But where are those good, old fashioned values
On which we used to rely?
Lucky there's a Family Guy!
Lucky there's a man who positively can do all the things that make us
Laugh and cry!
He's a Family Guy!"
Family Guy is an Animated Series created by Seth MacFarlane about a dysfunctional New England family who... well, that's about it really. It presents us with four main characters in the Griffin family—slow-witted blue-collar jerk Peter, who is basically a crueler, more imbecilic, and often more cheerful Al Bundy; smart and efficient (but neglectful and wild) House Wife Lois; insecure daughter Meg; and good-hearted but moronic son Chris—and puts them through a series of adventures usually sparked by Peter's selfishness and/or idiocy. In addition to these somewhat cookie-cutter characters are Brian, the martini-sipping intellectual and incredibly pretentious dog, and Stewie, the laser-toting megalomaniac baby, although they've gotten much more screen time in recent seasons.
Chaotic and somewhat out of the ordinary, the show is notorious for its Cutaway Gags, as well as targeting literally every subject under the sun and being willing to go out of its way to offend. Depending on who you ask, it's either sloppy, unstructured and tasteless, or unorthodox and acceptably simple entertainment. With later seasons, the randomness increased and character dynamics shifted, with Stewie becoming less of a mad conqueror and more of a showman with homicidal, homosexual, and/or violent tendencies, Meg becoming a Butt-Monkey (supposedly because the writers found her boring, but didn't want to write her off the show), Lois becoming much less of a good housewife, and Brian becoming more and more of a pompous loser. The animation style became stiffer, and the show as a whole became far darker and mean-spirited. It's drawn flak for this, but its fanbase is as loyal as any other, and like South Park, it's up to the viewer to decide which version is better.
The show made history for American network television for being uncanceled — twice. FOX announced the show's cancellation after its second season in 2000. The show was resurrected not long after, but ratings suffered as its time slot changed constantly and it competed against the ratings-behemoths of Survivor and Friends. After the third season in 2002, FOX cancelled the show "for good". But in 2005, the show was resurrected yet again, due to popular request, impressive ratings for the reruns on [adult swim], and unusually successful DVD-set sales. Family Guy is now one of the network's most successful franchises, promoted by the suits with the same fervor given to The Simpsons as well as American Idol and 24 in their heydays. This made Seth MacFarlane THE highest paid Hollywood writer for a few years after its second revamp- it allowed him to produce the Spin-Off series The Cleveland Show, and American Dad!, both under the same studio, along with the Star Wars spoof Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball.
As a final point, it's worth remembering MacFarlane is not as heavily involved in the writing of more recent episodes as you might think. While he's still an executive producer, and thus can veto scripts, chances are he's not the one you should aim bile at when it comes to specific gags, aesops and messages in the plotlines (though he's not completely innocent, either, due to said ability to veto scripts).
There are currently four video games based on the series. First was the Family Guy Video Game! for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PlayStation Portable. Next came Family Guy Online, a browser-based MMORPG. The third is Family Guy Back to the Multiverse for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. The fourth is a village simulator alike The Simpsons: Tapped Out and My Little Pony called Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff for iOS and Android. A Licensed Pinball Table was released by Stern Pinball in 2007; click here for details.
- Vent all your complaints here
- Vote for the best episode here
- Has its own wiki
- Episode Guides and the tropes associated are here.
- The "Just For Fun" Drinking Game.