Family Guy has a convoluted history. Not only in its relationship with Fox, but in the ups and downs of its comedic aptitude. There are episodes and stories that were hilarious, and moments that made you smile in fond remembrance... and then there were shitty episodes that you watched because it was the only thing on at two in the morning, and the half a bottle of Johnny Walker sitting in front of you hadn't been as an effective a sleeping aid as you'd hoped. But now... well, in season 8 we had a few worthwhile episodes, some that actually touched a core in a few characters and showed development. But the only characters we saw this in were Brian (which mostly consisted of him repeatedly getting kicked into the gutter), Stewie (he still has some sociopathic qualities), and, oddly enough, Quagmire (well, he doesn't seem to be dateraping anyone anymore). Lois is simply more of a prejudicial Bitch In Sheeps Clothing than before, Peter is your standard idiot Abusive Parent who is the framing device for toilet humor and fucked-over ideology, Chris is a ditzy background character whose Cloud Cuckoo Lander moments are entertaining but ultimately shortlived and overshadowed by his parents, and Meg is... well, a prop. (She may have Took A Level In Badass in prison, but reverted to being the show's doormat and Chew Toy pretty fucking quick.) There has stopped being any real evolution in the characters long ago, and most of the humor now consists of your standard recycling of gags, resorting to caricature-esque diatribes on flamewar-worthy issues to try to spike up interest or controversy, and some meek-minded satire that falls flat on its face. The show just repeats back in on itself in a depressing, half-assed cycle, each revolution showcasing how more pathetic the situation and characters have all become. The only good episodes are ones centered on Stewie and Brian ("The road to..." anyone?), not because they're great or lovable characters (although personally I'm very fond of Stewie) but because they're the only ones with a modicum of depth and interactive value. If I want to watch a good Macfarlane cartoon, I watch American Dad. It may have started out as a knockoff, but it is has quickly left its original inspiration dying, painfully and slowly, in the dust.
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