Posted by: anniewilson | July 11, 2008

Family Guy and the old person who writes it?

Family Guy really is a good show. It’s amazing to think that the guys who started it were so young. They either had some people my age helping them or they have experienced a LOT over their short years.

I was watching it with a couple of mid 20’s kids last night and although they enjoyed the show, they were so young that they didn’t know who Adam West was. Family Guy has a lot of references to cultural pop icons from over the past 6 or 7 decades. I don’t know how such young people do it.

Kids are watching that show even though they don’t even GET a huge part of it. They just don’t laugh when the show made fun of the guy who played Ralph Malph on Happy Days. These kids didn’t know who Donny Most was at all. Those 2 aren’t much younger than the kids who created that show so that’s why I find it so interesting that the creators are even aware of some of the stuff they mock.

They also found an interesting way to espouse their political views on the show. They do what so many of the good animated shows do…they create characters who can say things that no actor could ever say. Like South Park’s Cartman calling Kyle a “Jew”, these characters are all able to send messages that would kill the career of any real person who might speak the lines that animated characters speak. It’s sort of sad, I remember when real people could say that stuff and it was called “edgy”. Now it’s considered politically incorrect and no one dare push that particular envelope anymore.

Until, that is, the relatively recent explosion of cartoons created for adults. These shows truly are for adults, I wouldn’t let children watch them. But, that being said, they really are worth watching…for it is only on these cartoons that we will find any humor that hasn’t been done a thousand times since 1952. Not since All in the Family have any characters been allowed to speak with such disdain for certain people, policies and cultural entities of all sorts.

This is going to sound pretty corny but I’m going to say it anyway. (I just realized that I’ve used the word “corny” two days in a row. That doesn’t happen very often.) These cartoons actually give me hope for the future. I was beginning to seriously worry about the world and the ability of our children to be as irreverent as was the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1976. The 70’s may have been tacky, but that’s only because we felt the freedom to be tacky. This decade feels like a rather conservative decade so far as personal appearance is concerned. You may be allowed to go out in public with nothing but a pastie on one boob…but it had better be part of a very expensive ensemble. Certain rather unimportant values seem to be rather strictly enforced and before cable TV came along, the enforcers were few and powerful.

The fact that Seth MacFarlane even has the ability to conceive of the things he delivers consistently is a good sign. That means that there are still young people who aren’t as conformist as are the majority of the sheeple out there. And that MacFarlane and those like him can find platforms from which to tickle our funny bones in very thought provoking ways is a testament to cable TV. I was about ready to hide my books in the attic when these guys found a way around Bradbury’s politically correct firemen.

As the mere existence of such programming bodes well for creativity, the fact that young people are so riveted to them is another positive thing. If there HAS to be TV, let it be TV that makes young people think and question authority. Questioning authority isn’t anything terribly radical in this country, we were founded by a bunch of rabble who did just that. Love children didn’t invent anything new, they just reintroduced the nation to the idea of not respecting authority simply for the sake of tradition.

Whoda thunk it? Television might not turn out to be such a bad thing after all. I think the Internet helps a bit as well because of the fact that we can type a few words into a computer and read the thoughts of people who think the same things that we think. We are becoming far too sophisticated to be controlled en mass by a few networks and a newspaper. Like the Gutenberg press, the Internet launched the spread of information sharing to levels never dreamed of just 25 short years ago. Back when Mathew Broderick played tic-tac-do with Joshua, computers took up entire rooms. How could we have known that they would become as common as toasters?

I pretty much stopped watching network TV sometime during MASH. When Alan Alda began directing the show, it began to preach to us in an extremely condescending and obvious manner. If Seth MacFarlane is preaching to me, he’s doing it in a very smart way. He’s doing it through provocative humor. Alda could never have done that, he is far too stalwart in his views. He didn’t provoke a thought, he shoved his own personal views down our throats. After MASH, TV just got worse. Until Seinfeld I never watched more than 5 minutes of anything else the networks have tossed at me. I had resigned myself to spending the rest of my television viewing days watching The History Channel, old movies and Dick Van Dyke reruns. Then, I found The Family Guy.

Macfarlane and his writing staff are doing a great job doing whatever it is they do. I maintain there has to be an old geezer in the group somewhere although I’ve never seen or heard of one.

OK, I need to publish this thing. My computer is being an asshole. I’ll be back soon.

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Responses

  1. Family guy rules…. Good post!

  2. Funny. I hate Family Guy. And yes. It seems to me that an old degenerate , probably a pathetic addict who hasnt been laid in a good long time writes the show. Either that or young people who look up to the degenerate for whatever reason. I dont think its funny at all. It all seems like “old news” to me and I imagine the writers of it are pretty unaware human beings on any level that matters. Obviously they “think” they are clever but I find myself predicting the jokes and it all seems like a dullards paradise to me. Im a songwriter and do find the lyrics and melodies good from time to time…but from my point of view…everything else sucks pretty damn bad. I watched it a few times but now I run to shut it off whenever it comes on hoping it will be cancelled.

  3. LOL do you really have that sad of a life that you can not laugh at the funniest show in the history of television. Oh, and I am not nor do i look up to your father.

  4. You misunderstood. I LOVE Family Guy. I named my cat Stewie. Why would you think that I don’t like it?

    😦


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