I could have had this post focus on Seth McFarlane’s cartoons, and how they’re the current low point in animation this decade. I could do that, but I won’t. Kyle Evans already did too good a job discussing this in his article “The ‘Art’ of Seth McFarlane“.
What I’m going to be talking about is McFarlane’s debut show Family Guy, known all around North America as the show that challenged, then defeated, The Simpsons.1 While I have watched a great deal of the show [essentially the last eight seasons] I have decided not to begin this upcoming tenth season. What follows is my primary reason for giving up on the show.
I’ve run out of patience.
I like to consider myself a fairly patient guy, but there’s a point where I have to change the channel.2 Take, for example, the following music video featuring American country music artist Conway Twitty:
For a while a running gag was the characters on the show realizing they needed filler and turning to the audience and saying “Ladies and gentlemen… Mr. Conway Twitty.” The entire clip above was shown during an episode in the seventh season.3 The entire music video.
As far as American television goes, programs average twenty minutes of air time with ten minutes of commercials interspersed. That video of Twitty performing was around three minutes. That’s more than a tenth of the show.
Here’s a running joke that was [thankfully?] more popular than Twitty’s performances.
That’s 18 seconds of decent, fluid animation, and 26 seconds of Peter Griffin holding his knee in pain. Don’t get me wrong, this was pretty funny the first time. Take that same joke and repeat it over the course of four or five other episodes, and it’s significantly less funny.
I don’t even mind the cutaway gags that they pull every one to two minutes, the 80’s references obviously directed at those a generation before mine, or [to a point] the extremely crude humour. What I do mind is being expected to sit through David Bowie & Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Street,” three minutes of time I thought I’d be spending watching an animated cartoon.4
And actually, maybe their humour does offend me sometimes:
I just don’t think that’s funny.
1. It’s a viewpoint many hold, but not one that I personally espouse.
2. Or close the tab that has Hulu in it, whatever.
3. Season 7, Episode 9, “The Juice is Loose.” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Juice_Is_Loose]
4. Season 9, Episode 17, “Foreign Affairs.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Affairs_(Family_Guy)