Reviews Comments: Why "Seahorse Seashell Party" Annoyed Me

Why "Seahorse Seashell Party" Annoyed Me
What I have learned over the years is that Family Guy is much easier to watch if you remember that it is a cartoon and that none of its characters are real. That's not to say I haven't been offended at times; Family Guy's portrayal of religion and the Deep South in particular have been truly offensive. But they don't hold a candle to the most recent episode, Seahorse Seashell Party.

In this episode, Meg finally forces Peter and Lois to see what horrible parents they are; she manages to reduce both to tears. While I will admit that seeing Meg call Lois a whore (she has a point) and pointing out that if there was anyone in the world who cared, Peter would be in jail for the way he treats her was immensely satisfying, the ending sort of soured it for me.

Following Meg's verbal beatdown of her parents (she did it to Chris too, but it doesn't seem to have made a difference), Lois, Chris and Peter all start viciously laying into each other. Eventually, Meg and Brian are left alone in the living room and they start to talk, and Meg comes to the realization that the family needs her as a target for abuse in order to function.

Meg is a bastion of sanity in the insane asylum that is the Griffin household. She is also, as Brian rightly pointed out, the strongest, most compassionate member of her family. Meg is the only Griffin capable of functioning properly without am emotional punching bag. Unfortunately, her Extreme Doormat tendencies win out over the badass level she gained in this episode, and she goes upstairs to tell her family that she's realized that it's okay to be a punching bag and deliberately invoke Status Quo Is God.

The episode ends with a group hug and a sense of everything being hunky-dory, but given that this is Family Guy and Status Quo Is God, we can be sure that everyone will have forgotten about this by next episode and the abuse will be back on as though it never stopped. Peter will be back to shoving Meg's face into his butt so he can fart on her, Lois will be back to dropping hints that Meg should go kill herself, and Chris will be back to stealing her diary and calling his sister a fatass.

Family Guy is only a good show if you don't give a damn about any of its characters. If you do, you're out of luck.


It's a comedy show meant to be offensive. People who are constantly whining about it don't seem to get this though. If you'll be easily offended then don't watch it. This wasn't adressed to you by the way.

And I don't care about the characters at all. I enjoy laughing at their stupidity and misery.
comment #10461 kay4today 3rd Oct 11
So it's only a good show if you watch it the way the creators intended for you to watch it?
comment #10462 eveil 3rd Oct 11
Meg is a bastion of sanity in the insane asylum that is the Griffin household.

Wasn't she the one who became dangerously obsessed over Brian, ripped her teeth out to intimidate Lois, kills cats to watch they're dying expression and overall shows that you gotta watch out for the quiet ones? there's a difference between being the strongest and most compassionate and being sane. In fact that's her negative thing, Peter is retarded, Lois is a bitch, Brian is a snob, Stewe has the mind of a super genius and the morality of well, a baby (burning his ex and the guy she left him for alive, throwing kids who annoy him in a secret hole, etc.) and Chris tents to always go for the worst result in new situations (when he was popular, trying to be an adult, etc.), Meg is the self centered teen girl and crazy.
comment #10463 marcellX 3rd Oct 11 (edited by: marcellX)
"So it's only a good show if you watch it the way the creators intended for you to watch it?"

And who said this?
comment #10465 kay4today 3rd Oct 11
It was a response to "Family Guy is only a good show if you don't give a damn about any of its characters."
comment #10466 eveil 3rd Oct 11
I think what ncfan is getting at, is that it's only still half-way decent (and I mean that in the strictest sense possible) if you don't take it at all seriously. Which is fine and would be perfectly valid.. if the show didn't itself try to do so. This is one of the biggest tick-offs of the show-to-be, is what it's become. It's one thing to try to insert political and religious agendas in it, but it forget the most important rule of all in the show.

The show has been steadily slipping for years, as the characters continually become more flanderized and the writing has become more and more lazy. kay4today, of course a show can be offensibe, but it shouldn't 'mean' to be offensive, it should aim to be funny. If it's confusing the ideal that merely making it more offensive will somehow provide humor, it's mistaken. The whole already crude concept of 'People laugh when Meg is abused, so by X9000 the abuse = X9000 the funny' is flawed and over-doned. This might be permissble, if the show didn't constantly try to lamp-shade itself and try to shoe-horn in these kind of 'moments'.

In simpler terms, it's just plain inconsistent, which comes off as the viewer being naive and the writers often incredibly arrogant, or the whole thing just stupid in general. What I mean is, you can't expect us to take an episode about Peter dying from some organ-loss seriously, expect us to feel any sort of emotion or relatability to his death one moment, when the very next he's getting his head splattered open, or maiming/abusing meg or someone else and have him be a remorseless psychopath, it just doesn't work. Same, you can't have Lois preach about kindess,forgiveness, chastity or anything moral when she's become a complete and total bitch as of recent. You can't have Chris just be retarded one second for the sake of humor and expect the audience to listen in his deep rhetorical insight. The list goes on with Brian,Quagmire,Stewie(somewhat) and the like. Obviously you can do this for humor, but when you try to play it straight it feels out-of-tone. Even in South Park when they break into this occasional whammy, it's played for laughs even during because there's both a truth in the humor and some humor in the truth. But when it's done in Family Guy, it's done entirely from an in-universe context where humor is devoid. (Jumping back to the Status Quo a scene later and keeping it up even during said-scenes isn't the same thing)

The thing that's so annoying about this is that IT DOES EXPECT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY, when in fact we know this will have no effect on the characters, plots, or episodes in the future unless they're specifically based around this pocketed issue, which will probably never resolve outside itself. We know this episode,devoid of any humor, will never effect the characters outside of this mini-arc, and we know none of the mini-arcs will ever have actual closure or resolution so it's irritating. (I thought they'd taken a stand with the Brian-Quagmire mini-arc ending with their friendship. NOPE, WOOPS! Ruined for a cheap laugh, great one guys!) A terrible-soap opera show within a half-assed juvenile comedy show. Stick to chicken-jokes and repetition-gags FG.

So to re-phase ncfan's conclusion and come to my own, it's only a half-way good show if you ignore the bull-shit faux-catharsis scene's/episodes and just pay attention to the humor. And yeah, pretty much don't take the characters seriously. (Even if the show is trying to make you do so)

(This includes any of the development of Brian,Meg,Stewie,Peter,Lois or any of them really where no lasting effect will be achieved other than setting up plot points for later equally terrible-episodes)

Also, I like shows like MAD (live-action version,magazine, and cartoon) which have mediocre level humor at best, but part of the humor is it self-acknowledges how terrible it is. South Park has a bit of this to at times, when they really have to stoop low. Family guy ruins this 'subtly' by out-right lamp-shading it, stripping any chance of that being a thing.
comment #10644 brandygang 8th Oct 11 (edited by: brandygang)

comment #10658 EnigmaticSpirit 8th Oct 11

I don't agree. Personally I think that these "emotional moments" are just parodies of the often sappy episode endings of The Simpsons and other shows. Or didn't you realise that pretty much every emotional moment is ruined by a crappy joke?

And no... I don't think that they expect us to take this show seriously at all...
comment #10660 kay4today 8th Oct 11

I'm going to have to disagree as well on the grounds that there have been several scenes where they do try to make it incredibly emotional. (Peter's Death scene, and most of the lastest episode) But like I said the kind of humor displayed (during these scenes or after) completely deprives it of the ability to be taken seriously.

But whether the creators intended it or not, at least we're in agreement over one thing: Just don't take Family Guy seriously.
comment #10668 brandygang 9th Oct 11 (edited by: brandygang)
The creators did something that makes a show completely incapable of being taken seriously, so you conclude that they wanted you to take it seriously?
comment #10707 eveil 11th Oct 11
It's not so much taking the show SERIOUSLY, as it is the difference between the early seasons and the new ones. Peter was an idiot, but relatively well meaning. He did reckless things for the sake of his family, and learned his lessons. We could care about a character who went to such lengths for his family. All of that is gone now.
comment #10716 KashimaKitty 11th Oct 11
I've 'concluded' this eveil, when we have episodes with multi-minute moments dedicated to trying to 'break character' and portray the character's in a more sympathetic light.

Did you see 'Seahorse Seashell Party' by any chance? That's exactly what I'm talking about. The humor toned to 0 and moments of intensive dialogue and analysis from the character's viewpoint. That's what I mean, how else am I to interpret as anything but the creators (poorly) trying to give a little 'depth' to the show, other than these scenes being a complete waste of time.

How about the episode 'New Kidney in Town', an entire plot based around the possibility of Peter dying from need of an organ, no comedy permitted after the plot was reached. Can you tell me the writers didn't intend the audience to take it realistic? Kind of hard to do when this is a sociopath dying, and someone who has been maimed/injured/killed again and again temporarily for the sake of humor, and not to mention the whole concept of death/afterlife/whatever in the family guy universe is all wonked up.

Also there was that episode with Stewie and Brian locked in a bank, unbelievable. They think we can watch a baby and dog barfing,eating poop, getting hammered and shot at... and then introduce at the end Brian's lifelong existential crisis, in some pathetic semblance of character development? The mood whip-lashes kills both the humor and the drama. Not that either had standards to start with.

And Kashima, yeah I know. They use to be soooomewhat sympathetic and relatable. Not any more. Wasn't there a recent episode a bit back where Peter set fire to an entire building full of orphans, and then got out scot-free for 'comedy'? Ridiculous.
comment #10717 brandygang 11th Oct 11
Reading from the other wiki, a news group summed it up pretty well.

"This far into the show’s run, shifting to a much more dramatic bottle episode and reaching for emotional payoffs felt far too little too late. Nobody cares about any member of the Griffin family the way we care about every last Simpson. I feel bad about Meg becoming the scapegoat. Not because she’s a good character, but because instead of tweaking and working to make her appreciated or comically valuable, Family Guy spent years going down the path of least resistance and simply joined the fan chorus of hatred. One episode of pointed, forced justification for that shift doesn’t change a thing." ~The A.V. Club~
comment #10718 brandygang 11th Oct 11
Try reading between the lines. You do realize that the entire Meg episode was a deconstruction played for humor, right?

You're either letting your desire to sympathize with the characters affect your perception, or you're just bad at noticing attempts at humor unless it's shoved into your face.
comment #10723 eveil 11th Oct 11
It's still annoying. Using Status Quo in exchange in putting effort and actually developing characters is just plain boring.
comment #11764 qtjinla15 5th Dec 11
Don't like it? Stay away from the entire genre.
comment #11768 eveil 5th Dec 11
Oh its that stupid don't like don't watch argument. Hasn't it been established that's not a good argument?
comment #11792 qtjinla15 6th Dec 11
^ Actually no, it is used badly millions of times but it's not always a bad argument. Family Guy shows us over and over that they'll put comedy above all else, Brian the 7 year old dog has a 13 year old child, and Stewe the 1 year old baby has told Brian their should go berry picking for "a lot of years". Much of the development is done only to further the jokes, most heartwarming moments don't last for the next episode in this kind of shows.
comment #11795 marcellX 6th Dec 11
I think the reason people don't like this sort of thing is cause they DO like the show, or they did. It's hard seeing your favorite show turn into well... this. It's pretty obvious that they've stopped trying. They seem to think that if they lampshade bad writing, that makes it okay. Like when Lois is suddenly no longer working for Fox news and when asked why, disregards it, verbally invoking status quo.
comment #11796 KashimaKitty 6th Dec 11 (edited by: KashimaKitty)
Bad writing doesn't matter in a Comedy. At least for me.

The only thing that annoys me is when they try to invoke a Tear Jerker or a Moment Of Heartwarming without making a joke out of it. Like that episode with Quagmire's sister getting abused. What is the point of this episode? I don't want my Comedy to suddenly turn into some depressing crap.
comment #11804 kay4today 7th Dec 11
@ Kashima Kitty

Wasn't that the joke? blatantly stating what they were doing. Most if not all adult comedy shows use status quo (south park, futurama, american dad, etc.) like Francine and Stan stating how unrealistic is to call your sibling by it's relation (bro, sis) while you're talking on the phone just for the sake of letting the audience know you have one. They pick a topic, put one of the cast in that situation, joke the hell out of it and or deliver a message and then usually give a lame excuse at the end that in reality no one cares about (like Lois said she could had just said she quit) because status quo is pretty much expected.
comment #11806 marcellX 7th Dec 11 (edited by: marcellX)
Oh its that stupid don't like don't watch argument. Hasn't it been established that's not a good argument?

Don't misquote me. If you don't like the genre, then stay the hell away from it. And if you're really that incapable of figuring out what genre you're watching, then look up the show on the internet.
comment #11809 eveil 7th Dec 11
I know the genre, I've been watching it for over a decade. But that does not validate Flanderization.
comment #11811 qtjinla15 7th Dec 11
I know the genre

developing characters

No you don't.
comment #11816 eveil 7th Dec 11

Pretty much, but compared to the first three or four seasons, it feels like the show's become little more than a shallow self parody.
comment #11818 KashimaKitty 7th Dec 11 (edited by: KashimaKitty)
After actually seeing the episode just now I can't say really liked it, I guess the problem was that I couldn't side with Meg even when the whole episode made her out to be in the right, it was exaggerated. Lois helped Meg when she was all alone on spring break, and devised a plan to get back at the cool kids for what they did to Meg, took Meg to take a make over, punched Brian repeatedly when she thought he (who in a way is an adult in his 40s) was dating and engaged in oral sex with her underage daughter, or the latest episode where she's clearly outraged of Glen trying to take advantage of her, etc. and that's just her. Instead of hitting the real problems of the cast in regards to Meg they just made Meg the Victim Sue with Peter, Chris and Lois being reduced to complete monsters.
comment #12282 marcellX 13th Jan 12 (edited by: marcellX)
And you seem to be blatant ignoring all the flanderization of the post season revival characters and all the meg bashing. The stuff was focusing on how all the characters treated her after the revival.
comment #12294 qtjinla15 14th Jan 12
Which includes episodes like Don't make me over, hell comes to Quahog, barely legal, movin' out (brian's song), April in Quahog, new kidney in town, the hands that rock the wheelchair and Peter's daughter among some I might had missed.
comment #12322 marcellX 14th Jan 12
Oh god. THANK YOU SO MUCH. It's able TIME somebody realized how awful all the non-Jerkass characters get treated on the show. I first discovered Family Guy in 2005 and felt sooo bad for Meg. Unfortunately these days you'll be hard-pressed to find someone on the show who cares about her. I even wrote this fanfic that spoils her rotten just to compensate for all the crap she had to put up with:
comment #19208 rose64bud 30th Apr 13
Okay, let's revive a controversial, long-dead review of Family Guy to pimp a fanfic.
comment #19243 MrMallard 4th May 13
And you re-revived it. Also don't like don't watch is still crappy argument.
comment #19256 qtjinla15 4th May 13
And you re-revived it. Also don't like don't watch is still crappy argument.
comment #19257 qtjinla15 4th May 13
What ruins the later seasons for me isn't the disgusting offensiveness, or the preachiness, or the Flanderization of the characters. All of that helps, obviously, but what really keeps me from watching it is this: it's just not funny anymore. All the jokes are either incredibly predictable, offensive to just before the point of Crosses The Line Twice, or both.
comment #19336 ading 12th May 13
^ Sooooo it's not the concrete stuff but the subjective stuff? o.0? what?
comment #19339 marcellX 12th May 13
^ Uhhmmm... yes. Yes, it's the subjective stuff. I'm... not sure what else to say.
comment #20321 ading 27th Jul 13
Aren't we forgetting Brian's horrifying hallucinations? There's no freaking way I'm ever doing drugs after seeing that. Not that I ever wanted to, of course.
comment #25523 TT454 5th Aug 14

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