Recently, Family Guy won some stupid ‘Battle of the Animations’ on Fox8. The unbelievability of this win is that The Simpsons were also involved. Although, like anything, the really classic episodes of The Simpsons come from early in their history, their sheer consistency over 20 years surely can’t be beaten. Family Guy has stretched their meaningless gags over 5 series. Boring.

Enough said.

Enough said.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of person who hates things that everybody likes just for the sake of it. I enjoy The Mighty Boosh, which has had a surge in popularity over the last 18 months, and other hugely popular comedies like Flight of the Conchords. South Park is my favourite animation of all time. Personally, the most useful way to frame my argument would be through a comparison between the two. But I love South Park, and therefore can’t use them as a reference point without looking like a giant douche (I obviously agree with the criticism of FG in the SP episodes ‘Cartoon Wars I and II’).

And it is not that I have never laughed at Family Guy’s material (most notably the inflatable arm flailing tube men, priceless). But, like Kath and Kim, the style wears thin rapidly. And Peter Griffin is a fucking menace. He is offensive and crude without purpose. His attitude towards Meg drives me insane. Whatever the Star Wars parody movie thing they did was just a re-hash of their ‘obscure’ material. Sure, it’s fun to throw the quotes around, but get the fuck over it. It’s obscure and far from linear – leave that to sketch comedy (which I also, hate).

The funny thing is, I don’t mind American Dad! (Unrelated Side: The only notable thing that Shit At the Disco ever did was drop their ridiculously placed exclamation mark). I think it’s far superior to Family Guy. Stan Smith, head of the family and CIA agent, provides a solid basis for more substantial material – “Francine, you be very careful out there today, we’re at terror alert orange! Which means something might go down somewhere in some way at some point in time”. There also seems to be more humanity in the Smith family. I can’t put my finger on exactly why this is. The personalities in the Griffin family are so gag-based they are extremely difficult to relate to. Maybe that’s the point. I can’t think of a bunch of characters I’ve ever disliked more.

I guess the thing that really pisses me off is the band wagon factor. This isn’t just isolated to comedy – music, film, literature, fashion – trends are easy for the imagination-less to cling on to in a desperate attempt to fit in. There are obviously sociocultural issues at stake here I refuse to bore you with. There are many great comedies that people don’t give the time of day unless someone cool likes it. (My current favourite is Father Ted, Graham Linehan’s classic. Who thought three Catholic Priests on an island could be so hilarious?)

I don’t want my hatred of the show to be confused with disrespect. No one becomes successful over night, and the creators of Family Guy are obviously passionate about what they do and hey, killjoy, they make people laugh. But anybody can write a Family Guy gag. That’s all it is, a series of unrelated popular cultural gags held together simply by the setting in which they all take place. Go ahead, accuse me of jealousy. You’re right, I am unbelievably jealous. I’d give anything to make a living writing successful comedy. Maybe what really pisses me off is the fact that they beat me to it.

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