Do you ever take the time to look at today’s culture and the current events in a less serious light? That’s exactly what the animated television show Family Guy does. Family Guy is one of the best witty adult cartoon shows that have made its way into television since The Simpsons. This show portrays most of its characters as unintelligent, aside from the talking dog Brian and the football headed baby, Stewie. It effectively satirizes pop culture, is riotously politically incorrect, and contains humor so bad, it’s good. Though this cartoon is made for a more mature audience, its age appropriateness is still questionable.
The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.
Like The Simpsons, people often watch this show for its amusing adult-cartoon humor. Jeremy Frost, a reviewer of the show says, “it’s a more gruff version of The Simpsons, with far “bluer” material.” (Frost). However, I have found that viewers who have loved The Simpsons since the first time they’ve watched it, generally don’t like Family Guy, and the people who like Family Guy don’t enjoy The Simpsons. None the less, some think both the shows are equally as great because they both contain a good amount of senseless and cheap humor.
The setting of Family Guy takes place in Quahog, a small urban town in Rhode Island. The Griffins, a dysfunctional family, are a very colorful set of characters with very different personalities from each other. Brian Griffin is the family’s pet dog. He has very human-like characteristics, and along with Stewie, is probably the smartest character in the show. Stewie is the football headed baby with a British accent and a powerful hate for the people and the world around him. He often thinks he is more clever than everybody else. Peter, husband and father, is a lazy, overweight slob with an IQ of a small child. He is often inappropriate, and makes a terrible role model for his children. His character is shamefully funny, and does just about everything a person should not do. An example of this would be the time Peter took a test to see if he was a genius. It turned out that he was actually mentally-retarded. In celebration of his test results, which he thought were terrific, he hired a bulldozer with a drunk driver to level off half of his house. Lois, whose voice is played by Alex Borstein, comedian on the T.V. show Mad TV, is a very patient and caring wife and mother. Their son Chris is an overweight teenager who closely resembles his father in the fact that he behaves very childishly and is not very intelligent. Once he taunted his sister, Meg, by telling her that his father was smarter then hers. Meg is the unattractive and unpopular teenage daughter. She is practically disowned by her family, and is the butt of most of their jokes. She is almost always being referred to as manly. In “Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story,” Stewie goes into the future and sees Meg as a transitioned male named Ron. This is a good example of how the show portrays her character.
The hilarious references in Family Guy are mainly aimed at popular culture, such as celebrities, movies, television shows, and the many different ‘isms’ of our culture. They don’t continuously single out a specific minority, but instead humorously blow stereotypes out of proportion. “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein” was an episode that the Fox Network could not air, due to its offensiveness. This episode concentrates on the idea that Peter thinks Jews are smarter than everyone else. I personally love the different ways Family Guy satirizes pop culture. However, some people tend to think that the pop culture references are a bit overdone. Loerke, an opposing reviewer of the show, calls it a pointless spoof of everything in pop culture. The shows viewers must watch the show and feel proud for catching the references they make about pop culture. It doesn’t make sense to sit down and watch a show that poorly imitates Hollywood celebrities because they already make themselves look bad. Family Guy feeds on the trends of the present time, and anybody who watches it in the next two years will not understand the jokes; therefore the show will not be funny to them (Loerke). I would have to disagree with this reviewer. Family Guy does a fine job of mocking pop culture. The show is meant to create a cheap laugh, and it does just that. Though Family Guy does feed on the trends of today, I don’t feel that its viewers always have to understand exactly what they’re satirizing in order to get a good laugh. However, since Family Guy often generates most of its humor by making references about a person, movie, show, etc., I can understand why some viewers may develop a dislike of the show. If the viewer has never heard of the person or show being imitated, they obviously may not fully understand the humor that lies within. It might fly directly over their heads without even knowing it, or though they may not understand the reference fully, they may still have a good laugh.
This show also does a good job of being politically incorrect. It is jam-packed with crude and derogatory language. A lot of times the show over-exaggerates on the thoughts people in our society have. An example would be Peter and his buddies drinking at a bar talking inappropriately about a woman’s breasts. Instead of just keeping their comments to themselves, they will blurt them out.
Humor in this show tends to be so unreasonably stupid, it’s good. It is a random cartoon show that’s main purpose is to give its viewers a cheap laugh. Peter’s flashbacks and the jokes contained in the show often jump from place to place and generally don’t follow the plot line of the episode. It is a show bursting with random and mindless humor. Sitting down and watching a show like this is entertaining because it allows its viewers to stoop down to a lower level of intelligence for a while without having to worry about looking or feeling dumb. Though overflowing with foolish humor, its one-liners are carefully and cleverly written. The jokes incorporated into the show are often “inside” jokes and references.
This outrageous show is chock-full with over the top imitations of our everyday culture. It never seizes to creatively mock human relationships and behaviors, and make poor imitations of popular culture. If you haven’t seen the show yet, I recommend curling up onto the sofa with a bag of potato chips and I also suggest taking off your “thinking cap” because viewers of this show don’t have to do a whole lot of thinking while engaging themselves into this side-splitting cartoon comedy.