Newest Review: ... in a lot of episodes, Tom Hanks and James Woods who turns out to be a nasty piece of work (in Family Guy, not real life of course) So th... more
Member Name: Terry Mcintyre
Date: 23/11/01, updated on 23/11/01 (286 review reads)
Advantages: humour, spoofs, Stewie
Disadvantages: bit unoriginal
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and if that’s true then Family Guy must really be doing some serious kissing up to The Simpsons. The show is set around a family, the Griffins, in an unknown American town (Quahog in Long Island, near New York) and the father is a complete oaf. Named Peter (voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane) he has a nagging wife Lois (Alex Borstein), idiot son Chris (Seth Green from Buffy and Austin Powers), whiney teenage daughter Meg (Mila Kunis) and a baby Stewie (MacFarlane again). Peter is a near rip-off of Homer- big, fat, stupid, love of beer, love of T.V, constantly neglects his family and oh he wears a white shirt.
This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad show or a complete Simpsons rip-off in fact it’s hilarious and differs in many ways. The animation is big, bold and colourful, the family dog, Brian, talks (MacFarlane yet again-someone give him a packet of Lockets) and always tries to help Peter out of his problems while behaving like a kind of Noel Coward in fur in a bizarre twist on the typical sitcom best friend. Meanwhile Stewie the baby is like a mad scientist from the 1940’s, always trying to kill Lois and gain world domination with a series of gadgets. The humour is also much more freeform and, well, cartoon-like. There are also plenty of parodies and spoofs (an area in which The Simpsons itself has been lacking recently I think) as well as a quick flashback whenever an incident from the past is mentioned (which can get a bit irritating).
Additional characters include Peter’s best friends Cleveland (Mike Henry), a fugitive from a 1970’s cop show, Quagmire (MacFarlane again), big chinned lothario with a thing for Lois, Joe (Patrick Warburton who played Seinfeld’s David Puddy), a wheelchair bound goodie two shoes neighbour and Adam West (yes TV’s Batman himself) as paranoid Mayor Adam West. Plots get stranger as the series g
oes on and have already included Peter going back to school (in a marvellous parody of teen movies) to stop a toad licking craze, a neighbourhood war breaking out when a joint prize goes missing. Peter has stood in for the Grim Reaper, built a bar in his basement, put the family on 24 hour TV, knocked out the towns TV Ariel and rebuilt Quahog in his own image after a nuclear attack (which includes a marvellous Dallas style ‘it was all a dream’ ending).
My favourite bits have included Stewie convinced on his 1st birthday that the doctor is going to come and put him back into the womb, Peter’s parade float based on Who’s the Boss (U.S version of The Upper Hand), Spiderman breaking Peter’s fall from a window with a web (‘everybody gets one’). A parody of the ending of The Breakfast Club, Peter’s drug experience (a real person dressed as Peter, wearing a mask), Brian and Stewie’s musical, Meg parodying Daffy Duck with a flipped over beak (‘this means war’) and Peter hitting the Road Runner with his car. There are of course too many to mention- it’s that sort of show.
Okay so Family Guy may not be the most original cartoon series to cross the pond but it’s certainly one of the funniest and most enjoyable. You don’t need a talking dog to tell you that (actually he dictated most of it).