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Family Guy

Family Guy is an animated comedy about the dysfunctional Griffin family. Head of the house is lazy drunk Peter, married to Lois, with dim son Chris, unattractive daughter Meg, evil genius baby Stewie and talking dog Brian. FOX 1999-???

Seasons

Season Overview #Episodes Score Viewer
score
Season 1 1999 7 59 -
Season 6 2007-08 12 49 90
Season 7 2008-09 16 42 16
Season 8 2009-10 21 52 30
Season 9 2010-11 18 46 52
Season 10 2011-12 23 50 52
Season 11 2012-13 22 48 50

Top episodes

Season
» Episode
Episode Overview Score Viewer score
Season 1
» Episode 2
I Never Met The Dead Man Peter takes a break from watching TV to...
Peter takes a break from watching TV to teach Meg how to drive. Unfortunately his useless teaching doesn’t help her and on the way home from her test he crashes into Quahog’s cable TV transmitter. Meg agrees to take the blame while Peter realises he is addicted to TV and goes through withdrawal. Meanwhile Stewie tries to change the weather in order to destroy all broccoli. When Stewie creates a great storm, Meg accidentally crashes into Peter and William Shatner. While convalescing Peter is forced to watch nothing but TV.
70 -
Season 9
» Episode 19
It's a Trap During a blackout Peter tells the family the...
During a blackout Peter tells the family the story of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. All the characters of Family Guy reprise their roles in the Star Wars universe and are joined by Joe (Jabba the Hut), Roger and Klaus from American Dad (Moff Jerjerrod and Admiral Ackbar) and Tim and Rallo from The Cleveland Show (Wicket the Ewok and Nien Numb). An hour long episode.
70 -
Season 8
» Episode 20
Something, Something, Dark Side During a blackout Peter tells the family the...
During a blackout Peter tells the family the story of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. All the characters of Family Guy reprise their roles in the Star Wars universe and are joined by Carl (Yoda) from the video shop, Joe (as a probe droid), Carter (The Emperor), Mort (Lando Calrissian) and the Chicken (Boba Fett). An hour long episode.
68 -
Season 7
» Episode 14
We Love You Conrad Brian’s ex Jillian is getting married and he...
Brian’s ex Jillian is getting married and he is jealous of her fiancée. Feeling inadequate he gets drunk but ends up hooking up with Lauren Conrad of The Hills fame. He is initially ashamed to be with another dumb blonde but soon discovers she is smarter than he is. He realises he wants Jillian back and rushes to her wedding to intervene.
67 -
Season 1
» Episode 1
Death Has A Shadow Lois Griffin asks her husband Peter not to...
Lois Griffin asks her husband Peter not to get drunk at a bachelor party but he does. It ends up costing him his job and he doesn’t want her to know. So he signs on for welfare and mistakenly receives cheques worth $150,000 a week. Brian the dog talks Peter into giving the money back and Peter is arrested when he crashes a blimp into the Super Bowl. Meanwhile patricidal baby Stewie has been trying to kill Lois in order to get his mind control device back. Once in court Peter is sentenced to two years in prison but Stewie uses the device to change the judge’s mind.
67 -

 Credit FOX

NOW SHOWING

USA TV: FOX
UK TV: FX UK

ORIGINS

Seth MacFarlane studied animation at the Rhode Island School of design and in the mid-90s he created his thesis film The Life of Larry. The film got the attention of Hanna-Barbera and further development of the idea led to the creation of an intellectual dog called Steve to join Larry. This was the inspiration for what would turn into Peter and Brian and in 1998 MacFarlane pitched Family Guy to FOX.

CONTENT

The show debuted after the 1999 Super Bowl to an audience of twenty two million but then settled down to around twelve million regular viewers on Sundays. The next two seasons saw the show moved into very tough timeslots opposite shows like Frasier, Friends, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Survivor. FOX frequently moved the show around its schedule and almost cancelled it after season two. In May 2002 the show was cancelled.

Reruns of the show began to air on Adult Swim and gain solid ratings. The DVDs then went on the market and sold very well. Millions of copies were shifted and FOX eventually
re-commissioned Family Guy. The first new episode appeared on May 1st 2005.

Upon its return the show had changed. The first three seasons lent clearly on the sit com formula established for decades on US television. One or more of the Griffins would go through a crisis or change in their lives; they would learn a lesson and then return to normal. Family Guy often took an odd slant on this formula, particularly with its risqué content and cutaway gags. However for three seasons the show felt very much like an alternative Simpsons where the family's love for one another would always triumph and pull them back together.

Once season four began that rule was lost, forgotten or marginalized depending on your analysis. Having risen from the dead, so to speak, the show's producers perhaps felt that they should steer toward the riskier material that had got them complaints as early as the first episode.

So as the seasons progressed the show increasingly indulged in violence, graphic sexual jokes, cruelty, bullying, pedophilia, rape and the mocking of the handicapped. It still amazes me that there haven't been more complaints about the offensive nature of Family Guy's content.

THETVCRITIC

Shock value will always count for something though and it is the degradation of the characters and any sense that stories, logic or continuity matter that has bothered me more. Though to be fair I have had many moments of feeling disgusted by the show. I have never seen another show which offends and celebrates horrible things for so little gain.

I began watching Family Guy in 2002 around the time of its cancellation. It had just begun to gain cult status in the UK and several of my friends were talking about it. It seemed then like it was a natural exaggeration of The Simpsons formula and aimed to bend reality even further to make its jokes. I enjoyed the first three seasons without ever thinking that it had reached the levels which The Simpsons did. I was pleased to hear that it had been renewed but was disappointed by season four. I slowly began to realize that something had changed permanently in the show's construction. The disconnection from both proper storytelling and morality came slowly but steadily.

I do intend to go back and review season's two through five. I seem to be in a minority who can see clearly what Family Guy was and what it has become. I feel a responsibility to keep chronicling the show's sins and respond to those who argue that the show hasn't changed or isn't offensive. The show is still capable of producing good episodes and jokes which makes the job easier.

LEGACY

I suspect that Family Guy's influence on other television shows is greater than we may ever know. Scrubs appeared in 2001 with the same cutaway gags that Family Guy was employing with such frequency. Shows like Arrested Development (2003) and 30 Rock (2006) built on this legacy. By 2011 the idea that a statement can be immediately contradicted or embellished with the use of a clip has become a commonplace technique amongst the majority of single camera comedies.

I also believe that Family Guy has contributed to a slackening of the formula which governed sit coms for decades. So many of the comedies debuting in the 2000s seemed to misunderstand the need to provide a satisfying conclusion to their stories or a proper morality to guide the actions of their characters.

December 2011