Over the past three or so weeks, I’ve watched every episode of Family Guy (wiki) that’s aired up to this point (all of seasons 1-7 and season 8 up through April in Quahog). That’s a total of 142 23-minute-long episodes. That’s more than fifty-four hours of Family Guy—time I can never get back.
Was it worth it? Not really, but I did it for the sake of completion. (I started watching it out of boredom and was forced to finish because I’m obsessive about the strangest things.) Was it funny? I can count on one hand how many times it was actually funny. So basically, no, it wasn’t. It was always insulting and at some time or other sexist, rape apologist, racist, ableist, misogynist, anti-Semitic, and heterosexist—and those are just the words I can think off the top of my head.
I’d almost say that each episode deserves its own deconstruction, but then I realised that I’d have to actually care about the series to do that 142 times. (I can’t even do it thirteen times for CANAAN, as you may have noticed.) Family Guy relies heavily on allusion and cutaway gags. I can deal with the former as long as I know enough about the subject matter which is being alluded to (Ginsberg’s Howl is an example of something with allusions in every line that I just can’t stand because I don’t get the allusions and without that, I can’t understand the poem—but that rant is for another time), but the latter I can do without all together. I agree with other critics who say that the show relies too heavily on cutaways to the detriment of plot-driven humor.
Also, if you want to learn everything you never wanted to know about the show, just hit up the unofficial wiki or Freakin’ Sweet News; there’s really no need for someone like me, who only watched the series recently and who didn’t even like it, to put that much effort into taking each episode apart piece by piece. I would be interested, however, to read someone else’s deconstruction if they have the time and the will. It’d be like what Vampirely‘s done for the Twilight series. (Trust me, read her comments before you even think about reading the books for yourselves. If you’ve already read the books, just get over to her website and cleanse your mind.) That said, I have no desire to address each Family Guy episode on its own.
I’m just going to go with: Peter is a total jackass who has absolutely no redeeming qualities—if someone else can find any, let me know. Lois is okay sometimes, but she doesn’t really make an effort to help Peter change for the better, and she doesn’t ever leave him. They profess to love each other, and she actually may (though I can’t for the life of me see why), but I can’t think of one instance in which his “love” for her actually resembles real love or respect. Chris is an idiot, but he’s generally a nice guy (with a horrible father-figure); Meg is neglected, downtrodden, and otherwise abused in every episode. Brian drinks too much and, while his ideas are pretty sane, he still considers Peter his best friend, which makes him just a tad dumber in my book. Stewie, the baby, is naturally homicidal after all this dysfunction and it makes me want him to actually succeed in killing one (or more) of his family members just so that the viewing public will finally be put out of its misery.
Too bad it had(/has) such high ratings. I think Fox did the right thing by canceling the show after the third season in 2002. (It was renewed in 2005 after Fox noticed it had strong syndication and DVD sales.) Ugh; I need to metaphorically wash my mouth out with something… I don’t know… something good. Would I recommend the series to anyone? No, I wouldn’t. It’s stupid humor that’s more stupid than humorous. It teaches kids the wrong things about how to treat women (and everyone else who isn’t a cisgendered white man), and it doesn’t help that frat boys watch it either—they’re learning that they can be jackasses and still have a hot wife who never leaves them even though they’re unattractive and do nothing to help around the house, much less respect her or treat her as they would like to be treated. And did I mention that the humor is just really stupid? Because it is.