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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » "Why I Hate FAMILY GUY" (Featuring A Nasty Quote From Yours Truly!) (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: "Why I Hate FAMILY GUY" (Featuring A Nasty Quote From Yours Truly!)
Scott Shaw!
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Thanks to my pals Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi over at Cartoon Brew --

http://www.cartoonbrew.com

-- I was just directed to read a great essay/review by Jaime J. Weinman titled "Why I Hate FAMILY GUY". It's at:

http://zvbxrpl.blogspot.com/2004/09...family-guy.html

As some of you might know, I made the mistake of working on a single episode of this series' first season (drawing storyboards after turning down the job offer of supervising character model designs for the entire series) -- and wound up loathing the experience -- so I was especially curious about this installment of Weinman's blog. Not only did I find myself in agreement with every one of Jaime's points...

...But imagine my surprise to find the "veteran artist" that he anonymously quotes in Point Three to be none other than...ME! (Y'know, I hate being referred to as an "artist"; I'm a "cartoonist", dammit! -- but I digress.) I forget where my words originally appeared (I think it was on Gail Simone's YOU'LL ALL BE SORRY! forum at Comic Book Resources' discussion boards), but since I often find myself in the position of having to defend my negative opinion of this inexplicably popular "adult" cartoon show, I guess it could be taken from any number of places on the Internet, maybe even from Animation Nation.

Frankly, I think that Jaime should have had the courtesy to ask me for permission to re-use my words -- if only because I would have loved to see my name attributed to the quote! After all, he may hate FAMILY GUY, but I had to work on the thing! It's not as though my career would be ruined if I wound up on Seth MacFarlane's sh*t list, believe me. (If being known as "that guy who draws the Flintstones" hasn't ruined it, I dunno would would!) Heck, I'd even welcome this...it would be kinda like winding up on Nixon's notorious 1970s "Enemies of the White House" list!

Anyway, check out Jaime's cogent thoughts -- and MINE -- regarding the animated abomination that calls itself FAMILY GUY! Again, it's at

http://zvbxrpl.blogspot.com/2004/09...family-guy.html

Aloha,

Scott! (AKA "Veteran Artist")

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oogieboogie
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Hi,

Links don't work.

oogie

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Scott Shaw!
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Dammit. (Thanks!)

Here, try this:

http://zvbxrpl.blogspot.com/

And, just in case it doesn't work (I hope Jaime won't mind):

Sunday, September 05, 2004
 
Why I Hate FAMILY GUY
Someone suggested to me that if I took the time to explain why I think Family Guy is a bad show, I might stand a chance of getting some angry replies from some of that show's many online fans. Since the main reason to do a blog is the hope of getting angry replies and/or denunciations on other blogs, I've decided to give it a shot.
Here are ten reasons why I think Family Guy is a bad show:
10. Stewie, the most popular character, is a double ripoff. His world-domination ambitions and dictatorial rhetoric are ripped off from the Brain of Pinky and the Brain. And his design and personality are ripped off from Jimmy Corrigan, a comic-strip character created by Chris Ware. A Jimmy Corrigan strip from 1996 can be found here.
9. It constantly recycles its own meagre store of gags. It's got about three basic gags -- a cutaway to something that references a work of '70s or '80s pop culture; one of those "stretching out something so long that it's funny" routines (they do this one about five times an episode), and sexual-innuendo jokes that are sort of The Golden Girls for frat-boys. I don't mind that they sometimes use jokes from other shows -- recycling jokes is inevitable in comedy -- but they managed to get through 50 episodes without coming up with a new kind of joke, and that wears thin.
8. The characters are so boring, such a dull collection of sitcom stereotypes from the creator's youthful TV-watching binges, that there is virtually no humor to be gotten from the characters. Good comedy writing gets laughs from the characters; the writers on this show write around the characters. By the last few episodes, Stewie was so tapped-out as a character that he was written out of character in almost every episode (that is, almost every gag featured him taking on a personality other than his own), a sign that the character had nothing to him in the first place except the stuff that was taken from superior characters (like the Brain). About the only actual character on the show is Brian the dog, and even he doesn't have that much to his character.
7. It uses references as a substitute for humor. Talk to the average young Family Guy fan and you'll usually hear that what they like best about the show is that it refers to things they saw when they were growing up, and they're just tickled to find that someone else remembers it -- like the "kid in me/adult in me" commercial. Well, I remember that stuff too, but that's lazy comedy writing: there's no perspective on the stuff Family Guy is referencing, no actual joke beyond the reference itself. A golden rule of bad comedy is that if people recognize the reference, they'll laugh even if the joke's not funny. Family Guy goes beyond that; it doesn't even try to have a joke half the time -- it just assumes that making a pop culture reference is inherently funny. Another Family Guy hater makes a similar point here.
6. Seth MacFarlane's voice acting is quite poor: uninflected, monotonous, recycling the same few vocal tricks over and over the way the show recycles a few gag concepts. Mike Judge, Trey Parker, Matt Stone and others have developed into good vocal actors, but Seth MacFarlane is the best argument against creators voicing their own creations.
5. It's one of those things that presents itself as "cutting-edge" but is actually gutless. Its "offensive" jokes are neatly calculated to make sure they don't actually risk offending their fanbase; instead they make jokes that would be offensive to the kinds of people who don't watch the show -- sexual prudes, for example. Any genuinely cutting-edge comedy will risk offending people who watch it; but how is a penis joke supposed to offend the average college student? The answer is, it's not supposed to offend anybody who watches the show; it's supposed to give college kids a smug sense of superiority in believing that someone else might theoretically be offended by that penis joke. (An animated sitcom that actually dared to be tasteless and offensive was Duckman, which took on actual social and political issues; another animated sitcom that actually dares to challenge its audience is South Park, which takes the things that its youngish viewers have been told on other TV shows -- say, saving the rainforest is good -- and tells them the opposite.)
4. The style of the show, which its fans consider such an innovation, was pretty much familiar to anyone who had been following the Saturday morning and weekday cartoons of the early to mid '90s. Sitcom-style stories that went off into weird directions; a look and feel that parodied sitcoms of the '50s to the '80s; constant jokes about '80s pop culture: this was all characteristic of the funny kids' cartoons of the '90s. Essentially, if you watched enough episodes of the early Johnny Bravo (which Seth MacFarlane worked on) or some episodes of Tiny Toons or various other kids' shows of that era, then Family Guy looks like what it is: a kids' show, with all the things that characterized the kids' shows of the '90s: attempts to be hip, suspicion of big heartfelt moments, and lots of references to the shows the kids watched when they were very little. In other words, Family Guy isn't a sophisticated take on the sitcom; it's a kiddie show with some PG-13 references for older kids.
3. The animation was probably the worst of any animated sitcom ever, maybe neck-and-neck with the animated sitcom version of Dilbert. One veteran artist, who described Family Guy as the worst show he'd ever worked on -- and he'd worked for Hanna-Barbera in the '70s, so he wasn't saying that lightly -- summed it up this way:

When I'd suggest some sort of minor gag... [the director] just looked at me and, deadpan, asked "why"? The designs of the characters were murder to draw, so bland and expressionless, but I was somehow expected to get more "acting" out of them. Believe me, Peter's model sheet poses for "happy" and "depressed" looked practically identical! I was told not to add eyebrows, not to distort eye-shapes, not to draw "cartoony" poses...but still, somehow, creating "acting". Yeah, right.
The animation on "The Simpsons" or "King of the Hill" may not be classic-level, but every character acts with his or her face and body to a certain extent; they have, let's say, at least two expressions. "Family Guy" has the most inexpressive characters I've ever seen, and the only distinctive movement on the whole show is a gag that the supervising director (Peter Shin) invented to make characters fall down really fast... a gag that was then repeated to death for the rest of the series.
2. The scripts are bad. I mean apart from the shoddy recycled gags and characters, most of the scripts are just frankly terrible in terms of story construction, coherent satire, etc. The satire is, again, gutless and timid (taking on such never-before-seen satirical targets as tobacco companies and feminists); the dialogue is sub-According to Jim; the stories tend to feature one plot point per act surrounded by many minutes of filler. I guess you can say that what I call "filler" is really the point of the show. Even if the gags were funny (which they are not), I wouldn't buy this. The show is in the form of a sitcom and it should have good story construction and all the other stuff one expects of a sitcom. Otherwise all you're left with is a big overlong comedy sketch with the same characters every week, not unlike a really bad year of Saturday Night Live.
1. Plenty of other animated shows that went off the air didn't get anywhere near the same kind of following, and certainly didn't get revived. Futurama, of course, was far better; but so was Pinky and the Brain when it was in primetime; so was Duckman, which was the offensive, shocking show that Family Guy never had the guts to be (and Duckman's "Road To" episode was a million times better than Family Guy's). Even The Critic, which had some of the same problems as FG (bad animation, unmemorable characters, over-reliance on pop-culture references as opposed to genuine satire or parody), displayed a higher level of craftsmanship. Essentially Family Guy is a story of poor craftsmanship rewarded. I can't help but resent that.
Now, what do I think of the fact that this show has become so popular among younger viewers, popular enough to make it a huge DVD hit and guarantee a sizeable 18-35 demographic for the new episodes? First of all, I think that the Family Guy cult will look really embarrassing a few decades from now, because the '80s references will no longer be comprehensible, and so the episodes will consist largely of dead spots (since there are no jokes, just the references, which are supposed to be funny just because you "get" them). Second, I think it proves that people of my generation don't have better taste in TV than people of my parents' generation; in other words, how can I make fun of some elderly relative for enjoying some badly-written, badly-made CBS show, when I have younger relatives who enjoy the worse-written, worse-made Family Guy? In other words, I think "geezer TV" has been replaced by a new category... call it "whippersnapper TV": bad TV that succeeds because it appeals to the sensibilities of a particular age-based segment of the audience. All of which is a long way of saying that lots of bad shows become hits. This is another one of them.
Now, to add some fairness and balance: I actually did think that the last season of Family Guy showed some improvement, in the sense that there was some attempt to write coherent stories and give the characters something resembling a personality. It wasn't good, but it was better, and I suppose it's theoretically possible that the new episodes could be better still. There was one episode from the last season that I thought was just plain good: "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows," where Brian the dog meets a reclusive old lady who used to be an opera singer. That episode featured an original song that was quite a good attempt at a pastiche Broadway song, certainly better than anything Joss Whedon came up for for his Buffy musical, so I've got to give Seth MacFarlane credit for that, as well as for proving to college kids that musicals aren't for dorks. (I read that the upcoming Family Guy CD includes a song from Take Me Along by Bob Merrill, so he gets more points for that.)
Also, despite the life-ain't-fair tone of # 1, I'd say that in general, most animated sitcoms have gotten a fair shake; King of the Hill is still on, as is South Park; Futurama and Duckman got 70 episodes apiece; the animated sitcoms that outright bombed are mostly the ones that deserved to. So Family Guy's success doesn't actually take anything away from more deserving shows. It's just another mediocre-to-poor show on the air. The TV universe will survive that.
-----
Aloha,

Scott!

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-FP-
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It's always pleasantly baffling to read well-presented opinions that clash with my own. FAMILY GUY is one of the funniest things I've seen, but I've never appplied critical thought to it. It makes me laugh so much I never bothered. The single episode that Weinman says he almost sort of likes, "Brian Wallows and Peter's Swallows", is, I think, the very worst episode of the show because it's slow compared to the others.

I had seen and forgotten JIMMY CORRIGAN, and, boy, it sure does look actionable. There should be some settlement money for Ware in those DVD sales - unless that suit already happened quietly.

Why IS it that the funniest TV cartoons, FAMILY GUY and SOUTH PARK, aren't animated with any care? It's almost as if humor and good animation don't mix well on TV.

Thanks for the link to the Weinman blog - I bookmarked it. It's crammed with great entries about animation technical and personnel details. They remind me of the old MINDROT/ANIMANIA fanzines, which should be gathered up and reprinted.

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Dan P.
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Hello, my name is Dan P., and I also hate Family Guy. Thank you Mr. Weinman for putting all my thoughts about this show into one eloquent essay. Now I can print it and pass it around to my friends who all berate me for being the only guy who hasn't bought all the friggin' DVD sets.
[thumbsup]

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fishmorg3
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"Family Guy" is about as funny as the "Garfield" comic strip. Bravo, Mr. Weinman! [thumbsup]
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Matt Wilson
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I'll try and defend this greatly-written, despite poorly-designed, series.

#10. If Stewie is a ripoff of The Brain, then so is Lex Luthor, Mojo Jojo, Dr. Drakken, and the multitude of cartoon villains that have sprung up in the past 5 years. I had no idea the concept of "world-domination ambitions" was invented by Pinky and the Brain. I guess all those comic book artists and writers from the past seven decades must have travelled together into the future to steal the idea from them. I, like Amid Amidi, do not see any redeeming value in ANIMANIACS or the soul-less spinoffs spawned from it. So this just amuses me.

#9. It's funny that you categorize all the jokes in Family Guy but don't stop to think that every show has its own limited range of joke material. The Simpsons: 'Homer is dumb' joke, 'Burns is old' joke, 'Smithers is gay' joke, 'futile attempt to stay current with pop culture' joke (as evidenced in the new seasons). Or let's go back to Pinky and the Brain. Dare I say "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?" That joke only shows up in EVERY SINGLE episode.

#8. There is room in television for both character-based humor and situation-based humor. One is not necessarily better than the other... for example I think Ed Edd n Eddy, an extremely character-based show, is brilliant, but most people I know cannot stand it.

#7. I heavily disagree that the references in Family Guy have no context. I would dare even say it's "wrong" but noone likes someone who says that. Every reference I've seen in Family Guy had both relevency to the situation going on, AND they usually took a convention from the show or commercial referenced, and spun it, added a twist. I've seen no other show do that with their references. Just about the only parodies/references I've seen in Family Guy that had no new joke added were the Sound of Music parody in "Mr. Saturday Knight" and the That Girl parody in the episode where Peter becomes president of the toy company.

#6. What the heck is wrong with Seth MacFarlane's voice acting? There is simply noone else that could voice Brian, Peter, or Stewie. I would admit that Seth does not have too much range but the man DOES have talent, comparable to that of any other high-paid actor in FOX animated primetime. He has better delivery and timing than Dan Castanelleta these days, that's for sure.

#5. Duckman sucked. Talk about horribly predictable humor.

#4. I'm not sure what you're trying to argue here. Or why what you're arguing is a "bad" thing.

#3. Agree.

#2. Disagree. This is the most subjective of all the criteria, and it's not just "college-age" fans that would disagree either. Family Guy would, I think, be a much less funny show if it tried to obey all the sitcom rules and present more exposition than humor. I don't care if that would make it a more "solid" or "all-around" show. Family Guy isn't trying to please people who enjoy FRIENDS or Will & Grace.

#1. Resent indeed. The reason why Futurama didn't get revived was because its DVDs did not sell anywhere near as well as Family Guy's did. And Futurama got much longer airtime and promotion on Cartoon Network than Family Guy ever did. What does that tell you? That there's some conspiracy behind the scenes, or that people simply don't like Futurama as much as Family Guy? Whether you think Futurama deserves to come back or not, that's something you should be bringing up with 20th Century Fox Television, not Seth MacFarlane, who has no ill will towards Futurama, nor did his show affect it in any way.

There's more but I have to get going. I just find this argument tiring. Any argument about the animation is correct, yeah. But people who hate Family Guy's writing won't own up to it simply not being their cup of tea; instead they decide that because they don't like it, that the millions of people who bought the DVD, that wear the merchandise, that profess its love, must all be wrong and "need to open their eyes." That bothers me. Family Guy defies the conventions people try to apply to it, for good reason. I would rather watch stuff that does that, then watch something that fits into a nice little generic mold. That's why I have not paid a cent towards a Disney movie since Emperor's New Groove.

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Fooksie
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I like the Family Guy, and will continue to watch it.

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" Every move a picture! "
Buddy Love

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AMID
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Scott - The funny thing is I was recently talking to a friend who'd worked on FG and he expressed the exact same sentiment that you did - that of all the shows he'd ever worked on, FAMILY GUY was the most difficult he'd ever had to draw, because it physically pained him to draw characters so ugly and unappealing. If that's how the artist feels, imagine the poor audiences that have to watch it.
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bigshot
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Family Guy has "scriptatosis". That's the disease that shows get when there are so many writers, that they end up writing dialogue for no other reason than to prove how clever they are to the other writers. Every single one of the characters speak in the same voice... the voice of the writer. There is absolutely no attempt to give the characters a way of speaking that's unique to them. (Jaime's favorite TV show has oodles of examples of this sort of thing too...)

I heard that there were over 20 writers on each episode of Family Guy. Now if we could find out how many it takes to screw in a light bulb.

See ya
Steve

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tstevens
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I do remember chuckling a few times during (quite literally) the first two or three episodes, but overall I lost interest relatively fast (partly because of the humor and partly because of the design and mostly because I thought it wasn't very good).

This is one of those series that seems to polarize the viewing audience almost down the middle - you either hate it or love it.

Ironically Ed, Edd, and Eddy was mentioned earlier and I seem to find people react to it in about the same terms that people react to Family Guy - They either love it or hate it. I for one can't stand it.

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Jon
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I'll come out. I hate it too. The weird thing is that I really like some people who really like Family Guy.

Jaime's a thoughtful writer.

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babylove
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quote:
Every single one of the characters speak in the same voice... the voice of the writer. There is absolutely no attempt to give the characters a way of speaking that's unique to them. (Jaime's favorite TV show has oodles of examples of this sort of thing too...)
If you mean Animaniacs, I'll just note -- because I know it seems kinda odd to bash Family Guy for stuff that Animaniacs was accused of doing -- that I think that by the end of its run Animaniacs had pretty much gotten into the same thing, doing references without humor (they'd do a point-by-point replay of "Beauty and the Beast" and call that a parody because it had a joke or two somewhere in there) and writing every character the same. The first 65 episodes, no, I don't think they had those problems, but this probably isn't the place to get into an argument about that. Not again, anyway. [Smile] Just trying to pretend I'm being consistent here.

JJW

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Floyd Bishop
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quote:
Why IS it that the funniest TV cartoons, FAMILY GUY and SOUTH PARK, aren't animated with any care? It's almost as if humor and good animation don't mix well on TV.
I have to disagree with the above comment in regards to "South Park". It's not easy to make the show look that way. Lots of care goes into the character rigging and modeling and animation to make it look like it's being done with cut paper.

I forget the name of the episode, but there is one where the kids meet "alternate universe" versions of themselves. The crew went out of their way to capture all of the "errors" of split screen cinematography of the late 60's and 70's sitcoms. It was brilliant.

It may not be "full" animation, but lots of care goes into each episode. So much so that a comparison between "South Park" and almost any other animated show on television (with outsourced anims) is unfair.

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JDC
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I like family guy, even with its faults.. not too crazy about the new episodes coming out, but if I catch one and it makes me laugh, great.. if not.. no big deal, its just mindless humor.


I don't think I'll be watching American Dad. My standards are not that high, but not that low either. They could of atleast tried to make it look a little different from Family Guy... [Gary]

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quote:
I have to disagree with the above comment in regards to "South Park". It's not easy to make the show look that way. Lots of care goes into the character rigging and modeling and animation to make it look like it's being done with cut paper.
Yup. Bad choice of words on my part. It deliberately uses high tech to emulate the look of low tech, which requires some attention to detail. The crew knows what it's doing, as exhibited most obviously in eps like Good Times With Weapons.
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bigshot
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If they actually animated it using cut paper, maybe they could save all that effort and have time left over to make the visual aspect of the show something more than a basic geometry lesson.

Using CGI to emulate cut out animation is the cartoon equivalent of wood grain contact paper.

See ya
Steve

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Dolemite50
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Oh come on, that show has some great chuckles. I especially like the TV show parodies.
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Fooksie
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I came close to soiling myself laughing during an episode of Family Guy where the entire family gets involved in a knock down, drag out fight.
I will admit, that like the Simpsons the past few seasons, I really don't care about what happens to the characters, but they still make me laugh.
Unlike King of the Hill, which is drawn very simply, yet manages to convey that all of the characters do care about each other.

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Nipplenuts McGurk
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As someone who is a huge fan of Family Guy, and someone who works on the show - I'd like to address some of the negative comments.

- To Scott Shaw : You didn't undertand the style of the show, and things didn't work out. That's nothing to be ashamed of...even the most adaptable artists don't always "get" every project out there. Don't blame the show for your lack of understanding. The characters are extremely expressive. You can get really funny poses by minding the eyes - those big googley eyes can be used for great acting...and by using broad, extreme poses. Perhaps your acting and attempted gags just weren't as funny as you thought they were, or didn't mesh w/ the style. I put in plenty of gags and funny bits, and they make it into the show. So, I'm sorry your experience sucked, but be a bit more self reflective and not so bitter.

- To Amid, Steve, and the Cartoon Taliban: Your comments are meaningless since you have established yourself as closed minded cartoon fundimentalists. No, Family Guy isn't squash and stretch with eyeballs popping out and it doesn't have lush painted backgrounds. It doesn't need to be...that's not the type of show it is. Those things wouldn't make it better. The show's look and animation style is intentional, and works with the context and humor of the show. Rational artists understand that MANY kinds of animation can co-exist. I LIKE Ren & Stimpy...I also like Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Popeye...I also like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, Powerpuff Girls, Beavis & Butthead, and South Park....I love that all these shows have different looks, feels, and points of view. They all serve some entertainment purpose and aren't TRYING to be anything but what they are. They're not trying to impress the ghosts of animation masters. And that's fine.

I'd also like to say that writers aren't evil souless monsters...they're creative people too. Sometimes they're jackasses, sure...but so are some artists...that's human nature. As someone who works on Family Guy and enjoys it very much, I'll vouch for the entire crew - artists and writers...they're all awesome. The writers respect us, and I respect them. They come and thank us for making the episodes look great, or when we toss in a visual gag or a funny bit of animation, they love it and let us know. I would thank Seth for this, as he bridges the gap between the talent...he's an artist, writer, actor, and producer Say what you will about "evil scripts" and whatnot...but Family Guy is a creator driven show....not some corporate monstrosity...and even if you don't like Family Guy, as an artist - you have to respect that.

So there...from the inside...I love my job, I love drawing the characters, and I love the people I work with. You can't take that away from me.

AND...America loves Family Guy...they LOVE IT..and you can't take that away from them.

AND....to keep w/ the nature of this site....LOTS and LOTS of artists are employed right now because of Family Guy and American Dad...so there. [Smile]

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AMID
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quote:
AND...America loves Family Guy...they LOVE IT..and you can't take that away from them.
I'm sorry to inform you that American DOES NOT love Family Guy. The show's ratings on Fox were abysmal. That's why it was cancelled. Its ratings on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" are even lower than when the show was on Fox. But because cable serves a niche audience, these lower ratings are considered fine for Cartoon Network. The DVDs sold at best a couple million volumes, which is roughly equivalent to the viewership on "Adult Swim", but by network standards, a couple million viewers would be considered pathetic. Family Guy has never built an audience since its debut, and the facts show that it has actually lost viewers since its original slot on Fox. America quite clearly does not love Family Guy.
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Fooksie
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Wait...I have a question.
If Mr U. may speak for France, can't I as an American, speak for America?
In that case, America does indeed love the Family Guy.
[lamer]

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" Every move a picture! "
Buddy Love

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Marcus Moore
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Using CG for SOUTH PARK makes perfect sense. If you don't like the way the show is designed, that's one thing. The way the show looks now is basically the way it looked when it WAS being done with paper cut outs. However, the production process they've come up with allows them a lot more flexibiltiy within that design, and allows a consitant quality of animation on a relatively low budget.

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Scott Shaw!
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"To Scott Shaw : You didn't undertand the style of the show, and things didn't work out. That's nothing to be ashamed of...even the most adaptable artists don't always "get" every project out there. Don't blame the show for your lack of understanding. The characters are extremely expressive. You can get really funny poses by minding the eyes - those big googley eyes can be used for great acting...and by using broad, extreme poses. Perhaps your acting and attempted gags just weren't as funny as you thought they were, or didn't mesh w/ the style. I put in plenty of gags and funny bits, and they make it into the show. So, I'm sorry your experience sucked, but be a bit more self reflective and not so bitter."

Wow, is my life workin' out, or what?. After over a quarter century in the animation business, I'm receiving personal counseling and career advice over the Internet from a person who identifies himself as "Nipplenuts McGurk"!

(And I thought working on FAMILY GUY was humiliating!)

Seriously, I think you're making a LOT of invalid assumptions about me here, Nip, ol' nut. But since you're one who proclaims to "get it", I'm delighted to hear that you're on board FAMILY GUY and that it's giving many of your ilk paying work.

Just make it funny, please!

To quote my friend Jim MacQuarrie, here's an excellent analogy that explains many folks' perception (including mine) of the show:

"Family Guy reminds me of a kid I knew who would sit there and poke you with his finger, and after each poke would ask "is this bothering you?" If you told him no, he'd ask "then what will?"

"That's FAMILY GUY. "Are you offended yet? No? How about now? Now? What about this? I'm trying to offend you here, work with me!"

"The most offensive thing about it is that it ain't funny."

(Jim's not only a "family guy" himself, he's a smart guy, too!)

Aloha,

Scott!

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Matt Wilson
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Perhaps you could tell me then, WHY it is back. FOX's only concern is money and ratings. If you consider the DVD sales to be "small" (even though it was the #1 selling DVD series set in 2003 and possibly 2004 as well; beating THE SIMPSONS), if you consider the ratings on Cartoon Network to be "small" (even though it doubled its ratings six months after it debuted, pushed Cartoon Network ahead of Jay Leno and Dave Letterman as #1 18-34 block and timeslot, and on FOX against the Olympics, beat out CBS and ABC's competition in the ratings), if you say that "noone in America" loves Family Guy, then tell me, why 35 episodes of it are being produced, why Family Guy apparel and merchandise is selling ridiculously crazy, why FOX gave Seth a second television series? What is the logic?
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Coffee Cat
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I just don't see the complaints as being specifically about Family Guy. Alot of TV animation is poor, or very strict. Simpsons when from crude and a bit more flexible to very very specific and rigid character designs. I wrote a lot about Shrek 2's spoof-crutch, but only against Family Guy does that criticism become valid, apparently. Family Guy's ugly sytle is just as intentional as South Park's cut out style. Family Guy's humor focuses on the writing and "clever"ness - but I think a lot of "adult" shows feel that way as well.

I guess I agree with some of the crit - i just don't understand the target. Family Guy is great for what it is.

I also do think that its pop-culture references do work when they are placed in relevent situations and involve twists. When they don't, they're as eye rolling as the 90% of Shrek 2's script that pointlessly spoofed pop culture - or the episodes of Futurama that were mere spoofs.

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eboles
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I also took a dislike to this show. A lot of it was that the humour and stylings of Family Guy seemed derivative. However I can see that a lot of energy has gone into the show, even if it's just writers showing off to each other. That's a good thing. But ultimately I find the characters just so unapealling and unbearable, that I can't really watch it. The fat dumb father and son characters are competely unendearing and make me cringe. The mother and daughter characters are like male-written cyphers, owing more than a little to previous tv females.

I'm not going to attempt to prove at any great length that the show is inferior, since I imagine that any fan reading my arguements would think "but that's what makes it great". In short, I don't think Family guy is worth hating... or watching. There are so many better things to do.

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Trondheimfan
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Well, I think Family Guy is butt ugly, but I also think it's very funny.
A lot of the comments being made against it here, are valid, but somehow, I still like it. I wouldn't really want to work on it though, but I think it's fun to watch.

A friend of mine bought the DVD sets. There was audio commentary on that episode, when kids in Meg's high school are all licking toads. In that one song and dance in sequence, Peter is dancing on a table, and Seth McFarlane pointed out this MAJOR glitch in the animation, which makes Peter appear to be slowly shrinking. How'd that happen?

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Tekenen is schrijven en spreken tegelijk.

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scaredofbees
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Wow, this is developing into quite a flamewar.

I think we can all agree that the design and animation aren't the best, while the humor and writing are a matter of preference.

Bottom line:

You're not a lowbrow idiot if you enjoy the show, nor are you culturally elite for disliking it.

Love it or hate it, FG has amassed a loyal following (be it a nich audience, whatever, people still tune in and buy the DVDs), and it's DVD sales where high enough that someone at FOX thought to give it another try.

I for one am always pleased to see animation made specifically for an adult american audience. We've all heard and made the complaint that the U.S. views animation as a child's medium. FG is made for adults and while crude at times, makes a decent argument that animation can be marketed to an adult audience.

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Dickie Crickitts
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You know I watched about 5 seconds of the first episode and turned it off because its SO f-ugly.

Besides,if I wanted blue collar humor I'd watch Roseanne...but wait, I hate that too.

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Eric Hedman
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The Family Guy had a bad start, but hit its stride later. I enjoyed it, most of it when it started focusing on Stewie and Brian more. Especially when they took their road trip.
Every series has hit or miss episodes.
But I think its also a matter of taste.
I do prefer a wider amount of weirdness than some of my animator friends, and anytime you can rope in Waylon Jennings to do a voice over during a freeze frame....well that good for me. [Smile]

It isn't the greatest....but it has been entertaining. Preference against something need not be expressed as hate. Hate lives inside the hater. Everytime you find yourself hating something you should be obliged, as an artist, to redouble your efforts to create something better.

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http://www.radiodismuke.com
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http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chilispoon/128/80/39

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Dolemite50
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quote:
If Mr U. may speak for France, can't I as an American, speak for America?
[funny]
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AMID
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Matt Wilson - None of your statements counter any of the points that I made: that FAMILY GUY has lost viewership since its debut and that it's core audience is only a couple million people (which is dismal by network standards). Why is it back? Fox likely saw an opportunity to make a few more bucks off of an extremely rabid (yet limited) fanbase.
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Dickie Crickitts
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quote:
Hate lives inside the hater.
yes it does. it lives and breathes in my artistic being. I see bad artwork and I hate it with every fiber. It just makes me cringe. I can't help it.
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Coffee Cat
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I always thought Stewie's change in character were due to viewer compliants - kind of like how the theme songs "f-ing cry" turned into "laugh and cry." I thought it odd that it was cited as a weakness of the show... it seemed to me to be something out of MacFarlanes control. Am I wrong here?

Many animation shows on TV are ugly. I can't exactly call Matt Groenings character designs appealing either.... pretty ugly, and not just the overbites... but it works, and it grows on you. He also is good at strong siloettes, which I think Family Guy has for the most part as well, among the key cast anyway. Ugly, yes... but the show admittedly (MacFarlaine on the DVDs) was about funny dialog. It was hit or miss - but hit an awful lot. My wife took a while to warm to it and now loves it - while complaining all the time about how ugly Stewie (her favorite character) is.

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Eric Hedman
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Stewie and Arnold have the same head shape, don't they? Arnold the cartoon, not Ahhnold the Gubernator...although he is kinda like a cartoon too.

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Toonimator
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quote:
...an extremely rabid (yet limited) fanbase.
Kinda like Ren & Stimpy, wouldn't you agree? [tipsy]

Coffee, according to Seth on the DVDs, the line was ALWAYS "laugh and cry"... but most people heard it as "f-in cry". Why would he lie? I mean, he sang the line in question, after all. And there's no reason to be nice or PC on a DVD commentary, just listen to Kevin Smith on the Clerks Animated Series set.

Ugly as it was, stiff & unappealing as the designs were, the dialogue was usually pretty funny, and it had plenty of visual gags, too. I still crack up every time I see that lady slip in Brian's pee-puddle, even though that's a tired old joke. They played it well, making you wait for it. But when Peter hurts his leg and sits on the ground rocking back & forth for a minute, twice in one epsiode, that gets annoying.

The humor may've been mostly cheap, but they usually plussed it in some way. The out-of-left-field gags, like the Kool-Aid Man, Jewish Optimus Prime, or Stewie's sexy parties all really added to the enjoyment of the show.

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Nipplenuts McGurk
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Amid, you're delusional and wrong - but that's to be expected when your animation experience is limited to hanging out with the cartoon taliban, and not real people.

I'll say it again, because it is true. America loves Family Guy. Your point about abysmal ratings on Fox is moot. The show was moved around so much that the public never knew when or if it was on. The core fans were always with it, though. After it was cancelled due to poor scheduling, and Cartoon Network picked it up - people finally knew where to watch it, and it picked up new fans as well...the ratings grew and grew until it was breaking records and became Adult Swim's top rated show. The DVDs sold millions, and awareness of the show in its death kept building. Family Guy has now become well known, well loved, and when these new episodes come out, people will be going crazy over it.

Fox would NOT renew an expensive prime time animated show after a 3 year hiatus for a "niche audience" ..they're a big network and are out to make a profit. They see the built in audience Family Guy now has and the mistake they made in cancelling it. This is an unprecedented moment in television history, and AT LEAST 35 new episodes are coming to Fox and Cartoon Network next year.

You can cry about it, you can tell us all the show sucks........but America loves the Griffins, and that's the truth. You don't have to like them...you can't please everyone...but don't lie.

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bigshot
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quote:
Using CG for SOUTH PARK makes perfect sense. If you don't like the way the show is designed, that's one thing. The way the show looks now is basically the way it looked when it WAS being done with paper cut outs. However, the production process they've come up with allows them a lot more flexibiltiy within that design, and allows a consitant quality of animation on a relatively low budget.
I wasn't speaking about practicality. I'm sure it makes perfect business sense. I was speaking about remaining true to your medium. Wood grain contact paper is a lot cheaper than plywood laminate too, but it's still tacky to wallpaper your den in it.

See ya
Steve

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Tobias A. Wolf
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I was always disappointed in the basic premise of the show personally. Some of the gags are off the Richter scale funny and well timed, but I always felt like I was taking in a regurgitated "golden era" Simpsons episode on some basic level. And that I'd just experienced some form of a cherry flavored Groundhog Day.
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