reportedly surpassing every other TV-based DVD released in 2003, including Sex and the City and Friends compilations. The significant Cartoon Network ratings, combined with the unprecedented DVD sales, led to widespread rumors that Fox was in talks to revive the series.

On November 192003, the E! Entertainment Television channel and its website (see below) reported that Fox was negotiating with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane to revive the show with 35 new episodes. On February 272004, in an interview with IGN, Seth MacFarlane confirmed that Family Guy would resume production. MacFarlane provided even more information in a BBC interview. (see IGN interview, BBC interview)

On March 262004, 20th Century Fox Television officially announced that it had committed to producing at least 22 more episodes of Family Guy to be rebroadcast on Adult Swim in early 2005. The Fox Network has retained a window to run these episodes, starting on May 12005. Seth MacFarlane was quoted as saying, "I'm just incredibly excited that we're back in business on Family Guy. Now all those crazy kids who've been hounding me to bring the show back can stop bothering me and move onto more serious matters—like saving Coupling."

The fourth-season premiere of Family Guy took place on Sunday, May 12005, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Fox. Reruns of the fourth season began play during Adult Swim on June 92005.

Furthermore, a Family Guy direct-to-DVD movie, titled Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story!, was released on September 272005 (see [3]). The 87-minute film is unrated and includes commentary, deleted material, and other bonus features.

A Family Guy video game is currently in production under the Take-Two Interactive banner, slated for a 2006 release on an unnamed system (see [4]).

On September 272005, Variety reported that 20th Century Fox greenlighted production of 22 additional all new episodes of Family Guy,(see [5]).

In the UK, BBC Two started showing Season 3 in September 2005 along with American Dad, but are yet to announce the showing of Season 4. In Australia, the show has made its long awaited return, airing Thursday nights on the Seven Network during the summer non-ratings period.

Controversy

Being a largely adult-oriented program, Family Guy has become a lightning rod of controversy for its brusque approach to comedy, which deals with politically sensitive topics without enormous concern for the boundaries of good taste—often considered one of the primary reasons for its initial cancellation. Many episodes were trimmed for controversial content, and one episode, "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," was initially refused airtime on FOX because its plotline—where Peter attempts to convert Chris to Judaism in hopes of making his son financially successful—was deemed inappropriate under accusations of anti-Semitism (the episode later aired on CN. An edited version eventually aired on FOX, with some content, such as a reference to Deicide, removed). Other subjects that have been called to attention are the series' controversial jokes about the disabled, racism, abortion, neo-Nazism, conservative bias, liberal bias, alcoholism, terrorism, and AIDS. Family Guy led the list of "worst prime-time shows for family viewing" released by the Parents Television Council in 2005.

When reruns of Family Guy episodes began to air, controversial episodes were often restricted to broadcast times after 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time, in order to avoid more family friendly prime time slots; FOX executives feared that viewer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission could have prompted an investigation and a "Notice of Apparent Liability." All new episodes on FOX are preceded by a title card stating that "viewer discretion is advised"; while the show currently rates a "TV-14" by TV Parental Guidelines (recent exception: "Peter's Got Woods" was rated TV-PG DL).

Other stations that have aired the series have also dealt with concerns of controversy. While reruns on CN's Adult Swim block are generally unaffected because of its late time slot (from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Eastern/Pacific), TBS Superstation removed afternoon airings of the series, necessitating that a new block of adult-oriented programming, entitled "Too Funny to Sleep," be created for late-night time slots.

Due to the controversies within the show many nations have banned Family Guy, including Armenia, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Iran, Thailand, Belarus, South Africa, Egypt, Philippines, Serbia and Montenegro, Vietnam, Taiwan, People's Republic of China (PRC), Albania, and South Korea. This is because of certain insults or jokes against the countries listedTemplate:Fact that Family Guy has made.

Criticism

While the show has an undeniably large and vocal fanbase, Family Guy and Seth MacFarlane in particular have featured a great deal of controversy in terms of negative treatment by other comedy writers, animators, and critics.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons has included many joking references to Family Guy and its alleged plagiarism.

  • In "Missionary: Impossible," Family Guy was referred to as "crude, low-brow programming" by Fox Executives.
  • In "Treehouse of Horror XIII," Homer creates an army of clones of himself that are each progressively dumber than the real Homer. One of the clones is shown to be Peter Griffin.
  • In "The Wandering Juvie," Bart Simpson was insulted when Gina Vendetti called him a "Family Guy."
  • In "Treehouse of Horror XVI," Executive Producer Al Jean was credited as Al "Family Guy" Jean in the tradition of giving the staff horrific, scary and/or unpleasant name variations.
  • In "The Italian Bob," Peter Griffin is shown in a book of criminals with the charge of "Plagarismo" (Plagiarism) and Stan Smith, of American Dad!, is shown with the charge of "Plagarismo Di Plagarismo" (Plagiarism of Plagiarism).

Family Guy has also referenced The Simpsons on at least two occasions:

  • In "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter", Stewie tells his babysitter's boyfriend that "I'm not gonna lay down for some frat boy bastard with his damn Teva sandals and his Skoal Bandits and his Abercrombie and Fitch long sleeved, open stitched, crew neck Henley smoking his sticky buds out of a soda can while watching his favorite downloaded Simpsons episodes every night! Yes, we all love 'Mr. Plow'! Oh, you've got the song memorized, do you? SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE! That is exactly the kind of idiot you see at Taco Bell at one in the morning! The guy who just whiffed his way down the bar skank ladder!"
  • In the opening of "PTV", Stewie (in a reference to the opening of The Naked Gun) rides his tricycle through Quahog until he pulls into his driveway. The scene then parallels the opening of The Simpsons; only instead of Homer running into the house, he hits the door and is knocked out. Peter then opens the door, looks at Homer, and says, "Who the hell is that?" It should be noted that a practically identical joke (in which Marge runs over Homer using the same animation from the opening credits sequence) was already featured in "Treehouse of Horror IX."

Numerous writers associated with The Simpsons, such as Matt Groening, Al Jean, David X. Cohen, Matt Selman, Tim Long, and Joel Cohen have insulted the show during public appearances, in interviews and on DVD commentaries. When a long-lost book of jokes is mentioned on a Simpsons DVD commentary, Al Jean joked that it was stolen by Family Guy writers. Executive producer Mike Reiss, however, has said that he enjoys Family Guy and that other Simpsons creators dislike the show because they believe it's inappropriate for their children, although he keeps his fandom low-profile to prevent him from becoming a traitor. It is worth noting however, that recent episodes of The Simpsons have been consistantly been rated TV-14 (often with warnings of harsh dialogue), a far cry from the earlier episodes that stayed in the TV-PG realm.

MacFarlane has admitted that the show was strongly influenced by The Simpsons and many jokes, even episodes, are extremely similar. Given the similarities between The Simpsons and Family Guy, the sheer number of The Simpsons episodes, and the fact that they're on the same network with only 30 minutes between them, the comparisons are unavoidable.

The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror XIV" (which aired in November 2003 during Family Guy's cancellation) features a story entitled "Reaper Madness" in which Homer takes over the duties of being the Grim Reaper. Many Family Guy fans have claimed that it's hypocritical to suggest that Family Guy steals from The Simpsons when the story to this Simpsons episode is very similar to the Family Guy episode entitled "Death is a Bitch" in which Peter assumes the role of death. However, others point out that the story of a mortal taking on the duties of the Grim Reaper has been used several times before Family Guy or The Simpsons. Another idea is that episode is in fact a joke—a take on Family Guy's then most famous episode to see how the audience would react were The Simpsons to blatantly rip off Family Guy, rather than the other way around, as seen by so many critics. Also, The Simpsons episode "The Great Louse Detective", aired in 2002 during the time that Family Guy was cancelled, features Sideshow Bob singing the song "I've Grown Accustomed To His Face", also used in the Family Guy episode "Running Mates" (aired in 1999), in which Stewie sings about Lois in "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face." Both songs are, in fact, parodies of a song by the same title in the popular musical, My Fair Lady.

In a recent interview with TV Guide, MacFarlane refuted rumors of tension between him and Simpsons creator Matt Groening "You know, it's funny. Matt Groening and I actually have a great relationship. We've talked several times in the past few weeks and joked about this. One day out of nowhere [this rumor] pops up in papers and magazines. Actually, it was probably one comment that was taken out of context in Blender. Matt's just a cool guy, and fortunately neither of us was ruffled by any of that stuff. We just laughed it off."

Other peers and critics

Clerks. director Kevin Smith and David Mandel, co-producer on Smith's short-lived Clerks animated series, have gone on record as Family Guy haters: in the final episode of their cartoon they included a scene in which a bad comedy writer consults a book entitled "How To Write Cartoons by Seth McFarlane (sic)." Upon consulting the book, he suggests that the writers send the characters to Gilligan's Island and make gay jokes about them, illustrating their opinion that the show lazily attempts to disguise poor writing by alternating between pop-culture references and offensive humor. Interestingly, the show actually did something very close to this later on, in "The Perfect Castaway." On the DVD commentary, Smith refers to Family Guy as the show's nemesis. When it is pointed out that Family Guy won an Emmy, Mandel refers to it as "Emmy Award-winning shit."

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have expressed their discontent at being put at the same comedic level as Family Guy. When questioned about the meanest thing anyone ever said to them, Stone replied "When people say to me, 'God, you guys have one of the best shows on television. You and Family Guy.' That fucking hurts so bad," to which Parker agreed: "Very well said. It's such a kick in the balls." [6]

The show's animation has also come under fire by Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, who expressed concern over the fact that the current generation of aspiring animators will be negatively influenced by the animation present in Family Guy: "If you're a kid wanting to be a cartoonist today, and you're looking at Family Guy, you don't have to aim very high. You can draw Family Guy when you're ten years old. You don't have to get any better than that to become a professional cartoonist. The standards are extremely low." [7]

In addition, Family Guy has faced vicious attacks by the media critics itself. The show was voted one of the top 10 worst shows in 2001 by Entertainment Weekly, ranking at number 2. EW contributor Ken Tucker is the most vocal critic of the show on the magazine's staff, comparing the show to Arli$$ and describing them both as terrible shows that couldn't be killed. In response Seth MacFarlane included a gag in Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story! in which Stewie breaks the neck of an EW reporter after being asked if he had heard any news about Futurama's future. It should be noted, though, that EW hasn't been nearly as harsh in more recent reviews of the show, even being positive at times. A recent Mad magazine cover proclaimed "We Salute Family Guy, TV's Most Original Animated Series." The accompanying illustration featured the Griffins slightly altered to resemble their Simpsons counterparts, clearly making fun of the show's alleged unoriginality. A three-page spread within the magazine, entitled "Mad's Exclusive Backstage Tour of the Family Guy" is full of allegations of unoriginality, plagiarism and poor writing.

DVDs

Region 1

Season Releases

DVD Name Release Date Additional Information
Volume 1 15 April 2003 This four disc box set includes all 28 episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 and eight audio commentary tracks.
Volume 2 9 September 2003 This three disc box set includes all 21 episodes from Season 3, the un-aired Pilot and the previously un-aired episode, "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein". The set contains six audio commentary tracks.
Volume 3 29 November 2005 This three disc box set includes 13 episodes of broadcast Season 4 (the first 13 episodes of the 4th production season). Special features include 10 audio commentary tracks, featurettes and deleted scenes.
Volume 4 Spring 2006 This will consist of broadcast Season 5 (which starts where broadcast season 4 left off, consisting of production season 4 episodes (PTV-end of the season).)


Best of Releases

DVD Name Release Date Additional Information
The Freakin' Sweet Collection 14 December 2004 This is a five-episode sampler including the episodes "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," "Road to Rhode Island" (including the restored scene involving Osama Bin Laden), "To Live and Die in Dixie," "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar," and "Lethal Weapons." The set includes new commentaries and previews for Family Guy Season 4 and American Dad!.

Other releases

DVD Name Release Date Additional Information
Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story 27 September 2005 This is a direct-to-DVD movie in which Stewie tries to find his real father after a life-changing incident. The retail version includes commentary and deleted scenes.
Family Guy Volume 1, Seasons 1 & 2 (UMD Video for PlayStation Portable) 29 November 2005 This is a UMD Video replication of the Volume 1 DVD set, now in a five UMD set. Includes all commentaries and featurettes from the original DVD.

Region 2

Season Releases

DVD Name Release Date Additional Information
Season 1 12 November 2001 This two disk DVD contains all fourteen episodes from season 1, including the seven episodes that were produced in the first season but aired in the second.
Season 2 27 January 2003 This two disk DVD contains all fifteen episodes produced for season 2 (which aired along with some season-one episodes, see above), including the unaired "When You Wish Upon A Weinstein".
Season 3 21 July 2003 This box set contains all of the episodes from season 3.
Family Sized DVD Collection 31 October 2005 This box set contains the above three sets (the Season 3 collection is repackaged in one plastic case) plus a bonus 2-disc set, Family Guy Uncovered, containing special features, including deleted scenes, featurettes, and 14 previously released episodes with added audio commentaries.

Best of Releases

DVD Name Release Date Additional Information
The Freakin' Sweet Collection 25 April 2005 This is a five-episode sampler including the episodes "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," "Road to Rhode Island" (including the restored scene involving Osama Bin Laden), "To Live and Die in Dixie," "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar," and "Lethal Weapons." The set includes new commentaries and previews for Family Guy Season 4 and American Dad!.

Other releases

DVD Name Release Date Additional Information
Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story 24 October 2005 This is a direct-to-DVD movie in which Stewie tries to find his real father after a life-changing incident. The retail version includes commentary and deleted scenes.

Region 4

Season Releases

DVD Name Additional Information
Season 1 This box set contains all fourteen episodes produced for season 1, including those that aired during season 2.
Season 2 This box set contains all fifteen episodes produced for season 2, including the (previously) unaired "When You Wish Upon A Weinstein".
Season 3 This box set contains all twenty-one episodes from season 3.

Best of Releases

DVD Name Additional Information
The Freakin' Sweet Collection This is a five-episode sampler including the episodes "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein," "Road to Rhode Island" (including the restored scene involving Osama Bin Laden), "To Love and Die in Dixie," "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar," and "Lethal Weapons." The set includes new commentaries and previews for Family Guy Season 4 and American Dad!.
Happy Freakin' Christmas This is a two episode DVD with festive-themed episodes. It contains the episodes "Da Boom" representing New Year and "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" representing Christmas. It has one special feature; a 7-minute clip show entitled "The Best of Stewie" with Seth McFarlene explaining Stewie at different stages.

Trivia

  • The character of Adam West on Family Guy is actually voiced by Adam West. He played Batman in the 1960s, and in the recent episode "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire", was revealed to live in a mansion similar to Bruce Wayne's.
  • In the first season, the voice of Meg was provided by Lacey Chabert, not Mila Kunis, though she was not credited. Speculation towards the reason behind the changing of voice actresses ranges from Lacey Chabert quitting the show due to problems with the show's content and offensive humor to Chabert only being hired for a set number of episodes, as scheduling conflicts prevented Mila Kunis (who was the first choice to play "Meg") from joining the cast until the second season.
  • Stewie's middle name is "Gilligan" and Chris' middle name is "Cross". It is disputed whether this is a homage to Christopher Cross or Kris Kross, although in one episode Lois refers to Chris as "Christopher Cross Griffin".
  • On occasion other MADtv actors such as Phil LaMarr, Nicole Sullivan, and Will Sasso have done guest roles on the show (Alex Borstein, one of MADtv's most famous alumni, is a regular/writer, playing Lois). In Sasso's case, he integrated a recurring Randy Newman impression from an early MADtv sketch. Borstein even reprised her old role of Ms. Swan from MADtv in the Season 4 episode Don't Make Me Over.
  • During the first three seasons the Griffin family's ages are as follows: Peter, 42; Lois, 40; Meg, 16; Chris, 13; Stewie, 1; Brian, 7 (Meg was recently referenced as being 17 as of the season 4 episode The' Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire, and was 15 in Season 1).
  • Many Star Trek actors have appeared on the show, some even reprising their roles. These include Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, Rene Auberjonois, Colm Meaney and Dwight Schultz.
  • Whilst in the first half of the first season the dialog makes sense with the adults not understanding Stewie, later episodes show that at least on occasions they can. Seth MacFarlane has said that the adults do not believe that Stewie means what he says considering his age.
  • The infamous "Ensign Ricky" Joke from the episode "I Never Met the Dead Man" was a re-used joke from creator Seth MacFarlane's student film. In his original film, Shatner's sporadic movement was included as was the Redshirt joke. Instead of Ensign Ricky it was Ensign Skippy.
  • It is rumored that Family Guy Presents Stewie the Untold Story! will air spring 2006 as 3 separate edited for tv episodes (4ACX05 Stewie B. Goode, 4ACX06 Bango Was His Name Oh, and 4ACX07 Stu and Stewie's Excellent Adventure)Most likely the season 4 finale.
  • In the episode Road to Europe, Lois refers to Gene Simmons as Chaim, to indiciate that she dated him before he became famous. But, Simmons changed his name to Gene Klein when he came to America, and was probably only known as Chaim Witz in Israel.

Technical details

  • The show is produced the same way as recent seasons of The Simpsons (and American Dad!). The show is storyboarded, laid out, and timed in the U.S. (the "pencil sketch"), and then sent overseas to Korea (although it is banned for broadcast there) for in-betweening and computer coloring. On return to the U.S. the show is cut, and any additional animation is laid out and timed and sent overseas. When that comes back, the show is cut to final length, at which time no additional edits can be made because the soundtrack would be out of sync. The music and effects are then laid down.[8]
  • Many of the dada cut-away gags are fully animated jokes from previous episodes that had to be cut for time.

See also

References

  • ^ Netherby, Jennifer. "DVD keeps Family alive". Video Business. March 29, 2004.
  • ^ Battaglio, Stephen. "The Second Life of Brian". TV Guide. May 1-7, 2005.

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